There are some wrestlers for whom the mere mention of their name elicits declarations of respect not just from the fans but from their contemporaries. Eric Young is one such talent. A multiple-time TNA champion, Young has taken fans on a rollercoaster of entertainment delivering both in and out-of-ring excellence. EY granted us an interview at the excellent 'Stars of the Squared Circle' event by Wardust Wrestling League and we asked him about his character, future projects and much more. Read on!
The TNA Maximum Impact tour is coming to Manchester, London and Birmingham in January. What are your favourite memories from the tour?
Two of my favourite TNA matches of all time have happened on the Maximum Impact tour. The Monsters Ball with Abyss was one. I hadn't really wrestled like that in so long that it seemed new to people. They forget in 2004/5/6 I was a wrestler and I had a lot of good matches with a lot of different people. That and my Last Man Standing match with Bobby Roode at Wembley which was probably my favourite of all time. It was one where the crowd was into it, we were into and it was a perfect night. Great story, opponent, crowd, building, atmosphere...Great everything.
Your character has been on a huge journey, were you involved in the creative decisions?
No-one's really involved in the creative - I'm an employee like all the other guys. As you garner respect - and I'm a veteran there, I've been there for over ten years - they always run it by me first. I'm still an employee but it's cool to be in that position professionally. If you'd have said 20 years ago, "You'll be a comic character for 8 years" I would have laughed. I was always a guy considered as a wrestler's wrestler, doing very physical matches, that's what I was known for and that's how I got hired at TNA. I told them I wanted to be a character - playing and being a character is what I consider my strong suit and making people believe that's what I am or who I am. So I waited and waited and eventually they said we want to do this thing where you're paranoid and kind of crazy and I just took it and ran with it and that led to all kinds of other stuff. I got two of my own television shows out of it and for me it shows versatility and have lots of different hats I can wear which will keep me around for a long time. I've seen the card from every angle. I've been in the opening match, been a five-time tag champion with four different partners, been World Heavyweight Champion, have wrestled women, was beer drinking champion! I've seen and done it all. I've wrestled in those different characters all over the world. Just depending on when you saw me I could have been a completely different Eric Young from the last time we saw each other.
You've done two TV shows, what's next?
To use a fishing term, I have a lot of different lines in the water. I've been talking with Redbull TV, they're getting ready to launch a worldwide digital network and they need people to host shows for them. I actually just got cast in my first scripted role - I'm doing a show called Still The King. The lead character is Billy Ray Cyrus. It's a small part for just one episode but a pretty big speaking role. It's getting my foot in the door for something I've always wanted but never really had the chance to do. I have another audition soon for a show on NBC, we'll see what happens.
James Storm appeared at NXT. Gunner and Sam Shaw have left TNA - what are your reflections on that movement?
It happens - its part of wrestling. The turnover's high. There's guys out there that I didn't think would ever leave - AJ Styles being one, Jay Lethal, Samoa Joe, now James Storm. Having another avenue and the ability to go somewhere else is good. The more places to work, the better it is for us. The reality is we're all just employees and if I have for lack of a better word, leverage, to say "these guys are interested in me" or "these guys" it keeps you more valuable. If there's only one place to work in the world, that isn't good -that's with any form of entertainment or business. So it's good. Joe's killing it up there and I imagine James Storm will do well for himself. He's a talent wrestler and a guy that was in TNA before I was so it's weird to see him gone but that's part of wrestling and part of life in general.
What's the best rib [practical joke] you've played?
Its constant on the road - you've got to keep things light. My favourite is the monster abyss, maybe 6"6, over 300lb, scars all over his body and is considered (and is!) a very tough guy in the business but is actually deathly afraid of crickets. After a show, we were all travelling in a van. He was in the front seat and I was in the back. I grabbed a handful of crickets and tapped Jeremy Borash, who was also there and he started filming it. I put a pile of them on Abyss' shoulder and said "Hey man, what's that?" He turned and started squealing like a little girl - he beat the c**p out of me. It was worth it though! He's a smart and educated guy, he knows crickets can't do anything to you but that's his thing, he hates bugs and crickets are his least favourite and I put a whole pile of them on his shoulder!
Eric Young is back in the UK for 4fW on 24 October,. You can get your tickets for the TNA Maximum Impact 8 tour - with all dates set to be TV tapings - from www.gigsandtours.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk or direct from the tour venues.