In 2005 Eric Young took part in TNA's first annual Bound for Glory pay-per-view event, competing in a six-man tag match with Team Canada early on the card. Fast forward 15 and a lot has changed for both Young and the company. TNA has changed names (now Impact Wrestling), networks and leadership regimes numerous times, while Young now finds himself at the very top of the card as Impact World Champion after being released by WWE back in April. "The World Class Maniac" will defend his title at the 16th annual Bound for Glory pay-per-view this Saturday, and sat down with ComicBook to discuss the match and his career overall.
Young has played quite a few roles in his years in Impact, from plucky underdog to cape-wearing superhero to faction-leading villain. But the role he's in now is the one he's always wanted.
"It's a very cool position to be in and getting into wrestling all you ever want to do, I mean all I ever really wanted to do, was to be involved in some way, but when a company trusts you to be the flag bearer and be the person to carry the show and carry the heavy responsibility of being World Champion, it's a great feeling," Young said. "It's something I take deadly serious and something that I've always wanted and craved. So it's two-fold. It's a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility, but that's what I've always wanted in pro wrestling."
Young made his surprise return to Impact at the Slammiversary pay-per-view back in July and quickly showed off a more sadistic side by attacking Rich Swann's previously-injured knee with a steel chair. He won the Impact World Championship from Eddie Edwards at the start of September and will defend it against Swann at Bound for Glory.
"It is an extension of myself," Young said of his new persona. "It is not who I am, but it is an extension of things that I think, things that I feel, and I feel that form of art is always the best. And I'm going to use the term, art, loosely, but to me, pro wrestling is a form of art because the reality is it's created from start to finish in a creative mindset and none of it is set in stone."
In the mid-2000s Impact rose the ranks to become the No. 2 pro wrestling promotion in the United States, and by 2010 they even attempted to directly compete with WWE on Monday nights. But a long string of questionable booking decisions under previous leadership drove away a sizable chunk of the audience, which the current product is slowly regaining. Young had a message for any former fan who tuned out years ago.
"I would say to them is, think back to what you liked about it when you first started watching it," Young said. "Fans that were Impact fans or TNA fans, and then they fell out of love for the product. The problem was, in my opinion, is the product was so busy trying to be something it wasn't. It was trying to be the WWE and was too busy trying to attract people that aren't wrestling fans. Look, for a television show that's how you grow in number, that's how you do big business. What I would say to people that loved it then is I believe that you will love it now. And for people that haven't seen it, or haven't given it a chance, or they've heard terrible things about TNA or terrible things about AXS or Impact, tune in on Tuesday and just give it a watch because this is a pro wrestling show written and performed by professional wrestlers. That's who it's for."
Impact Wrestling's Bound for Glory will take place this Saturday live on pay-per-view. Check out the full card for the show below:
- Impact World Championship: Eric Young vs. Rich Swann
- Impact Women's World Championship: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Kylie Rae
- Impact World Tag Team Championships: Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Good Brothers vs. The North vs. Ace Austin and Madman Fulton
- Impact X Division Championship: Rohit Raju vs. Chris Bey vs. Jordynne Grace vs. TJP vs. Trey Miguel vs. Willie Mack (Scramble Match)
- EC3 vs. Moose
- Eddie Edwards vs. Ken Shamrock
- Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match: Rhino, Acey Romero, Alisha Edwards, Cody Deaner, Brian Myers, Havok, Heath, Larry D, Taya Valkyrie, Tenille Dashwood, Tommy Dreamer, Hernandez, TBD