Former Impact Wrestling World Champion Eli Drake recently took part in a media conference call to promote Impact Wrestling. During the call, Drake spoke about the importance of character development in the business these days.
"It's lacking, and it's lacking because guys are getting lost in what's actually important. Guys are trying to do cool moves over telling good stories," Drake said. "The bottom line of what we do is entertainment, at the end of the day that's exactly what this is, that's what it's always been, it's never been anything different. So guys are getting into all these comic book moves, which are cool and they have a place, but at some point you got to tell me who you are, and you got to be able to tell a good story."
Drake also spoke about how important it is to draw in casual wrestling fans, pointing out that during the Attitude Era it was a common thing to draw those fans in, but nowadays it's not as easy.
"How do you recapture those people? Not with cool moves, because every week when they came in they were talking about the funny stuff they saw [and] the really good character stuff they saw," Drake said. "It's a matter of entertaining the people, the moves are almost secondary. It's really who are you, what are you doing and how are you doing it, and being able to have a character on top of that.
"If they see a segment like 'This Is Your Life' with The Rock, if they see Ric Flair on the TV telling you about his gators, or if they see Steve Austin," he continued, "people remember quotes, they remember moments, they don't remember moves. So that's what's lost."
When asked for examples of current wrestlers who have done a good job at developing their characters over time, Drake pointed to WWE Superstar Braun Strowman.
"I have seen a little bit of Braun Strowman, not to put over the other company," he said. "But I knew that guy, we started together over in WWE, and I didn't know if was gonna be able to do much or loosen up, but man he's really taken the reins and gotten really good. And hell, that's a guy actually down the road that I'd like to work with, if I'm honest."