Dak Draper carries himself like a winner, and he’s going to get back on the right track in Ring Of Honor with a win over Eli Isom.
Dak Draper spoke with WrestleZone ahead of his match with Eli Isom on Ring Of Honor TV this week and talked about moving into the Television title picture and the differences in working the Pure style. Draper, ROH’s 2019 Top Prospect winner, said he’s starting over again but he feels like he can gain some momentum one more time and move his way right up the ranks in a new division.
“I feel like my career has been a series of resets, like starting and stopping, so it’s nothing I’m not used to and I’m really good at, once I get started at building that momentum, it’s the same thing I did in the Pure division, when I changed from the television division to the Pure division a few months ago. I built my way back up, I climbed the ladder in record speed and it culminated in me facing Jonathan Gresham for the Pure Title at 19th Anniversary, so in the TV division, I plan on doing the exact same thing and rapidly climbing the ladder,” Draper said, “and that starts with Eli.”
“Eli and I are, I feel like we both have a similar perception at Ring of Honor, in where our ceiling is, where we are both viewed as guys that have limitless potential, and that are both viewed at the very beginning of our journey in ROH. I think people can definitely see that we both have really bright futures there. But the similarities, they do stop eventually,” Draper explained. “Because the way that we carry ourselves, I am a winner. I want to be winning. I want to be doing well. If I’m not doing well, I’m gonna make a change. Hence my change from the Pure division to the Television division. I’m always trying to set myself up for success. And I don’t know if Eli reaches out and grabs things as much as I do like that. So that’s what I think is really gonna set us apart, and of course besides like the size difference because I’m obviously much bigger and stronger than Eli.”
Dak Draper sees his jump to the Television division as a promise unkept, pointing to his unsuccessful bid to dethrone then-champion Dragon Lee for the title at Gateway To Honor last year. While it was the last event with fans before the pandemic and a lot has transpired since then, Draper says it now feels like he’s making good on that promise.
“And so this gives me new life there, it gives me a new chance to try and pull my way back up to that. And the TV division, it has louder characters. If you look at guys in the Television division, you have guys like Brian Johnson, even Dragon Lee, he’s an in-your-face guy. You have Danhausen, it’s a lot more, I would say, it’s a lot more maybe eccentric than the Pure division. And I think I’m a guy that I’ve shown that I can go in the Pure division, I can go with these guys that are the best technical wrestlers in the world. But I can also go and be entertaining with these guys that are some of the most entertaining wrestlers in the world, so I’m excited to continue to show that I’m almost like a Swiss Army knife,” Draper proclaimed. “Maybe like a Swiss army chainsaw, a little nicer than a knife.”
Strong words…from a strong man https://t.co/4C4Lly917G
— Dak Draper (@MileHighMagnum) April 23, 2021
Draper spoke in more detail about his loss to Dragon Lee in last year’s TV title match, noting that losing the match might have actually been a blessing in disguise. Explaining that the loss led him to change some things in his ring work and prep, he says he might not have switched things up if he was champion and is almost thankful for how things worked out.
“I’ve been having people put wrestling workouts for me together when I train in the ring, so I feel like my ring work’s better than it’s ever been. Because I’ve sought help from elsewhere, and that’s something I used to not do. I used to not seek help. I used to think that I knew it all. I know a lot but I don’t know it all. So it’s helped me a lot and I guess it hurts to say humbling myself in order to seek help from elsewhere. And I think that’s something that going into the pandemic has really helped me with. And if I had won the match versus Dragon Lee, if I’d gone into the pandemic as the Ring of Honor Television Champion, I don’t think that I would have tried to make those changes.”
“So it was probably a really good thing that my last match in Ring of Honor before the pandemic started, before I had to just sit there at home for months and months and months, and stew on something, that I wasn’t sitting there looking at a title and thinking about how great I did. It was probably a really good thing for me that I had to retool and really focus on my weaknesses. As much as it hurts to say, I’m kind of thankful for the loss to Dragon Lee.”
Dak Draper’s match with Eli Isom airs tonight on the FITE broadcast of Ring Of Honor TV.