Sit Down Series: Eric Young

For over ten years, Eric Young has been one of the most valuable and popular wrestlers in TNA. He is a former World Champion and it’s well-deserved. He has constantly been able to adapt in the crazy world of professional wrestling by tweaking his character every now and then, as well as always having a trick or two up his sleeve. Following his match for Revival Pro Wrestling, I sat down with Eric to have a very in-depth, emotional, unforgettable and of course, entertaining conversation about wrestling, music, movies, life lessons and much more.

Alex Obert: So the wrestling world got hit with big news recently, the passing of Dusty Rhodes. How does that make you feel?

Eric Young: I mean he’s a huge part of this industry. He was a massive in-ring personality for years. He was wrestling before I was born. He’s wrestled in every territory, wrestled for NWA, WCW, WWE. He’s worked backstage at all major promotions at one point, worked for all of them. His imprints are all over everything. There’s a term called the Dusty Finish and it’s a very distinct finish in wrestling. It was made by him and still used to this day a lot. The impact of the legacy he built will never be forgotten. He’s a guy I shared the ring with. I don’t know if me and him always saw eye to eye, but I respect what he’s done in this business. If you’re a person that’s in wrestling and you can’t respect what he’s done, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. He was a fat middle-aged man that was arguably one of the most popular acts in WWE and WCW. He wasn’t good looking, he had a terrible physique, he had growths on his body, he wasn’t athletic, but he had something that made people relate to him. And he knew that. That’s a skill. If you can do that and make people care about you in any form of entertainment, especially wrestling, you’re doing something right for sure.

Alex Obert: He was in TNA while you were on the roster and you mention that you didn’t see eye to eye with him.

Eric Young: Yeah, he ran TNA. He had a weird style of booking, if you’re asking me. It was an old style of doing it. I think some good things came from him being with us, but some bad things too. Part of him being the legend Dusty Rhodes is that he could skate by on his mistakes with the fact that he was Dusty Rhodes. And he made them. He did good things too. He and I maybe look at wrestling differently, that’s no slight on him or anything like that. I always respected him. Me and him shared the ring on three different occasions and I had a blast working with him. He’s the American Dream and I was from evil Team Canada. The emotion of those matches were always great. He was an old man, he couldn’t do anything. But it didn’t matter. Those matches are just as fun as any physical match or blow for blow match that I’ve ever had because people cared about him. At that point, I was a heel in Team Canada. That’s all you can ask for as a heel, going against somebody that people care about. It makes it easy.

Alex Obert: You turned heel at the beginning of this year and you hadn’t been one in over five years when you formed World Elite. But a lot of fans seem to associate you with being a comedic face in TNA.

Eric Young: I think the World Elite thing started to work. People were saying that I was known as a comedy character in TNA and that’s true, the majority of my work in TNA over the last ten years has been a comedy role, the funny guy. People ask me if I liked it. Yeah, of course I liked it. I was on vacation for ten years, that’s easy. I can do that with my eyes closed. And on top of that, being that guy got me noticed. I did three seasons of a television show. If I was just a wrestler, a guy that just goes out and wrestles, Animal Planet would never have noticed me. I wouldn’t have had footage to show them like the Scott Baio skit and the ODB marriage and stuff like that. It did still take some convincing, but it worked. But I got hired at TNA because I was a wrestler, that’s what I was known for. That’s how I got a look. Scott D’Amore had me on his shows and I think I wrestled Chris Sabin in his second match ever, I wrestled Alex Shelley in his third match and I wrestled Petey Williams in his second match. I was known as a guy that was a physical wrestler and carried the physicality of cards. I was never a main event or anything, but my matches were always considered very, very technical and very good matches. That’s how I got hired. I kept begging them to give me a character, I don’t care what it is. Give me anything. Give me a character because I have the ability to make people believe that’s who I am. So they wanted me to start being paranoid and worried about getting fired. I just took it and ran. Falling down from the pyro, that just came to me. All the best stuff just kind of comes to you. I’ve done it all, I’ve seen wrestling from the opening match to wrestling girls to being in a mask. I’ve been tag champ, I’ve been TV champ, I’ve been Global champ, I’ve been X-Division champ, I’ve been World champ. I’ve seen the card from every single angle and I won’t change anything about that. Versatility will make me have longevity. I’ve been here ten years and I plan on being here a whole lot longer.

Alex Obert: So being in TNA for ten years, you have gotten to work with legends that have come to the company such as Sting and Kurt Angle. Who would you say your mentors have been throughout the years?

Eric Young: Christian and me have had a very strong relationship for a long time. I was helping train kids in a gym in Toronto and without knowing it, he had come into the gym. I was in the ring doing some spots with a guy. It was this real long weird spot and we did it really well. I slid out and he goes, “Hey man!” I turn and it’s Christian. “Oh hey, how’s it going?” He asked me if I ever sent any tapes in. I told him that I’ve sent a couple tapes, but I never got any calls back. He goes, “What are you doing next week?” “I don’t know, I’ve got a regular job. But not a whole lot.” He told me that Smackdown will be here in Toronto and that he’d make sure that I come down to get a tryout. And he did. It snowballed from there. He was a big deal. And Sting was a guy that I’d idolized. I got to wrestle him in his first match back in ten years and that was crazy. I was so nervous that I forgot to put my wrist tape on, it was wild. The truth is, all the guys that come from WWE have experience that I don’t have. In my head, as a pro wrestler, I’m just as good or better than any of those guys. If you don’t think that way, you’re in a weird place. I’m not saying I’m better, but I think I’m just as good or better than they are. But with experience, they can learn something from me and I can learn something from them. It’s about constantly being able to change while wrestling is changing. Wrestling is different now than it was five years ago. If you can’t adapt to that, then you’ll die on the vine. It’s happened to a lot of guys. It hasn’t happened to me yet. It’s wild, man. It’s a wild ride, being on TV every week for ten years. It’s pretty crazy.

Alex Obert: On the topic of Christian from before, what was it like having him in a TNA ring in 2012 while being on the WWE roster at the time? Was it surreal?

Eric Young: Yeah, really surreal. I think he was maybe the only guy that was ever allowed to do that. He’s the only person that’s ever been able to legally do that. It’s cool to be able to see your friend do something like that and that will go down in history as the first guy that’s done it. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again. I hope it does. In my opinion, none of the companies are really competing against each other. You are competing against yourself. The WWE is here and all the other promotions are here. So the WWE, they control. They’ve been around for so long and have the monopoly on most things. They’ve got three massive television shows and millions of people, generational, watching. That’s grandpas, fathers and sons watching. We’re not competing with those guys. A way for me to say is that they’re the Yankees and we’re the Nashville Sounds, in a baseball term. Not saying the Yankees as in skill level, I’m just as good or better than anybody there, I would say that to anybody that wants to listen. But we’re in a different game. We’re not competing with them. And for us to think that we’re competing with them is foolish, we’re competing with ourselves. ROH and TNA and Lucha Underground and all these other promotions are fighting over this one scrap. We don’t need to be fighting each other, we should be working together to make that scrap a bigger piece. There’s plenty of wrestling to go around.

I feel this is a boom in wrestling. A lot of attention is on pro wrestling. There’s two pro wrestling shows on Destination America. Lucha Underground is on El Rey Network, it’s a very cool, young upstart network. These shows and these networks need to be nurtured so other people have places to work and wrestling fans have alternatives. I’m telling you right now, if you’re a wrestling fan, you need to start watching stuff other than the WWE. If they get a monopoly, it’s not good because then that’s your only choice. If you want pro wrestling, you can only watch them. If you’re a person like me that likes variety, you gotta support the other things. I’m not saying not to watch, watch it all. I watch all of it. When I was fifteen, sixteen, I watched ECW, I watched Smoky Mountain, I watched USWA, I watched WCW, NWA, I watched New Japan, Noah. I traded tapes with guys in Mexico. I watched it all. It’s all interesting in its own way, it all has something to offer. I think everyone just needs to enjoy this time and not worry so much about everything else.

Alex Obert: You recently wrestled for another prominent company, House of Hardcore. What was that night like for you?

Eric Young: Really cool. I’m really close with Tommy Dreamer. In my opinion, he’s if not the smartest, tied for the smartest guy in pro wrestling. I don’t know a lot of people that understand it better than him. He’s kind of always been that way. When I was younger and I watched ECW, I loved him. He was never known for great matches, but he was a guy that always had people involved. People were into him. And it wasn’t because he was the babyface like “Oh, I’m Tommy Dreamer and I love ECW and I love you.” He was over because he was good. He knew how, for lack of a better term, to manipulate people to enjoy what he’s doing. He’s a guy that’s athletically not gifted and physically, not a real prize to look at. He would be the fucking first guy to tell you that. But he’s a guy that has made a really good living in wrestling because he knows what he’s doing. I would say he’s probably the smartest guy in wrestling right now.

And wrestling for House of Hardcore was cool, especially being at the ECW Arena. I’ve wrestled there a few times and that night was super cool. I got to work with him, that was a big deal for me because he’s a guy that I look up to. I love wrestling Tommy. I’d do it every night, it’s fun. And then I got to do the spot with Rey, a guy that I respect. I’ve loved Rey Mysterio for years. He’s a guy that’s five foot nothing and became one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling. As a human being, you gotta respect that. This is a business that’s known for big guys and bodies and huge personalities. He wore a mask! He barely ever talked! And he was arguably one of the most over babyfaces in WWE. Really a great guy too, man.

Tommy told me I was gonna do a spot where he’s the surprise, I’m taking a headscissors from him for sure. I wanted to take one so bad. I think the clip of it went viral on Facebook and that’s because he did the 619 and I came up to my feet while selling it backwards. I just said in my head that I’m gonna go over the top rope. I didn’t plan it, it just happened. I was on my feet and I was going back really quick. I thought I could make it over the top rope and I went backwards over the top rope. I was fine, but I saw it back and couldn’t believe it happened like that. It was perfect and a cool moment for him. It’s a cool moment for me to share a ring with him.

Alex Obert: EC3 was also in the ring during all of that. What do you think of his meteoric rise in TNA?

Eric Young: It’s deserved. Eye test: One, he looks like a pro athlete, he takes care of himself and looks like a pro wrestler. Two, he can talk. Three, he makes people interested in what he’s doing, whether they hate him or they like him. The most important thing is he makes what he’s doing important. He’s just an ultra-talented guy. He’s a guy that was slighted by the other company and a lot of people know that. And sometimes, things don’t work out. I did probably twenty dark matches up there and had a conversation with Stephanie McMahon. “Your name came up and we’re thinking about maybe doing a surfer gimmick.” And I’ll be whatever, I’ll be the child molester, I don’t care. I didn’t wanna be the child molester, I’d much rather be the surfer. But for whatever reason, when I was doing tryouts and stuff there, it didn’t work out. That wasn’t my path. I ended up with TNA and I’m happy, man. I have a good life. I’ve traveled the world and entertained millions of people and won every belt. I did all this amazing stuff.

You could say the same thing for EC3. When he was up there and got let go, that’s a blow for your ego. But everything works out how it’s supposed to. I think he was meant to be here. He’s obviously a super talented guy and he’s getting what he deserves. There’s politics in everything. There’s politics at the post office, there’s politics at Bridgestone where they make car tires, it exists in every walk of life. But he did it the right way. He came in, he was respectful, he worked hard and he did what he was told. He showed everybody how good he was and now he’s in a spot where he should be. He did it like I did it, like Bobby Roode did it, like Austin Aries did it, like Abyss did it, James Storm. We did our indies and we worked our way up. And we started with TNA with our head down, “Yes sir” “No sir”, do what you’re told. It works out. A lot of people say stuff about Vince Russo, but I told him a long time ago that I just wanna wrestle. I’m doing these comedy things and I wanted to wrestle because I’m a wrestler. And he said, “EY, just keep doing what you’re doing. The cream always rises to the top.” He wrote an article about that and he did say those exact words to me. It’s the exact same thing with EC3.

Alex Obert: He could very well be the next world champion in TNA. You have climbed to the top of that mountain. When that happened, what was it like to walk through the curtain and go backstage after the match? Were there wrestlers waiting to congratulate you?

Eric Young: I’m a pretty emotional guy anyways, stuff like that is important to me. For me, the most important thing in wrestling is respect from my peers. I never got into wrestling for money or fame. Fame is something that comes with it. And it’s cool, I don’t have to wait in line at a bar and I get to go to hockey games for free. I get to hang out with Mike Fisher. I went to ESPN last summer and hung out in the war room. If I’m Eric Young that works at McDonald’s, I don’t get to do that stuff. I’m still the same guy, but this has allowed me a really cool life. If you told me even a year before that happened that I was gonna win the world title, I would’ve said not to hold your breath. But things happen. Other than Jeff and Kurt, I was arguably the most over babyface on the show. I put them in a position where they couldn’t ignore it. And they didn’t. There is a vision here.

The creative team, they get a lot of flack and everyone’s got an opinion, but these people are under deadlines and mandates from networks. There’s ratings and quarterly, we’re under a microscope. Internet writers and people that have never produced television can’t even begin to understand what it’s like trying to write a wrestling show. It all comes down to dollars. So I started to cry in the ring because I’m holding the world title. I just won it and it’s a pretty big deal. I’ve been here ten years and I get along with pretty much everybody. I’ve known most of these guys for over ten years. Bobby Roode, I’ve known for twelve, thirteen years. I’ve only known some guys a couple years, but I’m close with them. And when I came through, everyone was there. Standing ovation and clapping. The match was super good and I’m proud of it. Me and Magnus had a really good match. But that moment was more important to me than winning the belt, coming back and having everybody there. We’re like a family. Every time you’re in the ring, your life is in that guy’s hands. Even if you’re not close where you hang out with each other, there’s still a brotherhood to it. Brotherhood, sisterhood, the guys and the girls. Because we’re the underdogs, it makes us a pretty tightknit group. We all deal with the same problems and the same bullshit and stuff. Coming through the curtain and having eighty of your peers clapping and giving you a standing ovation, it doesn’t get better. Not ever.

Alex Obert: As such an entertaining personality in wrestling, what are some of your favorite skits and segments that you were involved in?

Eric Young: This stuff with Scott Baio was some of the best stuff that I ever did. He was a teenage heartthrob. He was in those Tiger Beat magazines that young girls would buy. There was a very huge sitcom from the eighties and nineties called Charles in Charge and he was the main actor. It just started innocently, I was doing a thing where Austin Aries is doing an interview with Jason Hervey. And Jason Hervey is from the Wonder Years, he was an executive producer on the show. He’s a guy that I get along with, a good guy, a smart guy. He’s not there anymore and stuff like that goes on. But we did a thing where I was the Television Champion and I was crazy. In my mind, the gimmick was I could only defend the TV belt against TV stars. I was a TV star, I didn’t have a television show of the time, but in my mind, I was in charge of television. So I thought D’Lo Brown was Cee Lo Green and I attacked him in a variety store. I did this thing with Jason Hervey and I superkicked him. I covered him and I made Earl count one two three and I defended my belt. Just improv off the top of my head, I’m walking by the cameras and I go, “That’s right, you’re on watch Hollywood! You’re next, Baio! You punk!” And I just walked off, then we cut. Jason Hervey jumps up and he goes “Yes! That’s perfect!” I didn’t know that Jason Hervey and Scott Baio had been best friends for like twenty five years. So we start filming in Hollywood where I’ve got no shirt on and I’ve got both my belts, the fake world title that I found in the garbage and declared myself the world champion. I attacked Baio on a golf course in my underwear and it got on TMZ, all this crazy stuff. That was some great stuff.

Doing the beer drinking championship with Storm. I got paid to drink at work for six months, I’m not gonna argue with that ever. The favorite stuff I did was with ODB, it was fun. She’s rad, one of the coolest chicks ever. She’s up for anything and is really good at what she does. I think it was the only wrestling wedding to start and finish in one segment where someone didn’t break it up. We were in a cage, so we were safe. There’s so many. I did cool stuff with Jeff Jarrett where he would pick on me. And it’s cool that they don’t give me verbage, they just say pretape, Eric’s crazy and he talks about the match later. They would just let me do whatever I wanted. Not a lot of people in a creative business like this are allowed to do that. Guys all levels are given verbage where they have to say this and make sure you say that and do it this way. For eight years, I’ve been doing whatever I wanted. They trusted me, they knew I was supposed to be funny and I can be funny. Those guys can’t tell me how to be funny, I’m gonna be funny on my own. I never asked for it, I earned it. That’s cool.

Alex Obert: You had an ongoing chemistry during backstage interviews and various skits with Jeremy Borash. He has been with the company since the very first night. Do you feel that his contributions to TNA are overlooked?

Eric Young: Big time. Borash is probably one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. He can be an in-ring announcer, he’s just as good as Michael Buffer or any of those guys. He can be a commentator if he wanted. His knowledge of wrestling is vast, he’s been a wrestling fan since he was twelve. He’s watched everything. You name it, he’s watched it. He knows it and he remembers all of it. Back in the early days when we were at the fairgrounds in Nashville, he would do the interviews and in-ring announcing. Then we’d all head to the bars, he’d go home and open up his laptop and taught himself how to edit. A lot of the early packages, the early stuff that you saw on pay per view and stuff, that was him. He did it all. There was him and a small group, Bill Banks was a guy, Moody was a guy, he works in Puerto Rico now. But yeah, he’s an ultra-talented guy. British Boot Camp, he wrote it, directed it, edited it, produced it, all of it. All him. Really successful television show in the UK.

Alex Obert: The age of social media we are in has showcased interaction on Twitter between talent from WWE and TNA. You’ve notably been conversing with CM Punk on Twitter about hockey, how did that all start?

Eric Young: He was here when I first started. He tagged with Julio Dinero. We were never close or anything. He doesn’t drink and I do, but we do have a lot of similar interests. I love comic books, he loves comic books. I love hockey, he loves hockey. He loves wrestling, I love wrestling. He likes UFC, I like UFC. There’s lots of things that we have in common, we always got along. Funny story, it was probably ten years ago and I was on a flight home from Orlando. There was bad weather, I got rerouted and I landed in Philadelphia. I left the hotel in Orlando at like five in the morning. I landed in Philadelphia at 9 AM. The flight got canceled and changed around and I didn’t have to leave there till 6:30. I was thinking, “Man, who do I know that lives in Philadelphia that could come get me and hang out?” The only person I really know was Punk. I thought maybe I’d text him, but I just decided to wait it out at the airport. As soon as I got that thought out of my head, here he comes walking by me. He was heading to an indy show somewhere in Iowa or something. We talked for a little bit. Like I said, we were never friendly where we hung out or anything like that, but we’ve always got along. I saw him at San Diego Comic-Con a couple years ago, I was there and he was there at the same time. We talked and shot the shit for fifteen, twenty minutes. He’s a guy that worked hard, man. This is a guy that got over on his own. He had a lot of things against him and he got over anyways. He’s always marched to his own drum. He decided it was time to go, now he’s off to UFC and we’ll see how that goes. Me and him have a lot of interests and that’s how the back and forth happens on Twitter. We don’t really talk other than that.

Alex Obert: And you also converse with Edge on Twitter. How did you two first meet?

Eric Young: We met in Canada. There’s this weird “Oh, you’re from Canada, so we’re buddies.” And that’s true because pro wrestling’s a small world. You cross paths with lots of different guys, lots of different times, lots of different levels. I haven’t seen Slyck Wagner Brown in six years and I saw him last week, real cool guy. I’m real good friends with Sinn Bodhi, he was in the WWE as Kizarny and he does Freak Show Wrestling in Las Vegas. They’ve been friends since childhood, Edge, Christian and him. They grew up in Orangeville together, all three of them. The first time we met, we met at that same gym in Toronto. Him and Sinn were driving past where I used to live, heading to Scott D’Amore’s for a Christmas party. He came by and picked me up in his Hummer and we all went down there together. We’ve been buddies ever since. We have a lot of stuff in common too. Really great guy, man. When I did tryouts in the WWE, Christian and him looked after me. I respect that because they don’t have to, but they did it anyways.

Alex Obert: Touching up on music, what are your music tastes like?

Eric Young: Dude, it’s wide. Probably what I listen to most right now is Run the Jewels, I’m obsessed with it. Not a massive hip hop guy though. People always say they listen to everything. But listen, I’ll bring out my iPod and I could show you Muddy Waters, you hit shuffle and then it’s Hakuna Matata from The Lion King soundtrack. Then you hit shuffle and it’s the Ramones, then it’s Merle Haggard, then it’s Florida Georgia Line, then it’s Roxette. It’s vast. It just depends on my mood and what I’m doing. I don’t often listen to Roxette when I’m at the gym. It’s always kind of moving. I was really heavy into punk music when I was in high school. Pennywise and NOFX. Southern Cal punk was my favorite. I got to see Social Distortion at the Ryman Auditorium last summer and that’s the best show I’ve ever been to. I saw B.B. King live several years ago.

What I listen to is literally all over the map. Right now it’s Run the Jewels and Wu-Tang Clan because I love kung fu movies. Black Keys, I’ve been listening to them. I’m not like “Oh, I’ve been listening to them before people knew who they were”, but I was in early. My buddy found their very first album somehow and he told me I had to hear it. I own all their albums. Sheepdogs, they’re a Canadian bands and they sound just like the Black Keys. That’s another one I listen to a lot. Rage Against the Machine may be my favorite band of all time. And then they go and do Audioslave with Chris Cornell. That’s like those What If comics like what if Swamp Thing fought Spider Man. That’s what that was. I love Soundgarden and I think Chris Cornell has maybe the greatest rock voice of all time. If I started a fantasy league where I made rock bands, Chris Cornell’s my frontman. A hundred percent. I’d also put Tom Morello on guitar. And then that happened, it blew my mind. That CD didn’t leave my CD player in my car for almost two weeks, that’s rare.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite entrance themes in TNA throughout the years?

Eric Young: Mine right now, I love it. That such a mark thing to say, but it’s just true. When I was starting to do World Elite, I wanted to change my music. Ring music has got to make you feel a certain way. I’m a bad guy and I’m the leader of this World Elite. I envision strutting out to When The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin. I hear that song and it just makes me wanna walk like that. That’s my heel music! So I told Dale Oliver, the guy that makes most of the music, that I want it to be the same kind of riff as When The Levee Breaks. And he did kind of a Wolfmother cover version of it. They put in a bunch of other stuff like screaming and crazy nonsense, but the first version Dale did was awesome. He knows that that’s the one that I liked and TNA ended up choosing a different one because they wanted to have Arabic yelling in the background. Daivari lives in Minnesota, guys. (laughs) Let’s not get carried away! But yeah, that’s one of my favorites. BDC has probably got the coolest entrance music in pro wrestling right now. And if not in pro wrestling, then it’s definitely in TNA. They’re not gonna be heels for long, that’s the way I look at it. You can’t have cool music with cool guys that beat the crap out of everybody and have them be heels, it just doesn’t work.

Alex Obert: I recall reading online years ago that you watch three movies a week. Is that still the case?

Eric Young: That’s probably an understatement. I was living at a buddy’s house, with him and his wife. I was in between finding my next apartment and stuff. They offered to let me live with them, they wanted somebody to help pay rent because they just bought this new house. I always got along with them, but I kind of felt like I was in the way. So I’d just stay in my room. I’d wake up, do my routine, go to the gym, hang out with him and then she would come home. I wanted to be out of their way then, they’re married and they have this life. There’s this weird third guy there. I spent a lot of time in my room and this was when Blockbuster was still a thing, Redbox wasn’t around yet and Netflix was around, but they weren’t streaming. They would mail you movies, but that wasn’t fast enough for me.

I had Blockbuster and I had Unlimited, but you could only rent two at a time. So I’d wake up and I’m more of a morning person, I don’t sleep in. On days when I’m not wrestling, I could sleep till four in the afternoon if I felt like it. That’s just the honest truth. I would often get up at seven or eight, do cardio in the morning, have my breakfast and go to the gym. On my way back, I would stop and get two movies. I’d go home and watch them. Sometimes I’d get through them both and if there were more hours in the day, I’d go and get two more. Most days, I was watching two a day. I was probably doing that five or six days a week. I’ve seen everything. And I’m still a massive movie guy, I watch everything as much as I can.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorites?

Eric Young: This is like music for me, it depends on my mood. And it depends on how I feel or what I want to watch at the time. Face/Off, I know the idea for it is kind of weird, but I’m obsessed with how John Woo shoots action and how he shoots gunfights. I fell in love with Jackie Chan. Rumble in the Bronx was my first real thing. If you’ve never read his autobiography, it’s called I Am Jackie Chan, his life is a movie. It’s amazing. I’ve read it like four times. I own probably twenty six of his movies, almost every movie that he starred in. And even ones where he was in a smaller role. I’m obsessed with him. I love kung fu movies. I probably own three hundred on DVD. Tommy Boy is probably my favorite comedy of all time. Philadelphia’s an amazing movie. Me and the guys I rode here with were talking about Falling Down, I’m watching that as soon as I get home.

Alex Obert: Everywhere I go, everyone is talking about incredible television shows that they are watching every week and binge watching on Netflix. Where do you stand on all that?

Eric Young: There was a point where if television was good, it was expensive and on HBO and it was hard to get. Now there’s amazing television shows on free TV. I DVR it and I have the Genie, which can hold 1900 hours. I’ve got four hundred episodes of television shows and it’s twenty five percent full. Technology is insane. But it’s making my life difficult because I don’t have time to watch it all. I just started watching this show the other day called Thorne, it’s from BBC and the governor from Walking Dead is the main detective in it. It’s amazing. There’s so much good television, it’s insane. You couldn’t watch it all in a lifetime. But I try, I’m doing what I can.

Alex Obert: Was there a remake of a film that pissed you off?

Eric Young: Red Dawn. Worst movie ever. If I ever get really famous, it’ll come back to haunt me because I put a thing on Netflix about it. I said I hope this movie never comes out because when it does, I’m gonna dig up Patrick Swayze and we’re gonna go to Hollywood and kill everybody. It’s rotten. I liked the Robocop remake. I really liked the Judge Dredd remake. I actually thought was better than the one with Sylvester Stallone. The Judge Dredd comic, it’s dark, man. It’s depressing and dark and mean and violent. The one with Sylvester Stallone wasn’t that. It was making jokes about seashells. Somewhere along the way, I don’t know why it took this long, but Hollywood realized that comic books make really good movies. They don’t even have to do any work. All of the characters and all of the stories are already there, they’re already developed. It just has to be turned into a movie. And I’m not saying that that’s easy. You get people that are diehard about comic books. “The first X-Men was this guy and this guy! And where’s Iceman and where’s Nightcrawler?” Give it a break, guys. Just watch it and enjoy it for what it is. They’ve only got two hours, they can’t tell the whole story. They’re not gonna make six hundred X-Men movies, okay? They could, but they’re not gonna do it. They’re just not. Sometimes you’ve gotta cut stuff out and do what you think will sell because the bottom line, they’re trying to make money.

Alex Obert: Who will be playing you in the movie about your life?

Eric Young: Oh man! Right now? I want to say Danny DeVito, but I’m not that far-gone. I did Michelle Beadle’s show one time and she said that I look like Zach Galifianakis. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or a dig on me. It’s the beard. All of a sudden, everyone with the beard looks alike. I don’t look anything like him! And of course the comparison in wrestling is Daniel Bryan. “You ripped off Daniel Bryan!” I get that every day on Twitter. My answer, I’ve said it on Steve Austin’s podcast and any podcast I’ve been on, if you wanna compare me to him, feel free. Here’s the checklist: One, great guy. Two, honest guy. Three, really hot wife. Four, really over in pro wrestling. Five, super rich. There’s the list. You want to compare me to him, go ahead because he’s a talented and awesome person. But if you want to compare me to him because we both have beards, you’re insane. Go back and look at the tapes. I already had a beard in 2010 and he was just barely on TV then. When he came on TV, he didn’t have a beard. In no way, shape or form am I saying that he copied my beard. If you wanna say I copied somebody, I copied Opie from Sons of Anarchy. That’s how my beard got started. I love Sons of Anarchy. I love Ryan Hurst. I thought he looked awesome with the beard. I had a dream where I had this crazy beard and I woke up, looked at my wife and said that I’m gonna grow a beard. That’s how I have this. One day I was with Frankie Kazarian and Chris Daniels, I hadn’t seen them in four or five months and we were on House of Hardcore together. “Man, is that the tattoo from your dream ten years ago?” I was like, “Yup!” Maybe it’s a midlife crisis, I don’t know, but it’s cool.

Alex Obert: Before we wrap up, what’s the biggest life lesson that you have taken out of wrestling over the years?

Eric Young: Sometimes you just have to learn to pull back and appreciate what you have. A lot of people say that, but it’s the truth. I grew up in a town with a population of ninety people in rural Ontario, Canada. I went to a small high school. I was never a great athlete. I was never this or that. All I ever really wanted to do was to be a pro wrestler. I’m sitting here with you, a complete stranger, and you’re gonna put this cool article on the internet. I just wrestled tonight in front of three, four hundred people and made really good money. I live in a humongous house in Nashville. I drive an awesome truck. I have an amazing Harley that I bought with money from wrestling. I have this amazing life. It’s hard work, for sure, but it’s owed to pro wrestling. Sometimes, especially in this business, people just want to complain about everything. Wrestling fans and wrestlers and everybody. Sometimes you just gotta relax and look at the big picture. This tattoo is a funny thing. My mom and dad were separated when I was in fourth grade, great guy. If I called him right now and said I need ten thousand dollars, I’d have it. He doesn’t have ten thousand dollars, but if I said I needed it, he would figure out a way to get it. He’s a great father and he was there for me whenever I needed him.

And something was happening, I don’t remember what it was, but it’s ninth grade and you’re a teenager and the world’s coming to an end every possible day. He sat me down and he said, “I’m gonna tell you something that I learned.” He’s traveled to all fifty states, he’s skied in Switzerland, he’s worked in mines , working oil rigs. He almost got drafted to go to Vietnam, he came back to Canada, he was a hippie. He’s done everything. And he told me something that really stuck with me for some reason and I’ve lived my life from this conversation ever since. He said “Nothing in life is for sure. Nothing.” That can be depressing if you look at it the wrong way. But I’m telling you, in life, nothing in life is guaranteed. Nothing’s forever. Not love, not money, not relationships, not friendship, not your job. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. The only thing you can one hundred percent count on is change. That’s it. Because it will happen. It’s the only thing for sure. Change is the only thing in life that’s a hundred percent guaranteed. Maybe it’s a little bit, maybe it’s a lot. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. Maybe it affects you, maybe it doesn’t affect you. Maybe it affects everybody you know, maybe it affects people you don’t know. But things constantly change.

That’s why I never get too high and I never get too low. It’s the only thing that’s guaranteed and that’s what’s under my arm and that’s what it’s gonna say. That’s what this tattoo is about. It’s a cool way to live your life. There’s been times where I’ve had low times in TNA, there’s no doubt. And in wrestling in general. Struggling to get hired by TNA or WWE. And I get told “You’re TV ready.” That’s something that the WWE told me. Me and Bobby Roode years ago, you’re TV ready, but they’re paying guys that couldn’t lock up fifty thousand dollars a year to be in OVW and I’m making horse harnesses in Ontario and starving to death. Sometimes you gotta relax, look at the big picture and just appreciate where you are. Know that nothing is permanent, man. Everything can change.

Alex Obert: Incredible outlook. With that said, I’d love to thank you for your time and a great interview.

Eric Young: You too, man.

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11 thoughts on “Sit Down Series: Eric Young

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