The following are highlights of a recent Ring Rust Radio interview with Eric Young:
On how it feels to be the TNA Champion: "It’s wild. Yesterday was the best professional day of my entire life. It almost doesn’t seem real. I haven’t had it that long, and I’m still trying to soak it in. Talking to you guys, talking to people from all over, and it’s a good place to be. A really good place."
On the reaction he's received to being the new champ: "Yeah, man. It’s been from all walks of life. Not just the wrestling community, but guys from other companies, guys that worked here before, guys that work here who weren’t here, Robert Flores from ESPN, Michelle Beadle from ESPN, and all kinds of people reached out to me to say they were proud and happy for me. That’s a good feeling. There is always going to be negativity and naysayers and that’s part of being in a creative field, but its been 90 percent positive. It’s amazing. It’s overwhelming, really."
On what fans can expect now that he's champion: "For me, it’s more of the same. It’s crazy to hear people say stuff like, “Eric Young is quite possibly the most entertaining wrestler in the world today.” There is nothing more important to me than that. Wrestling is about entertainment. Whether you’re entertaining people with physicality or comedy or verbiage or emotion or characterization or whatever it is, the name of the game is entertainment. It’s a television show and people are watching it because they want to be entertained. So to be held at that level and regarded in that way is the biggest compliment I could get. It’s not just the fans, it’s my peers and people I work with. It feels like the lifetime achievement award. It’s cool. I’m not going to win the Nobel Prize, but this as close as its going to get."
On defending the title: "The old saying goes; you have a target on your back. That’s how it works in sports and that’s how it works in pro wrestling. Having that target on your back is a huge compliment too. Now everyone is looking to come after me. As crazy as that sounds, it sounds like fun. I want to create as many memories and amazing moments for myself and wrestling fans as I can. That’s what pro wrestling is to me. I don’t remember whole matches from 20 years ago, but I remember moments from matches. I remember where I was and who I was with and how it made me feel. I’m ready to do that as world heavyweight champion. That’s my No. 1 goal. It’s to have as many amazing matches and memories as I can possibly make while I have this belt."
On whether or not his character will change now that he's champion: "For the storylines I’ve been involved in, that’s what it called for. I’m never going to lose my sense of humor. I was a class clown when I was a kid, I’ve always been the funny guy and I’ve always liked making people laugh, and that’s not going to stop. It will just be a different brand, a different style, a different way of being funny. I’m funny on my show that airs on Animal Planet. I’m not silly on the show, I’m not goofy and all that other stuff; I’m just kinda me. That’s the version of Eric Young that you’re going to get. It’s important for me to be funny, and that’s what made me popular. That’s what got me over with the fans in the first place and I won’t lose that. As far as adding an edge, when you’re rolling around in tacks with the monster Abyss, it’s hard to crack jokes. There’s nothing really funny about that. But yeah, it’s a cool challenge for me because that’s what I have been for the last five to eight years, and this is a whole new world for me. I can do it. I know I can. I’ve always known that and I’m dying to show people."
On comparisons of his title victory to Daniel Bryan's: "I definitely see the comparisons. Like you said, we both have sweet beards, we both won two matches, were both world heavyweight champion and I don’t think either of us are prototypical champions. That’s what makes us special. Anytime someone wants to make a comparison between me and Daniel Bryan, go ahead and knock yourself out. He’s a super talented guy. I never met him personally, but I know lots of guys that know him and he’s a nice guy. I listened to his interview on Steve Austin’s podcast and he sounds like he’s a cool dude. Anytime anyone wants to compare me to him, they...