31 July 2016

The Reign of Eli Drake is Coming

If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, the phrase "Winter is Coming" means something to you.  For multiple GOT seasons (and/or books) it was not clear what "Winter is Coming" meant or how long it would take for that particular storyline to come to fruition.  Eventually this expression made more sense and it was indeed revealed just what those words signified.  Well, I am drawing a parallel to that ultra popular HBO series here with the title of this column, "The Reign of Eli Drake is Coming".  It doesn't matter how long it takes, although the sooner the better preferably.  Don't get lost in the sauce with what exactly the notion of Eli Drake as World Heavyweight Champion means for TNA Wrestling.  Eventually it is going to happen and it will be glorious for his fans here at TNAMecca and all around the world that are waiting with eager anticipation.  TNA has been changing and evolving in the last few years.  Some of those changes included departures of major talents,  many which had been with the company for multiple years.  One positive aspect of the roster turnover meant that an untapped performer like Eli Drake now would have a real opportunity to shine.  He is the absolute best promo man in the business.  I stand by that statement and I would put him up against any other person in the pro wrestling industry on the mic.  Eli is truly that good.  This man is also vastly underrated in the ring as he has proven time and time again that he can hang with any other wrestler that has crossed his path.  Even now, he still hasn't shown us everything that he is capable of wrestling-wise but occasionally those seldom used (yet impressive) moves rear their head.  He has all the tools necessary to be TNA World Heavyweight Champion.  I like him more than Mike Bennett (Dummy, Yeah!).  I like him more than Bram (Dummy, Yeah!).  I like him more than James Storm (Dummy, Yeah!).  I like him more than Moose (Dummy, Yeah!).  I like him more than Drew Galloway (Dummy, Yeah!).  I like him more than either Hardy (Dummies, Yeah!).  Hell, I like him more than most of the roster and that's not an insult, that is just a fact of life! 

So the question is, does TNA Management like him in a similar manner?  If you would have asked me that a few months ago I would have said something like, "Unfortunately not.  I don't understand how they don't see his potential."  But then things started to tangibly change.  He finally got out of the painfully prolonged program with that waste of space slob, which shall remain nameless.  He was surprisingly rewarded with his own Fact of Life talk show segment, complete with a frequently used Dummy Button atop a custom made podium. Fact of Life has been mostly well received and spotlights his superbly unique speaking skills.  By the way, it goes without saying that Eli has capitalized on this talk show and made it successful in ways that Mr. Anderson was never going to be capable of doing with the same opportunity.  Drake has also tweeted several times about a "Dummy Button App"  that will be released soon after much demand from fans.  I will definitely be installing this app on my IPhone and using it often.  This is savvy marketing and it's this kind of stuff that Eli seems to really grasp as an effective entertainer.  Does any other TNA wrestler have their own app right now?  Nope.  They haven't taken this kind of initiative to simply get shit done with self promotion and one upping the competition.  When he cashed in his King of the Mountain title shot briefcase and took that championship belt from Bram, things continued to improve.  He also was in a one-on-one World Title match with Drew Galloway on Impact.  He was recently included in the BFG Playoffs which only had 8 competitors total.  His personal upward trajectory in recent months has been amazing.  Eli Drake fans really could not ask for much more than what we've been given so far.  To speed things up any more or give him too much too soon would be a mistake. 
Eli Drake, The Namer of Dummies, is now a TNA guy through and through and an absolute fan favorite online and even in the Impact Zone, where it can be difficult to garner a reaction.  He's quick to put those spectators in their place though if they provide too much of a face reaction as he can incite a genuine heel reaction with the snap of a finger.  Last September I wrote a column, "Eli Tho", in which I voiced the sentiments of our community here and sincerely endorsed Eli Drake.  Now, nearly a year later,  a lot of the hopes that we had back then for how he would be used moving forward are actually manifesting  on TV.  He's being given a lot of creative control freedom to adlib and really draw people in.  He has the innate ability to get your undivided attention in a short amount of time.  Like others have said, he can accomplish more in a short 1 minute or less witty promo than most wrestlers can do in a whole segment.  On the most recent Fact of Life, which included James Storm, he dropped a hilarious "Lashley's  giant ninja turtle head" line.  He brought up Pokémon Go which taps into currently relevant popular culture. He also dissed Storm with an amusing tractor and incest zinger.  He has a distinct Rock-esque quality to what he does as he has established several memorable catchphrases.  He also has a similar way of being very quick to think on his feet and exudes poise and swagger. Given that they have worked together in the past outside of pro wrestling it makes sense that he would have some degree of influence from one of the best sports entertainers of all time.  I bring that up because Eli has legit star characteristics complete with a magnetic arrogance.  Make no mistake, he is his own man but he speaks with the confident cadence of other legends of the past.  
Josh Mathews foreshadowing Eli Drake as a future World Heavyweight Champion on Impact commentary does hold some weight.  Yes, he has also said this about a few other wrestlers previously but keep in mind that Mathews began talking up Eddie Edwards a lot just before he received his World Title matches.  Being KOTM Champ has seemingly taken a little bit of a increased importance now that Lashley has both the X and World Heavyweight belts.  Is it just me or does it appear to be morphing into that true secondary title lately?  Lashley will be coming after him as Bobby has stated that he wants all the TNA gold.  It is important that Eli doesn't easily give up his KOTM championship and the booking in that regard will be very interesting.  Storm needs to put Drake over but the long term success of Eli Drake still calls for that "one big feud" that can elevate him to the next level.  I believe that big feud needs to be with the one and only EC3.  We've gotten a sampling of this future program twice now (on Impact and a ONO) and you can see the great chemistry that they have with each other.  The thought of an extended EC3 vs Eli Drake feud is enough to put a tingle in your loins, isn't it?  It needs to happen but it has to be the right time too.  In closing, if you're not already on the Eli Drake gravy train, you better get your ass on board because this locomotive is on its way to title town where the mashed potatoes are plentiful and delicious and everyone's keisters are gonna get whipped.  He is more than capable of carrying the torch for Impact Wrestling.  Like I said dummies, the reign of Eli Drake is coming.       

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