Eric Young achieved significant success over the course of his career in TNA Impact Wrestling. He recently took some time out of his busy schedule to participate in an interview with me. His career has spanned over 18 years, and he has been wrestling since the age of 18. In his early career he earned a name for himself competing for several independent promotions in Canada, and then earned more recognition competing for TNA. His growth as a performer has been remarkable.
In the interview, Young shares his thoughts about his early training, his feuds in TNA, working with ODB and his surprise debut on WWE's NXT a couple of weeks ago. He also opens up about his history with the business and who was integral in his wrestling development, as well as his early training and development through a wrestling facility that he also owned. Young also discusses talent that he helped train and how they have flourished.
TNA and WWE fans will be impressed with how Young's commitment, passion and dedication is just as evident today as it was when he first began training before the turn of the century. Young is also a diehard hockey fan that encourages fans to see live independent wrestling and live professional hockey as well. There really is nothing quite like watching either sport, as Young can attest. Young remains an inspiration that fans can communicate with via various social mediums, such as Twitter where he can be reached @TheEricYoung.
10 Waldo von Erich , Carl LeDuc, Scott D'Amore and Chris Kanyon have all been credited with training you. What did you gain from each experience?
"Each was his own individual that is for sure. Waldo, he was pretty old and beat up when I met him, and he's since passed on, but he was a great guy and a lot of what I learned from Waldo wasn't any of the physical stuff, it was the mentality, it was the psychology of wrestling, being in character and making people believe. Those are the things that I hold near and dear still to this day, and this is the guy who still holds the record for longest match in Madison Square Garden history - 93 minutes with Bruno Sammartino. People thought he was a real Nazi, and they tried to kill him. It's hard to imagine how good that would make you feel, and that sounds crazy to say, but having people hate you that much and making them hate you is just insane. All those guys were a very integral part early on and even later on in my life. Scott, I'm not sitting here talking to you if it's not for Scott D'Amore.
9 Share if you could the Wrestleplex training facility. What inspired that operation and was there anyone at the time of their training you could see becoming a success?
"There were actually two, Wrestleplex Ontario and Wrestleplex Vancouver, that were loosely affiliated. I knew the guy that was running the one out there (in Vancouver) and I really like him, Rocket Randy Tyler. Nelson Creed, was another guy very good friend of mine that was helping run the school there. I started the Ontario school because I loved training guys and started doing it really early on. Carl LeDuc was responsible for all of my physical in-ring training, and lived at the same apartment, and trained us five days a week. I had some experience and I guess I was one of the better students since I was there every night, so I have got to take it over the training. Then, I started doing indies and stuff and tryouts with the WWE, and I really wanted a place where I could stay sharp. I loved wrestling, so being able to have my own ring, to go out there and work on stuff and go over whatever I wanted sounded really appealing to me.
8 Explain how your initial involvement with TNA came about and the idea behind Team Canada. What did you feel about the collection of guys apart from the faction and what laid ahead for them?
"Scott was a huge part of that. I was doing tryouts pretty heavily with the WWF, WWE now. Bobby Roode and I were doing them it seemed like every month. Nothing really stuck, I remember having a brief conversation with Stephanie McMahon about coming there. TNA called me because I had done one four-man tag with them on one of their pay-per-views and they were getting ready to do the very first World X Cup, and they said we're interested in you coming down and being a part of Team Canada. My first contract was for four shows, same for Bobby and Petey (Williams) and Johnny Devine, all the other members of Team Canada.
7 The initial feud with Robert Roode and James Storm was a special time. Where did the paranoia of the Young character come from? What stood out as a highlight in the feud?
"I was pressuring them (TNA), as much as someone new could pressure them. I said I want a character, a gimmick, and it didn't really particularly matter what it was whether it was a heel or a babyface. That's my strength, my skill set: making people believe that I am that person that I'm crazy or happy go lucky or funny or whatever it is that you decide that you need. I can wrestle with anybody. There are guys that can athletically make me look like a slug, but I can keep up with almost anybody.
For the first two years, I was there I didn't say a single word. I was in a lot of pre-tapes and a lot of promos but I never said anything that was always Scott, sometimes it was Bobby, sometimes it was Petey, every now and then Johnny would say something, but I would never said a single word for almost two years. I was kind of the silent guy that was there to carry the action, I got hired because I was a wrestler and a lot of people knew me as the comedy guy, but I never made a name for myself in wrestling being a comedy guy. That comedy stuff started in TNA. I was never a comedy guy in indies. I never did any funny angles. I never did any character stuff. I was a wrestler that's it and that's how I got my job.
6 One of biggest feuds of your career was your feud against the Main Event Mafia. What did that experience leave you with and what have you been able to take from it throughout your career?
5 EY as a face is great, but heel EY is just amazing. Share if you could details of the program with Jeff Jarrett,Kurt Angle & Mick Foley. Any thoughts, feelings or memories?
4 How did the World Elite booking come about, and how did you become the face of that faction?
"That was me saying, I have no problems being the funny guy, but I think I'm suited for a bigger role, I have a skill set that is much more than I am allowed to show at this point. They wrote the storyline and it was a whole bunch of us that didn't really have a whole lot going on and they put us in this group, this foreign heel group, and I liked the idea of it. It wasn't so much that America was stupid and it wasn't the typical ‘oh, we hate Americans and we hate America.' It was, we love America, but the problem is Americans are messing it up for everybody. It was maybe too deep of an idea for pro wrestling, but I really liked it. It was USA versus the bad guys from other countries but it was cool. I got to talk a lot and be the leader of this group filled with super talented people: Doug Williams, Magnus, Daivari, and Rob Terry. We had a tool for every situation, it was a great group and getting a lot of heat and getting really over. Then the guard changed at TNA again and the angle was a victim of circumstance more than anything.
3 I had a chance to speak with ODB last year and she said working with you was a career highlight. What were your impressions of the angle and was there anything you would have liked changed or not?
"For me it was over, people loved it. Whenever I do wrestling conventions or signings or other shows, people always ask ‘Where's ODB? I loved you guys together and loved that angle so much and remember when you did this or remember when you did that.' It was fun. She is an ultra, ultra-talented person. Probably at the time she was the most over Knockout there. Her ability to talk is good, understanding in the ring was good, and she understood who she is and how she fits into the wrestling landscape, and how to get over. There is no better skill in wrestling than knowing how to get over, that's the number one skill. Whether it's to make people love you or to make people hate you, I believe that wholeheartedly to this day. And she is one of the best at it, ever.
I loved and people loved it. I think someone was telling me the other day that we were the only wedding to start and finish. It was interrupted, but we carried on and we finished it. I guess that's why we had it in the cage, so people couldn't come in and ruin it for us.
2 On May 29, you'll be competing for Smash Wrestling against Johnny Gargano. How does it feel to be competing once again for Smash & being back in Ontario?
1 The elephant in the room is that at the April 28 WWE NXT tapings, the wrestling world was shocked to see your appearance and confrontation with Samoa Joe. How did it initially come about and what can be wrestling fans expect from you in NXT?
"That's a big beautiful elephant if you're asking me (laughs.) My time came to an end in TNA, it didn't end badly, but it didn't end the way I wanted it to. People don't get divorced because they're happy. I didn't agree with some stuff, but we couldn't come to terms and see eye to eye on some things, so it was time for me to go and move on. Twelve amazing years, which is insane to say, and I became a free agent. WWE reached out to me about coming down there for a meeting, and I met and talked with Hunter. Things went great; he is a straightforward and honest guy and so am I, and everything worked out and they said ‘Hey, what do you think about being a surprise on the show?' I said ‘Absolutely.' One thing led to another and out I came, and people went crazy.
They put the clip up and it airs May 4. It's humbling; I figured there would be a reaction, I figured there would be something. I worked hard for it and earned it. But I didn't expect the volume, and the amount of reaction surprised me. It was an amazing experience to be there and to interrupt the new Heavyweight Champion, Samoa Joe, a really good friend of mine, a super talented guy. To get to share the ring with him in the main event on NXT is the first step of many for me and it's an amazing step."
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