Impact wrestler Eli Drake appeared on The Art of Wrestling podcast and talked about being blacklisted from WWE. Here are a couple of highlights from his appearance:
Getting blacklisted by WWE: “So 2008, I had a tryout with [WWE] at RAW. It was in Philadelphia or something, or Washington, D.C. I worked a dark match, [they] loved it, brought me back the following week. They wanted me to go to Philadelphia and Connecticut. I went to Philadelphia. Jamie Noble was making sure I worked out ahead of everybody, so that the agents saw me because he was certain that I was going to get a job. The next day, on Tuesday, without too many details, I show up an hour late like an idiot and that was pretty much the end of the road for me. And they wouldn’t touch me for like… they wouldn’t even talk to me or answer my phone calls for over two years.”
Why he was late: “I separated my shoulder maybe a week before that and I was in a lot of pain and so I just kept thinking, like, ‘maybe I can go somewhere and get it checked out.’ I went to one place, they had a long wait. I went to another place, their x-ray machine wasn’t working. I went to another place. They weren’t accepting walk-ins. I said, ‘screw this, I’m going to go to the gym and get a pump and go to the arena.’ As I get to the gym, there’s a physiotherapy place right next door. I go get them to check it out. She takes her sweet time, but it felt great. And then, I was like, ‘okay, there’s only limited time, but I can’t go in there flat.’ Especially 2008, it was a much more body guy business, so was like, ‘I got to get pumped up’. So I’m like, ‘maybe they won’t notice if I’m half-an-hour late’. Well, 30 minutes turned into an hour and, stupid me, by the time I got there, everybody’s bags are unpacked and they were already in the ring.”
Relationship with WWE now: “I’m on great terms with them now. One of the greatest things that ever happened, at least personally, to me as well, and I don’t mean to slather his ass up, but I really actually like Canyon Ceman. As funny name as he has, he’s a good dude. But it hasn’t always been nice, but we’ve always been very open with each other and very straightforward. He can say what he’s feeling, I can say what I’m feeling, so I’ve always enjoyed that. At the same time, the regime before him, you didn’t know what you were getting from one day to another, so that was very frustrating and that’s when I found out I was on some kind of blacklist for like two years. I had no idea. But then, I guess who was responsible for that got fired and that’s when Canyon came in and he has been cool to me since day one. There has been a little bit of adversity here and there. What happened when I was in NXT was Bill and I didn’t get along, Bill DeMott, which a lot of people say, ‘surprise, surprise,’ but even with him, I didn’t have anything [negative to say], I mean, there are certain days I have plenty bad to say about him, but as a whole, in general it was weird. Some days we’d get along wonderfully, and then other days, it was hot and cold. But still, generally, I don’t have a bad thing to say about the experience.”
You can listen to the full podcast here.