Eli Drake’s Time is Now and that’s just a Fact of Life!

Eli Drake's Time is Now and that's just a Fact of Life - Promo Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling/GFW Twitter (https://twitter.com/IMPACTWRESTLING)

Eli Drake won the GFW Title on last week’s Impact Gauntlet for Gold match and it was a thing of beauty. An unsurprising surprise, if there ever was one.

If you caught Eli Drake’s work in 2016, especially late that year, you knew you were watching something special. A natural you could place into 90s WWF, WCW, and ECW and get the exact same invested reaction from the live crowds. The moment those Facts of Life segments started rolling you knew this was no ordinary run-of-the mill heel. It’s the next game changer in the business. Worthy of being called a home-grown GFW/TNA original and more.

Drake’s talent on the mic feels reminiscent of prime WCW Chris Jericho and WWF’s Corporate Rock. A heel so-good at his job you can’t help but cheer. Even now, on the last episode of Impact, Drake shushed the crowd when they were begging to sing-a-long with the now Champ.

Eli Drake’s GFW Title Win: The Perfect Setup

It all started in pristine fashion, Eli Drake, the dodging take-the-easy way out heel comes to visit new authority figure Jim Cornette. Cornette indulges the seemingly ‘innocent’ request from Drake to change his number to something better than #1 at the Gauntlet match… If he agrees to leave him alone for the rest of the night that is! Drake of course agrees, thrilled his plan seemingly was a success.

In classic wrestling comedy, Cornette changes his number to #2. Which he tells Drake ‘is better than #1’ so there should be no problem. Drake is irate and promises retribution for the act. Foreshadowing in the back of the mind, that hey, this Drake Championship win might actually come to fruition.

We later see former TNA Champ Eddie Edwards in Cornette’s office. In a practical shoot, Cornette recalls a Ring of Honor story at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom where Edwards then with a cast backstage, wrestled a night after breaking his arm.

Cornette tells Edwards how proud he is of him personally, and how proud the company would be with him as Champion. The sentiment feels real and earnest. It’s also a total contrast to the way Cornette spoke to Eli Drake.

The setup is established perfectly with Eddie Edwards as #1 and Eli Drake as #2 to both start the Gauntlet for Gold and end the Gauntlet for Gold.

Then we have the newcomer, Johnny Impact, a major franchise signing for GFW Impact Wrestling. In his debut no less. It appears Johnny Impact is going to take home the gold as many outside superstars before him have upon their entrance to TNA/GFW. A believable narrative and new champion… Yet, instead he’s used brilliantly as a decoy!

Flashback to when Michaels Started the faux non-Rumble Elimnation

Johnny Impact appears to eliminate Drake when in a Shawn Michaels 1996 Royal Rumble style moment, Drake hangs on by a thread. Literally his toes on the bottom rope, his upper body on the floor on the outside.

Drake uses his strength to grab onto the bottom ropes and pull himself back into the ring. While Johnny Impact is setting Edwards up for a move on the middle rope, Drake quickly rushes to interrupt and throws Johnny Impact over the top. The crowd is fully invested now emotionally. Must see TV if you’re a wrestling fan the world over. The crowd favorite Johnny Impact manages to keep himself in the match. Struggling to hold on.

Eli Drake starts Gauntlet for Gold and Ends it with the Win

Drake notices and attempts to finish off Impact with a shoulder tackle/dive when he goes through the middle ropes himself… But it had to be over the top ropes folks! Johnny Impact delivers a kick to Edwards weakening his resilience. Then it happens! Drake pulls Johnny Impact out of the ring from the outside for a fresh take on the Rumble elimination. It’s down the final two.

The babyface whose Cornette story reestablished Edwards as just that. A true 100% face, a wrestler’s wrestler who will go the extra mile for the fans, a flag-bearer for the company… And the cool heel, the dodging, complaining mastermind always looking for the easy route. Usually backfiring in comedic fashion… But not this time! This time Drake starts off the match and closes it with a win.

Eli Drake is your new Global Force Wrestling Champion!

Drake is a true heel out there, the way a heel should be! Just look at the mannerisms in the ‘closing moments’ video above. Trying to use the ropes as a leverage in a pinfall, the shocked face when it doesn’t.

Then the moment of truth finally arrives. Drake catches Edwards off a top rope move attempt powers his way into his finisher and wins, practically cleanly. He’s done exactly what he said out to do.

Not only does this setup a fresh Champion but sets up a story between Cornette/Drake that is guaranteed to be money. Both of them gold on the mic, particularly because they pay attention to the the details. Just look right after referee Earl Hebner raises Drake’s arm to announce him the winner and he shoves him away after enjoying the moment. Those are the seconds that truly make the wrestler. Eli Drake is the real deal.

In commentator Josh Matthews own words, “The Defiant One is the Global Champion”! And that’s just a Fact of Life!

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