IMPACT star Eric Young was a recent guest on the Shining Wizards Wrestling podcast to talk all things pro-wrestling. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Empty arena shows:
“What I can say is, as a guy that did 6-7 years of independent wrestling, I’ve wrestled in front of very few people before, so that’s not a problem. Wrestling in front of nobody… it stinks. There’s no other way for me to say it. It’s just not good. For IMPACT, we’re wrestling in a small studio. It’s affordable. It’s convenient. It looks decent on television. You know, it’s easy to shoot, easy to work, and easy to do all those things. But wrestling in front of nobody is not a lot of fun. What I can say about it is, is I’m a very experiential person. I want to experience everything… good, bad, or indifferent. So, I’m in a very unique place professionally right now where all of us that are working on tv, whether it’s WWE, or its ROH, it’s AEW, or it’s IMPACT… this is singular. Well, I’m hoping it’s singular. Like I can say at a point I wrestled on a major Pay Per View in front of zero fans. And that’s not like a boasting thing. It’s not a feather in my cap or “look what I’ve accomplished.” But it is an experience I think is singular. No other wrestling generation, you know, people that worked on tv full time, have experienced anything like this. You’re seeing it with The (WWE) Thunderdome and all that stuff. It’s pushing technological advances. It’s changing television. It’s changing how we consume television. And it’s going to change the product in a lot of ways, and in my opinion, a lot of ways for the better. There’s been years where you could just rely on the crowd to make noise and make it seem like things are good when they’re not, so this is bare bones. Your product better be noteworthy or something to talk about, or it’s going to suffer.”
How he feels to be back in IMPACT:
“It’s homecoming in a way, but like… everyone was like “you’re going back to TNA.” Well, TNA doesn’t exist. It’s gone. I understand that IMPACT is using the lineage and the history of TNA, but TNA wrestling, that chapter of the company is closed. The truth is, other than me and maybe two or three other people, it’s all different people. It’s owned by a different company. It’s real by a different group of people. It’s written by a different group of people. It’s airing on a different channel. There’s nothing about it that’s the same, so “home” in a way that I have a huge history with the company, but all new in a way, and for the better. I mean, this AXS TV is in a ton of homes, and it’s a very accessible channel. This is their second biggest television deal that IMPACT wrestling or TNA Wrestling has ever had. And it’s growing during a global pandemic, which is insane. I know wrestling fans don’t understand that IMPACT is the small wrestling promotion and it definitely has the lowest viewership, this, that, and the other, but business wise, it’s growing, and it’s growing when nothing is growing. WWE can do Thunderdome and all that other stuff. He (Vince McMahon) didn’t fire 300 people because they’re growing. He made money, and the company made money, but the business as a whole for them is shrinking. AEW is losing money like crazy, but hopefully holding pat. IMPACT Wrestling, even though it is on a small scale, it is moving forward during this time. Scott D’Amore & Ed Nordholm and all the guys there. They need to be praised for what they got going on right now because it’s very singular. It feels very good for the soul to be back there and to be involved.”
Thoughts on Vince McMahon and his WWE run:
“Having one person decide that I’m not part of a show, that doesn’t change my thoughts on what I have to offer. I’ve said this before, and I’m sure you guys have read it. Vince McMahon failed. He’s a super genius. Wrestling exists the way it exists because of him. I live in this house and have this life because of what he’s done. He’s got way more wins than he has losses. I am not the first person he made a mistake on. I will not be the last. But if you have a three hour television show, Monday Night Raw, and you can’t find five minutes for me to do something, then you failed as a promoter. You failed as a booker, and trust me, nothing is written, and nothing goes on the show without his approval. It’s all him. So if there’s something you like, you gotta give him credit. If there’s something you don’t like, then you gotta blame him. Because it’s all him. All of it, every single second of every single show is decided by him and he decided, and whatever he decided on me, he decided very early on. And I wasn’t able to change his mind and that’s fine. That’s business and that’s the way it goes. But I would say it to him in person and I would say it to his face: He failed as a leader of that company. I’m proving myself right every week. Watch. And, there’s no bitterness to it. Like, I was very well taken care of there. I was very well paid. All the people there are super talented, ya know, cream of the crop and best of the best production wise. Show wise. Everything. It was an amazing experience. Not working on the shows was not amazing. Not being part of something wasn’t amazing. That’s just the way it goes, man. Fate is a funny thing. It wasn’t meant for me to be there, and that’s his loss and their loss. I don’t hold any ill will towards them. My time in NXT was amazing. Triple H is one of the coolest bosses I’ve ever had. We are still friends and talk quite often, still. It was a very, very special time in my career. The main roster run, I could have done without, but you’ll learn, I mean, you’ll learn tons of stuff. I can say that I worked there which was a goal of mine my whole life, since I was three years old. It didn’t go as planned, but that has nothing to do with me, and anybody that’s listening to this right now or reading the transcript or anything, if you think that me being in that position had anything to do with my skill and ability, then you’re sadly mistaken. And this happens every day in every walk of life. Politics are strange. And no one knows why it happens, but it did. It allowed me to move on to IMPACT, and I didn’t know If there was going to be an opportunity.”
The opportunities he is getting in IMPACT:
“This is a scary time. I’m 40 years old, I’ve never been fired in my life. I’ve never lost a job. I’ve never been unemployed in my life so it was a scary time because of Coronavirus compounding everything and making it really weird. But everything fell into place and I’m back in IMPACT, and that roster, like you guys said, it’s limitless potential. Yes, we are the underdog, and everyone that works there that doesn’t think that, then you can point them in my direction and I’ll explain it to them. We are the underdog. We are the third option, the small fish in the big pond, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a special place to work. That doesn’t mean that it can’t grow and can’t become something better, and that’s something that I’m focused on. And that’s always been my focus in wrestling. If the company I’m working for isn’t doing well, then I’m not doing well. And you can really feel that in the group at IMPACT, is that everyone’s kind of pulling on the rope in the same direction, because it has to be that way. If it doesn’t, it fails.”
Whether or not McMahon watches IMPACT:
“I mean, reality is, brother’s got a lot on his plate. I can’t imagine. He’s a tireless worker. He’s 74 or 75 years old? Like he’s a machine. And like I said, I don’t hold any ill will towards him at all. Anytime we spoke, he was very respectful to me. He was very complimentary of my work at different times during my run there, which was interesting to me. But he would say it to me and to other people that work there that he really liked me. I wish that he would have shown that a little more, but in the end, like I said earlier and in other interviews, I am not the first person he missed on. Kenny Omega was there for six months. Six months. And never was on TV. Never did anything. And he was gone, and he’s considered one of the best in-ring performers of our generation. He couldn’t last a year. I mean, look, it’s just the way the business is. I don’t think it will ever change. As far as him (Vince McMahon), I do feel that the age, the lifestyle… like, how could you ever expect him to be a regular person and understand what regular people want to see? He’s not a regular person. He flies around in private jets and talks to the same ten people. He stays in private hotels, just drives to and from the building in a private car. He has no access or touch with the outside world. He lives in his own world, which he’s earned. As far as a person controlling an entire, I don’t know what you call it, empire… like, all of it. It all goes through him and he’s got way more wins than he’s got losses. They’re making money hand over fist. The Thunderdome looks absolutely amazing like I knew that it would. He’s reinventing television again. It’s just a mistake, and I would tell him to his face that he made a mistake. Every Tuesday, I’m showing that I’m right and he was wrong. There was never a single doubt in my mind that if I went somewhere else, that’s what people would say. That’s the whole over glaring thing of the situation. He was wrong, I was right.”
On Team Canada:
“For me, that’s formative. Those were four or five of my best friends in the business. I’m still friends with all of them today. I talk to Bobby Roode weekly. I talk to Scott D’Amore weekly. We’ve always stayed in contact. I talk to Johnny (Devine) every now and then and A1 every now and then, and talk to Petey (Williams) every now and then. I can say that going there and being in that group it was, kind of like a dream come true. For me, I didn’t care what I did. My goal when I started training in professional wrestling was to sign that contract saying that this is what I do for a living. And I never considered myself a professional wrestler before 2004, because I did it as a hobby. Independent wrestling was definitely a thing, not like it is now, there definitely wasn’t as many. It was harder to work consistently, especially if you wanted to work on good shows. But for me, my number one goal was to sign a contract saying I don’t have a job… this is my job. This is what I do for a living. And in 2004, that happened for the first time when we were doing team Canada. Our first contract was for four shows and it was just for the World X Cup. I don’t know what Canada ever did to The United States, but they hated us. People hated us. I was like man, we’re polite, we’re good at hockey, we make excellent beer. Our maple syrup is pretty decent. Like I don’t know what Canada ever did to The United States, but they hated our guts. And we leaned into it for sure. We were the heels, and we provoked people and stuff. But it got over more than I think they were ready for and they just couldn’t deny it, and ended up signing the whole group full time after the World X cup, and that was not the plan. The World X Cup went so well for us and we had such good heat and we all kind of had our moment in the World X Cup. Mine was a four way ladder match and I won that match and kind of stuck out in that match and I feel that was a big part of me being hired. But Team Canada was an awesome run. Working with four or five of your best friends every day and guys that are all super talented that you could trust and lean on? That’s tough to pass on for sure. It was an excellent time in my career.”
Full episode can be found below.