Eli Drake talks GFW Destination X, cutting promos, Drew McIntyre, WWE NXT, more


Photo Credit: GFW 2017

In this exclusive interview, GFW star Eli Drake discusses Destination X, Drew McIntyre’s recent success, the chances of a WWE NXT return and much more.

There are few stars more boisterous and more outspoken in Global Force Wrestling at the moment than Eli Drake, who has been a cornerstone of the company and a star on the rise for the last two and a half years. Thus, it comes as no surprise that he would have plenty to say about GFW’s upcoming live Destination X special airing August 18 on Pop TV and the ever-exciting X-Division.

This past week, I had the distinct honor of talking to “The Namer of Dummies” to discuss his X-Division aspirations, earning the title of GFW’s most talented talker, who he’d like to face from the current roster, possibly returning to WWE NXT down the road, and much more.

The X-Division is in a better place now than it has been in several years, and we hear all the time how it’s not about weight limits but “no limits.” Would you ever consider gunning for the X-Division Championship at some point?

Eli Drake: I think maybe once last year I suggested something of that nature where I would have an X-Division rivalry or something like that. It never happened, it never came off the ground. I don’t know, I guess it’s something to consider. I haven’t given it any thought since last year, but I’m pretty much open to anything. If it’s something new and different, something I can see as a challenge, I’d absolutely be up for it.

Photo Credit: GFW 2017

You’ve had a different view on how wrestlers present themselves outside of wrestling in interviews. Should more credit be given to the performers when they aren’t portraying “characters”?

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Drake: Let’s say you go to the WWE Network and you pull up a show, and there’s a disclaimer at the beginning of that show. You skim down and it says that these are actors portraying a role. So if these are actors portraying a role, then where is their credit? I don’t really care about the credit per se, but what I’m trying to say is that they will own your name. You will not be able to take that name with you, you will not be able to leave with it and that’s pretty much like every other movie or television show. That’s fine, I get it. But the difference is that in a movie or a television show, this actor is credited as this character, and now they can move on with their career and it’s not a whole rebuilding process.

If I go from Company A to Company B, I need a whole new name, and that’s fine as long as I have a brand as myself. For instance, everyone knows George Costanza, probably better than his real name Jason Alexander, but at the same time, he does have some sort of a brand as Jason Alexander. We kind of pigeonhole ourselves by not allowing ourselves to ascend to a higher height in the eyes of the general public by doing interviews in character and being that character 24 hours a day. That’s kind of a silly thing to do if you really want to bring in a broader audience.

You are head over heels one of the most talented talkers in GFW at the moment. Do you have the freedom to write a majority of your own material, or do you take what’s given to you and make the most of it?

Drake: I think it’s so funny when people hand me a written promo. I’ve gone to small independent companies and had people hand me a promo written to my catchphrase and say, “What is this crap?” I’ll be 100 percent honest, any time I’ve been given a promo, I’ve used three to five percent of it, which is usually what are the bullet points, what’s the direction I’m going in, what points do I need to get across, what am I putting over, and that’s it.

No offense to anyone, but some of the stuff is kind of lame and I feel I can frame it better. I don’t mean that with any disrespect, I’m sure there’s someone who is a better performer than me that maybe could have delivered it better than I could. What I was being written didn’t work with what I was bringing.

What changes made have you noticed have been the biggest since the Global Force Wrestling acquisition?

Drake: I think the first thing you see is relationships with outside companies becoming better, it’s not so isolated. You look at how we have Spike TV in the UK now and it makes you think maybe there’s a renewed relationship with them because things were rocky with them which is why we were off Spike TV for a little bit. I don’t know what else will come of that, I literally have my hands off any of the office happenings so I have no idea of any of that. Having Spike UK, though, is a huge thing.

You look at the relationships with AAA, NOAH, whatever the relationship may or may not be with Lucha Underground, I don’t know what’s going on there, but it does seem like there’s a lot of structure and there’s a lot more willingness from outside companies to work with us. I think all of that is working in our favor.

From Ethan Carter III to James Storm to even Alberto El Patron, you have faced almost every top-tier talent on the roster, but is there anyone on the current roster that specifically stands out to you as someone you’d like to square off with for the first time or again?

Drake: Absolutely. I can say 100 percent, Bobby Lashley. We’ve never even touched, we’ve never been in the same ring together other than once when we tagged up, we’ve never been on opposing sides. But not too soon. I don’t want to ruin it, I don’t want to spoil it. Maybe because I’ve built it up so much in my own head and in nobody else’s head ever and I don’t want to spoil it in my own head, but I do at some point want to have that match with Bobby Lashley.

What are your thoughts on the recent success of your former stablemate in The Rising, Drew Galloway/McIntyre, and do you think his time with GFW had a lot to do with his resurgence?

Drake: It’s hard to narrow it down to just that. Knowing him personally, I know he was in a different town every night if not every week. It was really crazy watching his schedule because he’d be in Europe, he’d be in Australia, he’d be somewhere. I think that was keeping him visible, but of course, he was on our TV every week and killing it, so I think that part almost gave him a lot of legitimacy in a lot of people’s eyes, but it was also a lot of indie dates too, so you can’t take that away from him.

Honestly, after that time in 3MB, and I didn’t see too much of it, but from what I saw, he was a complete joke. Now, at least two of the three of them have seemed to rise to something. Jinder [Mahal] is now WWE champion and Drew’s in contention for the NXT Championship. So yeah, his dates with Impact and his work on the indies made him more great, a serious contender and not that jokey 3MB B.S. he was doing.

Photo Credit: WWE 2017

NXT is a far different place than what it was even three years ago when you were last there, so could you see yourself returning if the circumstances were right down the line?

Drake: I will say it’s an option, an option that’s been spoken about. Right now, the time is not right and the offer is not right. I’m enjoying where I am and the freedom I have. I’m getting paid at least decently where I am, so I’ve been enjoying that. There have been options to move on. Without saying too much, nothing that has compelled me enough to leave. Fortunately, I’ve formed strong relationships within the company I’m in, so who knows what the future holds.

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At this point, my goal is to make GFW as big as it possibly can be, along with the 30 or 40 people alongside me. I’m not so much focused on competing with WWE, but if we can start to be in the same conversation as far as getting on that level and getting more eyes on us. I’m not worried about going there or anything else like that. To me, a bigger success than going to WWE would be doubling this company’s reach, tripling its reach, quadrupling its reach. That would be a bigger success for me than ever going anywhere else. To go from the depths we were at a couple of years ago with people saying we were going out of business and whatnot to bounce back and bring it back up would be much more incredible than anything I can do over there.

Photo Credit: WWE 2017

Any chance we could see a potential “Stupid Dummies” tag team with Chris Jericho down the road?

Drake: Oh boy, I’m guessing you’d have to ask him about that. (laughs) That would be interesting. I don’t know who would…. No one would be able to talk, we’d both be trying to hog the mic. I really don’t know, but that’s definitely an interesting idea. It might be even better if we’re on opposing sides, who knows.

Don’t miss Eli Drake and the rest of the GFW roster in action at Destination X as it airs on August 17 at 8/7c on Pop TV.