Eric Young says “it’s good to be king.”
Young spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard after winning the IMPACT World Championship on Tuesday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling on AXS. In just his third match back with the company, Young won the promotion’s top prize by defeating Eddie Edwards in the main event.
Young says he is proud to have this opportunity to lead IMPACT as the new champion and says this was never personal with Eddie Edwards, but it’s a massive accomplishment for him.
“Yeah, it feels good. The big word for me right now is ‘justification.’ Being in wrestling, anyone that says they don’t want to be world champion or be ‘the guy’ for wherever they’re working, they’re either lying to you or they’re in the wrestling business for the wrong reasons. It’s a massive, massive accomplishment for me and it’s a massive responsibility that I take deathly serious. I’m very serious about making this place a destination for everybody viewer-wise, and being the flag-bearer of that is something that is super cool. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
“No, not personal for me. Eddie made his bed and I tried to warn him, to allow him the easy way but he didn’t want that because that’s not who he is. So I feel like all of this was created by him, all of the stuff that happened and the result was created by him. In the end, this was fate. This was always going to happen, he had no control.”
Young is now a two-time World Champion in the company, with the first reign coming in 2014 under the TNA Wrestling banner. Back then, some fans criticized the decision and used the situation to take a pot-shot at the company, claiming Young only won the title because of the physical resemblance and storyline similarities with Daniel Bryan. The claim is without merit, as Young earned the title through hard work and skill, but he still says he takes a comparison to an athlete like Bryan as a compliment, not a sleight.
“As far as being compared to Daniel Bryan, is there a better compliment? I don’t know that there is. He’s an incredible human being, one of the best in-ring performers of our generation, married to a beautiful woman and makes beautiful kids and cares about the environment. You want to compare me to Daniel Bryan then I’m all for it. I know that we both had beards at the time so that was a big thing, but the opportunity now is singular in that IMPACT Wrestling is in this very cool position where it’s growing. It’s growing during a global pandemic and when the world opens back up, that’s what I’m really excited for, to really get going.
“Being the flag-bearer of IMPACT Wrestling is something that I take very serious. Creating buzz and creating hype for Slammiversary was one thing for IMPACT, but it delivered and I’m part of that. The people that were in this company before me and myself and the people that came in during Slammiversary, we owe them a debt of gratitude because they kept this company going and afloat, and kept them in a position to grow. Now going past Slammiversary, it’s about growth. It’s not about being complacent and getting by, doing the best we can with what we’re given, it’s doing more than what we’re given. We have this very cool opportunity because of the buzz and growth of the company to really make—for lack of a better word—an impact in the wrestling world. Anybody that can’t be excited about that is crazy. I’m not going to stay up and lose sleep over it, but I wake up every day excited about it because I’m thinking about what I’m going to do next, how I’m going to say it, how I’m going to approach my next match, my next promo. As a professional wrestler, that’s the lifeblood and it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.”