Eli Drake is the Best Sports Entertainer and You’d be a Dummy to Think Otherwise
He’s become a lot more than just the namer of dummies
Wrestling is a complicated business, and trying to find the perfect balance between a great entertainer and great wrestler is one subject that fans debate for days to years to decades.
Are you a Shawn Michaels guy or are you a Bret Hart guy? Are you into the sports entertainment or are you into wrestling? Today’s trendy comparison would be AJ Styles or Nakamura. We’re enamored by the charismatic flair and charm, or the athleticism and execution.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to who provides the greatest spectacle. All the names above provide a level of awe and lore to their matches and stories.
I want to focus on the entertainers, because who is the best entertainer in the wrestling business is a completely different question than who is the best wrestler?
If I was looking for promos or segments in the WWE, I’m looking to Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, or The Miz. Since the WWE is such a segment and promo dominated show, it’s easy to say this trio is your top talkers in the industry.
But none of them are #1. Jericho, Owens, and Miz are all great in their own right on the mic, but they’re no Eli Drake.
Yes, Impact Wrestling’s Eli Drake is the best entertainer in pro wrestling based upon consistent quality and entertainment value. If WWE creative was actually creative, then Drake would have some more game competition, but it’s not Impact Wrestling’s structure that props Drake up.
Eli Drake has charisma that one simply cannot buy, so put away your credit card Finn Balor. Drake has the gift of gab, the ability to work the crowd, and he embodies his ego and physique and translates it in the ring.
There’s nothing more important in sports entertainment than being quotable. I talked about Jericho’s ability last year to work off a playlist of phrases he had been developing over the last year.
“The List of Jericho”, “IT”, “drink it in maaaan”, “stupid idiot”. Whenever Jericho was cutting a promo, the crowd would be on the edge of their seat in anticipation for Jericho to drop a line. Jericho never had to force it, in fact, he kept using his lines in new ways.
Drake is now building his own lineage of catchphrases and he’s just as quotable hilarious.
“That’s not an insult, that is just a fact of life.”
“Let me talk to ya!”
He turned his own name into a sing-a-long. He says, “yea” with his own unique intonation he might as well have the word copy-written for himself. It’s absolute genius.
A lot of wrestling fans point to The Rock when describing Eli Drake’s persona, which is the best comparison one would want.
Looking at his body of work over the last year, there are many parallels to be made between Jericho and Drake in how each uses their catchphrases, and how they take over segments. Especially as a heel, the Impact fans love Drake even as they boo him.
The overall persona is where Drake is most similar to The Rock of the late 90’s. The super cocky arrogant, brash, confident, smooth talker with large biceps and a short haircut. The mannerisms hearken to Rock as well where Drake is fluid with his facial expressions, vocal inflections, and how he uses his arms and hands to accentuate his words.
There’s a lot of hidden dynamics to what makes the best talkers in the wrestling industry. The more natural the promo comes off, the better the entertainer is. Wrestlers are playing characters, they’re actors, so acting is a primary function to their success.
The creative freedom of Impact definitely propels Drake’s character. I would venture to say that talents have more say in how they deliver a script in Impact versus in the WWE where promos don’t come off as natural. When Drake talks, he delivers his lines with a sense of authenticity that makes the fans believe that Drake is convinced by what he’s saying.
Despite Drake being the main champion in Impact, I still feel in my faraway observers perspective that Impact hasn’t gone all in on Drake just yet. When Drake really gets a signature storyline or feud that gets the indie wrestling chat groups to start chirping, then I’ll feel comfortable with saying Drake is an established top guy.
Despite not feeling Impact not being all the way in on Drake, Drake delivers the most consistent quality performances week to week. In other words, I get excited to watch a clip with Eli Drake in it. He rarely misses the mark on a promo, and he never turns off the charisma in any segment. He’s a wrestler that is always present in the moment.
I can only imagine if Drake’s impact on Impact (had to at least once) continues to be profound, the next logical step is a trip to the WWE. If that was to happen, my advice would be a trip straight to the main roster and set him loose for a 5-minute segment a week with an Intercontinental title chase and assessing his draw from there.
But as we know in wrestling, it’s best to enjoy the moment, and right now Eli Drake owns the moment. Impact, despite its reputation, remains the show where superstars can really come into their own. Their lineage is truly incredible.
Any show that gives a 40-plus-year-old Matt Hardy a career rebirth is worth being celebrated. Now we are witnessing a new star in the making. And if you don’t see the talent in Eli Drake, then you’re obviously a dummy.