Wrestling Inc.'s own Nick Hausman had the opportunity to speak with Impact Wrestling star, Eli Drake as part of our WINCLY Podcast recently. During the interview, Drake recounted the January 7 Impact TV tapings, where an unexpected power outage lead him to cut a promo in the dark, without the aid of a microphone. Drake explained how improvising and rolling with the punches was instilled in him early on by his favorite wrestlers.
"Well, the funny thing was, I was completely comfortable in the sense that I was like, 'Oh, this is fine. I'll just go in, I'll grab a microphone and I'll talk.' Until I realized that the microphone's not gonna work because the power's out," Drake said. "So at that point, I was like, 'Alright, well, we're gonna make the best of it.' And I just perched myself up on the turnbuckle and I was like, 'Alright, I'm gonna start to tell a story.' And I had no idea what I was gonna talk about or where I was gonna go, and then down marches Tommy Dreamer.
"So we kinda had a back and forth," Drake continued. "I took a quick survey of who wants me to leave, who wants me to stay. I think they wanted me to stay, actually. And then they just brought a match out, and I think I stood in to be honorary bell ringer for a minute. It's just, I've been doing this for so long and modeling myself after guys that I watched growing up. I feel like you gotta know how to roll with the punches and how to just be able to work and think on your feet."
With Impact Wrestling's move to the Pursuit Channel in full force, Drake recognizes both the positive and negatives resulting from the change. On one hand, Anthem Entertainment owns both Impact Wrestling and the Pursuit Channel, so the flexibility with edgy content should improve. Even so, Pursuit is available to a very select few TV service providers and Drake recognizes that this could have a negative effect on the ratings. Drake keeps hope that the simulcasting on Twitch and other methods made available to watch the show will keep viewers tuned in.
"It's an interesting dynamic because Anthem actually owns Pursuit so it makes it a little bit convenient in the sense that, now there's a little bit of freedom as far as what we can do for simulcasting," Drake said. "That's why we're able to do Twitch at the same time, so anybody who doesn't get the channel can also catch it on Twitch.
"And Pursuit is - I guess a bit of an outlier of a channel in a sense," Drake continued. "[You can't watch] unless you have particular provider, but again, like I said, you can do that on Twitch, you can do that on GWN when it goes later. But I think it at least gives us some freedom to do what we want, since it's our channel. And I think that's kinda cool in a sense because now you can really, kinda let the dog off the leash in a certain sense, creatively. And see where that goes and then that can bode well for future endeavors."
Drake predicts that the future of cable TV will take on a similar role to everyday radio stations, where Cable still remains available to the masses but has to compete with other successful streaming services. For now, advertising in television remains lucrative and is one reason Impact Wrestling management wants to remain on television.
"I think it's still necessary only because the biggest advertisers are still in television," Drake explained. "I think that there is eventually going to transition in to a way where - I think cable is eventually going to go the same way as just regular radio. Where people still listen to it, it still exists, but for the most part, they've got MP3, they've got satellite radio, they've got Pandora. All that kinda stuff. So I think it's going to become something more like that, where streaming - that's gonna kinda be the thing.
"So I think the company that can really get to that, and really push that and find a way to monetize that properly to where it can actually replace television, that would make television obsolete. But I think for now, television is still very important again, because you're running a business at the end of the day and you need money for that, and the money, for the most part, the best amount of money you're gonna get is from television advertising."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please include a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
You can listen to the full audio from Eli's exclusive WINCLY interview in the embedded player below. In it he also discusses recently bumping into The Undertaker, defeating Abyss at Impact's Homecoming, Impact moving in an edgier direction and more. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc. Audio on iTunes or Google Play. Listen to the show via Spotify here or through TuneIn here.