Eli Drake Explains IMPACT Departure, Talks About Turning Down Tessa Blanchard Match

Former IMPACT star Eli Drake was a recent guest on the WINCLY podcast to talk about his departure from the company, and what’s in store for his future. Drake remains entirely grateful to the company, especially since they didn’t hinder him with a non-compete clause.

It was a decision I made earlier this year and I talked to them about the idea that I was probably gonna move on. Credit to Ed Nordholm as we hashed everything out and figured out how I could move on without a 12-month non-compete. As of Monday or Tuesday of this week, I am officially good to move on.

Drake then discusses how he and IMPACT could never really get locked into a true creative direction for him, and that played into his decision to leave.

My contract was up. They didn’t know if I was leaving and I didn’t know if I was leaving. So of course, you’re gonna be written a particular way if it’s believed that you’re gonna be leaving. As far as creatively, here is one of the most repeated phrases I would hear backstage, ‘You made my job so much easier’ because I could do a take one time and be done with it. Because they would let me do my own thing, they had an idea of where they wanted to go, but it was like, ‘Here’s what we want. You know how to do it. Let’s make it happen.

He also explains his reasoning for turning down the intergender Tessa Blanchard matchup, something that reportedly drove a further wedge between him and the company.

I don’t regret it. I don’t apologize. I don’t feel any of that. I feel a particular way about the wrestling business, and there’s a lot of parody or play wrestling, if you will. Comedy and silliness has a place in wrestling, but there’s still gotta be some level of believability. It was not a knock against anyone other than me just trying to protect my own brand.

Drake goes on to clarify that his decision wasn’t political, and was even well received by some backstage.

I got a lot of text messages from guys saying, ‘Thank you for not taking that.’ But to me it wasn’t a political stance, but a lot of people took it that way. I don’t think most of the people in the locker room care. Some people saw my side of it and some saw the side of why I should do it. But no one in the locker room was that vocal about anything.

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