Eli Drake is a free agent. Impact Wrestling announced in April that they had released the former world champion from his contract. He sat down with journalist Chris Van Vliet in his Hollywood home recently about his departure from the promotion, inter-gender wrestling, and more.
Drake described what led to his departure from Impact.
“Back in January, I basically just let them know like ‘hey, I’m not intending to stay this year.’ I kind of let them know my intentions that I wasn’t planning to stay this year. I really thought about it last year and I almost left. I know they thought I was leaving, I thought I was leaving at one point and I ultimately decided to stay. I kind of came to the decision that there are a lot of options now.”
Drake continued to say he wasn’t happy with how the first part of the year went for him.
“I wasn’t happy with how the first half of the last year went for me but I will say, the last part of the year was a lot of fun. Even though it was Ellsworth or whatever. Just doing what we did in New York, that play I had with the audience there and with him. It was so much fun. From then on it was a great time.”
Eli Drake On Inter-Gender Wrestling and Tessa Blanchard
Leading up to his release from Impact, Drake made several public comments about not wanting to wrestle in inter-gender matches. Drake asked to be removed from a planned inter-gender match with Tessa Blanchard.
“So they announced the match and I had no prior knowledge of it,” Drake said regarding the match with Blanchard.
“When I saw the announcement, I immediately emailed the necessary outlets and said ‘hey guys, I’m not comfortable doing this. I will wrestle anybody else on the roster, I’m just not very comfortable doing an intergender match.’ … I have amazing respect for Tessa Blanchard. I’ve told many people that she is easily the best female wrestler in the world. She’s so intense with everything she does and her facials and moves.”
Drake said he and management eventually hashed out their differences before agreeing to part ways.
“Eventually, we kind of hashed it out. We had some emails back and forth and finally I had a phone call with Ed Nordholm [just before the beginning of June]. He was very gracious to reach out. We had kind of spoken at length on what we could agree on, what we could do to move forward in a way that’s amicable. I told him that I have no intentions of giving Impact a bad rap. They’ve been very good to me. I live a comfortable life because of the money that I made there.”
Drake also talked about the possibility of him going to WWE.
“I have friends there that I talk to but there haven’t been any formal offers made or anything. They’re probably sick of me by this point. We talked for the last 3 years and they made me some offers but the offer to stay at Impact was just better.”