Elijah Burke, aka “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero, was a proud member of the TNA Wrestling roster at several points over the last decade. TNA Wrestling even gave Elijah his one and only pay-per-view World Championship match when he faced AJ Styles at TNA Lockdown 2010.
Speaking with Wrestling Epicenter, Elijah Burke talked about his time in TNA and why he feels Dixie Carter doesn’t get the credit she deserves.
Elijah Burke on if his TNA Wrestling run is remembered more than his WWE run:
“Well, again, that is why that name Da Pope takes precedence over Elijah Burke or any other name. Even to this day and back when I was with TNA, when I was in public, at the store, in restaurants… Sure, people said Elijah Burke. But, Pope became the thing, Pope became the man. Pope became who I am! Quite frankly, the reason that got over is because it is who I am. It is amped up. But, it is more natural for me to be Da Pope. Let me play from my background and be who I am. And, more importantly, there were no scripts in TNA. (laughs) You put a live mic in front of Pope, let me be Pope, and let me do my thing. It is natural. I had no muzzle, no scripts to follow, it was just natural. Vince Russo just said, “Pope! (pronounced Pope-A), what are we going to do today Pope?” I was like, “What do you mean?” “What are you going to say?” “What’s going on? What am I involved with”, you know? (laughs) That is the way it was, man. Every time I was given a mic, “Go be Pope.” And, that’s what I did. And, I think that is why Pope stood out.”
Elijah Burke on if Dixie Carter is given a bum rap from past employees now:
“Certainly, she gets a bum rap and she doesn’t get enough credit for what she did do, which was take a company that was going under and made it a national company and made it a somewhat profitable company. Sure, she was not the wrestling genius or wrestling mastermind, as so many other people have pointed out. But, when it came to the promotion and what needed to be to get IMPACT to a respectable number 2 at the time, she did that. She did that! Look at IMPACT now. IMPACT is trying to find its way again. Look at where IMPACT went, with all of the woes and the lows. Is she blameless in all of that? No, she’s not blameless. But, she doesn’t get enough credit for the good things. She gave us all, everyone that went through there, a second chance at making a decent living by doing what we love to do. For that, I’m forever grateful.”
You can check out the full interview below: