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Eric Young: "It feels good to be part of something I believe in again" [Exclusive]

Eric Young recently re-joined IMPACT Wrestling
Eric Young recently re-joined IMPACT Wrestling
Gary Cassidy

Last month, at Slammiversary, Eric Young made his return to IMPACT Wrestling after four years away from a company he'd previously spent 12 as a mainstay at, becoming a Triple Crown Champion and, quite frankly, a legend.

The World Class Maniac made his return at Slammiversary and found himself right back in the main event picture. Eric Young tore off a mask to reveal himself as the fifth man in the main event after a swerve from Rich Swann to claim the fourth spot, which had been pre-advertised for a mystery competitor.

Sportskeeda meets Eric Young

How does Eric Young fit in back at IMPACT Wrestling? Well, a few weeks removed from Slammiversary, Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda caught up with the World Class Maniac to ask all about how he has rejuvenated as a part of the company where he made the world take notice in the first place.

You can watch the entire video of our interview with Eric Young below, or read on for the full transcript.

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I need to start off by asking, you're someone whose name came up a lot even before Slammiversary when I asked any talent, "Who do you want to see back in IMPACT?" They were all saying, "Eric Young." You were out of the company for a pretty big chunk of time and a lot has changed in that time. What was it like returning to IMPACT? Was it like coming home or was it like debuting somewhere completely new?

"Yeah, I mean, it's kind of a little of both. It's interesting because the history of the company and I'm a pretty big part of that history, but the truth is it's all new personnel. The wrestling world is a small place so it's tons of people that I've crossed paths with, tons of people I've worked in other companies with and a few people that are still there."

"For me, it felt good for my soul, it felt good to be part of something that I believe in again - which is very important for anybody that is creative or who does anything creatively, or puts it out there anyway. To be part of something you're proud of is, I think, one of the most important things for professional growth and professional happiness, so it was a big deal for me to be back, obviously a great spot for me to step in and it was a very cool experience."

"The people who were at IMPACT or before TNA who were there for the last couple of years who brought this company back from obscurity, I was talking to Josh Mathews and Madison Rayne about this, they can be so proud of the work that they've done just to get the company to the point where it's at now. Obviously the point for me and for everybody there, the entire locker room, is to grow the company and grow ourselves but from where it was, even a year and a half, two years ago, it's night and day and it's definitely cool to be a part of that."


Next: Eric Young reveals whether any of IMPACT's new recruits asked for advice before signing

Sportskeeda meets Eric Young

Did any of IMPACT's other new recruits ask Eric Young for advice before signing? Who does Eric Young want to work with? How far does Eric Young see IMPACT going?

Our interview with IMPACT Wrestling star Eric Young continues below.

IMPACT unleashed a World Class Maniac at Slammiversary!
IMPACT unleashed a World Class Maniac at Slammiversary!

It wasn't just Eric Young who returned to IMPACT Wrestling at Slammiversary and on the tapings that immediately followed. Obviously, a lot of those guys came from the same place as yourself and are now in IMPACT. Did any of the guys come to you for advice before signing since Eric Young is essentially a TNA legend?

"Yeah, if you're just saying, the word 'brotherhood' and stuff like that is definitely thrown around. In the wrestling world, because there is no union, we are all our own business. Some guys take that more serious than others - but I can say the fact there is a very big group of guys that were let go all at the same time and there was very open conversations between all of us."

"I'm friends with all those guys at different levels, very close with Gallows and Anderson, very close with (No Way) Jose, very close with (Zack) Ryder (aka Matt Cardona) and (Curt) Hawkins (aka Brian Myers). These are some of my very good friends in the industry. There's obviously open conversation about 'What we are going to do?' and, 'What's your plans?'"

"To be honest, I don't, I'm not a person who really thinks very far ahead. I had talked to Scott, I can say that Scott D'Amore and me are very close, we've been close for years. I've known him for 20+ years and he was one of the first people to call me and say, 'Man, it sucks. I'm thinking about you,' and whatever."

"I knew that it was coming, it didn't really upset me," Young said. "It was a bit of a relief more than anything. For me, anyway."

"Some guys took it differently but I knew there was the option there, it was definitely high on my list but I wanted to make sure that I had all my i's dotted and my t's crossed and made sure. To be honest, the contract really wasn't signed until about a week before Slammiversary, so it was still very up in the air. It was something I wanted to do but things had to be right professionally, financially, personally for all that to happen, and it did. I've got the word 'fate' tattooed on my right arm because I'm a big believer in that and the world has a funny way of working itself out and everything worked out the way it was supposed to."


I mentioned that you're somewhat of a legend around these parts. There's a lot of veterans in that locker room right now with Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, Ken Shamrock, etc then you add Eric Young to the mix. What role does Eric Young take in the locker room? Is Eric Young the locker room leader, or is there one in IMPACT right now?!

"I feel like I've always kind of taken that role. I don't know if I'm super verbal about it but I just kind of let my work ethic and my work and how I carry myself do the leading for me. I'm not pulling guys aside, telling them what to do. I'm not that. I'm not a big ra-ra guy and getting everybody together, and trying to make myself look more important than I really am."

"I go about my business the way I've always gone about it. That will never change, no matter my level of stardom or where I am on the card. I show up for work and whatever I'm doing, I'm going to work on that as hard as possible and I think that's the kind of leadership in pro wrestling that is the best. When someone is preaching to you and there's a million different ways to go about it. For lack of a better word, pro wrestling is art, so everyone is going to have their own take and our own way of doing things."

"If someone asks my opinion, I'm going to be honest. If someone asks me to watch their match, I'm going to watch. If someone asks if I saw their match and what I thought, I'm going to tell them. I feel like I've earned it that I can take them aside and say, 'Look, man, this isn't how it's done. You've got to do it this way or do it that way, think about changing this or think about changing that.'"

"I can say a lot of the younger guys in the locker room are really hungry to learn which is the same position I was in when I was young and not as experienced and I can say that wrestling on TV and wrestling independently, those are two different things and when you get on TV and you're in this weekly programming of extending your storyline, extending your character, you realise that it's a very different thing and I feel like my number one skill-set is being a very good television wrestler."

"I try to lead that way and by helping when I can but it's not a forced thing. I can see there's a lot of potential in the IMPACT locker room which is really exciting, man. It's tons of guys I want to work with, tons of guys that, even in a short amount of time that I've been exposed to the younger guys and they're all respectful and hard-working, and it's exciting to be part of a locker room like that."


Next: Eric Young discusses being embroiled in a rivalry with the current IMPACT World Champion Eddie Edwards


Coming up:

  • Eric Young reveals who he wants to work with in IMPACT
  • Eric Young gives an update on Rich Swann
  • Eric Young discusses how far IMPACT Wrestling can go
  • Eric Young discusses whether he's officially signed with IMPACT

Sportskeeda meets Eric Young

Our interview with IMPACT Wrestling star Eric Young continues below.

Eric Young signed an exclusive contract with IMPACT
Eric Young signed an exclusive contract with IMPACT

There's one question I have to ask. I hope you don't mind me asking. Everyone will want to know - "Is Eric Young signed with IMPACT Wrestling?"

You've been around for a while but you're obviously only 40 years old. I'd guess Eric Young has a lot of gas left in that tank.

Is Eric Young a fully-fledged IMPACT Wrestling talent? Is Eric Young on an exclusive contract and here for the long haul?

"Yeah. Yeah, I am on an exclusive contract with IMPACT. I was very excited about that. Like I said, I don't look too far ahead and that may be a detriment to me but I've just never been a person who looks that far ahead. I think just with society and the way the wrestling business is, you're too worried about what's going to happen and not worried about what's happening right now. What's happening right now is I am in IMPACT Wrestling and I'm working on making that show and my part of that show the best I possibly can."

"I'm not looking six months down the road, I'm not even thinking about a month down the road, Young said."

"I think that kind of got me in trouble before but I'm in a position now, professionally and financially and stuff, where I don't need to worry too much. I just need to concentrate on being the best me. Like you said, I'm 40 but I was doing the comedy wrestling for 10 years when I was with TNA Wrestling earlier. That extended my career. I'm 40 but I've never missed a wrestling show from an injury ever, not an independent show, not a television show. I've never missed a single day ever because of injury, luckily, knocking on wood as we speak, but I do have a lot of gas left in the tank. I think for me, it's just - how much longer do I want to do it?"


I recently interviewed Eddie Edwards, and he said you were the first person that he wanted to defend his IMPACT World Championship against. He's doing his Open Challenges, so you're not the first - but I'd say you look like the man who will be posing the first major threat to him. What are your thoughts on Eddie, and when will we see Eddie Edwards vs Eric Young?

"Obviously Eddie is a guy that I worked with some before my exit from TNA Wrestling when he was there with Davey Richards. A guy that I respect a great deal."

"One of the flag-bearers for IMPACT and a guy that's been with the company since I left and came back. Professionally, Eddie has nothing but my respect. He is a pro's pro and he can have a good match with anyone, any style and I can say we worked together a small amount in the past, but very limited, in the past."

"I'm really looking forward to the course that we are on because you can see it, everyone can see it, we are on a collision course and I'm set to make some real memories with him, man, for sure. I want people to talk about it and I want people to talk about it all over the world, and I'm going to make damn sure that they do."


Next: Eric Young reveals which talents he's desperate to work with, and reveals how he would love to work with Rhino!

Sportskeeda meets Eric Young

Our interview with IMPACT Wrestling star Eric Young continues below.

The World Class Maniac is back!
The World Class Maniac is back!

So we know Eric Young vs. Eddie Edwards seems to be something we will see in the future and that's a match with "main event" written all over it.

On the opposite end of that scale, since we know you've worked with Eddie in the past - and I have no doubt Eric Young vs. Eddie Edwards will be great - but who else would Eric Young love to work with?

You're back in IMPACT, you're the veteran. I'm sure young talents will be lining up to face Eric Young - but have any young talents caught Eric Young's eye, or even any that you're desperate to work with?

"Yeah, even just the one match that I've had since being back the guys from the Treehouse are all super-interesting, super-exciting."

"Trey obviously was in the match that I was in and really held his own, and a guy I hadn't really seen a lot of. I'm quickly trying to pay as much to the shows and go back and watch some of the recent pay-per-views to watch people, get acquainted with what people do and who they are, and what they bring. I feel like that's an important part of a being a professional but there are tons, just tons of guys."

"Like you said, even other guys, a guy like Rhino is a guy that me and him have worked together on and off for 10-12 years, and we've never really worked or shared the ring. I think we've tagged a couple of times and we've been involved in a couple of things but we've never really worked."

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"Shamrock is another guy that I respect a great deal. I've always enjoyed him. Like I say, he's a super great dude, great professional but I'd like to test myself against someone like him."

"The North, young, two guys from Canada that I'm pretty familiar with who are unbelievable. The Machine Guns are back. I've had my battles with those guys before."

"It's a long list."

"It's exciting to think, the position I'm in and the fact that IMPACT is definitely a collaborative effort which, for any person who is any kind of performer, there is nothing more rewarding than that. It's very very understated but ultra-talented writing and creative team and really, the sky is the limit."

"There is a budget and we don't have unlimited money, and they've not been around for 100 years but it's at the crux. I think everybody can feel the groundswell and IMPACT Wrestling at this point is trending up, even in the pandemic."

"It might be the only wrestling company that is growing and I think there's a lot to be said about that, Young said."

"When we get back in front of live crowds, maybe possibly in the future start doing live shows and roadshows, expanding the roster, developing the current members of the roster, making it better week in and week out, that's what everyone wants to do. That is exciting to be part of that. I can't say that enough."

"Literally, I'm bursting. My soul, it feels so good to be in a place like that where you don't feel as handcuffed and you're not pushed into a corner. Everyone is allowed to excel and do what they do, that's what IMPACT Wrestling is about. It's about showing everyone's strengths and highlighting them."


Next:

  • Eric Young discusses how far IMPACT Wrestling can go
  • Eric Young gives an update on Rich Swann

Sportskeeda meets Eric Young

Our interview with IMPACT Wrestling star Eric Young continues below.

Eric Young recently took his anger out on Rich Swann
Eric Young recently took his anger out on Rich Swann

I would be remiss not to ask you for an update on this person. Poor Rich Swann. He was on the receiving end of quite a bit of brutality from the World Class Maniac - Eric Young last week.

I need to ask - why Rich Swann? Does Eric Young know how he's doing? Or does Eric Young care how he's doing?

"Eric Young, the 'World Class Maniac', couldn't care less about Rich Swann. I warned him earlier to stay out of my way."

"IMPACT Wrestling ambassador, Eric Young, is excited to have Rich Swann as part of the roster. This is a guy with literally, in my opinion, limitless potential. As far as professional wrestling goes, there is nothing that he can't do. If he decides to come back ever again, I'll be excited to get my hands on him."


I have one final question. I recently put out an article on IMPACT where I noted this is not an overnight success. It might seem like it from Slammiversary but it took three years of hard work to get to this point. Now the eyes of the world are on this product maybe now more than ever. How far can IMPACT Wrestling go?

"Yeah, and I think a lot of the younger guys on the roster, like I said with Rich, it really is limitless."

"There's always confines of business and money, and then the reality of it is IMPACT Wrestling is a business. Just like WWE is a business, AEW is a business and there is always limits to what you can do. That's just the reality. It's living inside those limits and advancing, even when those limits exist, pushing past them."

"Like you said, it's definitely not an overnight success and I think me, the Good Brothers, Heath, EC3 are here as part of bringing these eyes. I've been on TV for 16 years."

"Me showing up on your show in the pro wrestling world is a big deal."

"Those guys coming here are choosing to go here. None of us had a gun against our heads. I don't need to work here. I'm working at IMPACT because I choose to. I don't need work. I've been very smart. I lead a very humble and smart life and the truth is that I don't need to be there. I choose to be there because that's what I want."

"I know the other guys are in the same position as me. No one financially needs to be there. They want to be there and business is business but the truth is, this has been three years of tons of blood, sweat and tears. Not mine, not Gallows and Anderson, not Heath, not EC3 - we were elsewhere."

"I'm not patting myself on the back for where IMPACT is," Young said. "But I am saying that I will be a big part of where it's going - and so will the other guys."

"I said it earlier in the interview. Everyone who is there, the guys that have been there, the guys that are there now and guys who have been there in the past and moved on, the wrestling world and myself owe them a debt of gratitude because they put them in a position to succeed and that is what we are going to do. The thing is with all the Slammiversary success, now the hard part starts. Now the eyes are on you and people want you to deliver."

"They are giving you their time, time is money and that is how the business of wrestling works, so you're going to have to make damn sure that you're ready to deliver, and I know I am."


Thank you so much to Eric Young for taking the time to chat with us, and to IMPACT Wrestling for setting up the interview. You can follow Eric Young here and IMPACT Wrestling here.

You can watch Eric Young on IMPACT weekly every Tuesday at 8pm PT on AXS TV in the US or via IMPACT's Twitch channel. UK viewers can watch IMPACT on Wednesdays at 9PM UK time on Fight Network UK.

Stay tuned with Sportskeeda for more IMPACT interviews coming very soon.

Edited by Philip Lindsey

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