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Former WWE, ECW and TNA star and in his first public interview since his departure from TNA “The Pope” Elijah Burke joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday Night. In a nearly 45 minute interview, he discussed his ‘Pope’ character in WWE and what it almost was, what he’d do to the Pope Mobile if elected by the cardinals, how the Pope character came about in TNA, the person he had the most fun in ring with, what he thought of Bischoff and Hogan coming into TNA, his appearances on Ghost Hunters and in Django Unchained and The Dark Knight Rises, his amateur boxing career and if any of that made its way into the ring, performing at WrestleMania within his first two years in the business and much more.
Listen To Elijah Burke On Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Here (.MP3)
Here are some highlights of what Elijah Burke said about:
How the Pope character was planned to have looked like in WWE: “That’s why the Pope in TNA looked the way it did. When the Pope idea originally surfaced in the WWE, that’s what they wanted; you know, the plan was to have the Pope in a big hat and a staff and all that other stuff but much like with everything in today’s world, you have to modernize it and you can’t stay where you once were. You just kind of have to move forward, you kind of have to tweak things and that’s what I wanted to do with the Pope character; I wanted to make it something different and something unique. I didn’t want to come out in a big hat and I didn’t want to come out with a staff. But Daddy, if the Pope was selected today to be the official bishop of Rome, then a lot of things would change and the first thing I’d do to the Popemobile is put some spinners on it, put some tinted windows on there and put two chicks on each side of me.”
Who creatively came up with the character of ‘The Pope’ in TNA: “Everything that you saw about the Pope, and notice I said the Pope and not D’Angelo Dinero; everything you saw about the Pope was Elijah Burke. It was Elijah Burke turned up, it was something I wanted to bring to the table during my last days with the WWE and it just didn’t pan out so when I got into TNA and we had our creative talks and whatnot, they were going to debut me as Elijah Burke. They were going to bring me in under my regular name of Elijah Burke and I told Russo ‘Hey Russo, I want to do… here’s my Pope character and if you guys like it, it’s what I want to do’. So, basically it was me and Russo and I showed Russo this 5-minute vignette that I can’t for the life of me figure out what I did with it, maybe they kept it. But I did that; I showed Russo, he went into the office, came back out and was like ‘Holy crap, bro, I’m telling you; forget Elijah Burke. You have to do this character. You have to do it; I already have the perfect name for it: D’Angelo Dinero, Money man. Cause that’s what the Pope is, Money.’ And that’s what we went with.”
Who he enjoyed working with the best in TNA: “The most fun I had in the ring in TNA was with AJ Styles. But, on a scientific wrestling level, I loved working with Wolfie (Nigel McGuinness aka Desmond Wolfe in TNA); I call him Wolfie. By Desmond was very unique and so I really did enjoy working with him, and personally and professionally I just enjoyed him; we didn’t have much time outside of the ring together or anything like that but, man, when I found out that I was working him, it was essentially a night. It was fun and it was a learning experience because he was so crafty and his background and what he did; where he came from and his unique wrestling ability, and bringing in the English style, it was something I didn’t get a lot of coming up in this business. I didn’t work a lot of people who had that style, so for me to blend in my in-your-face boxing style, you know the brawling/boxing style with what he does; it was great. I enjoyed it. I was sad when his time was up; I thought me and him should have had a lot more great matches and feuds, but that didn’t happen. But I enjoyed the time I had with him.”
His feelings of Hogan and Bischoff coming into TNA: “Well, you don’t have to use other folks to explain my comments because I’m going to give you what I feel regardless. I do think Bischoff and Hogan coming into the company did what it was supposed to do, and that was to, whether it was negative or positive, it was to bring more attention to the product and when you look at the overall issue, the underlying issue and overall factor, the matter is they did just that. If people are talking about TNA, and regardless of how negatively they talk about the company or how positively they talk about it, they’re still talking about it and in order to bash, and I’m not with TNA so I could care less about trying to be political, but in order to bash TNA, you have to watch TNA. So, as long as you are watching, I guess that’s all that really matters. I mean, people complain all the time; People complain about Monday Night RAW all the time, but guess what, in order to complain they have to watch. SO, as long as you’re watching, Vince McMahon will say ‘I’m going to feed you what you want and you’re going to like it.’ And he said that on TV, and guess what; people keep coming back. So, it is what it is on that issue.”
His WrestleMania match with the New Breed vs the ECW Originals: “I remember the match, obviously, I can’t forget it because it was my first WrestleMania appearance; I did appear at WrestleMania 24, but that was in the battle royale they happened to put on the pre-show and I believe that was going to be a part of the pay per view itself, to have the winner face the (ECW) Champion, which was Chavo Guerrero at the time. But I hate to say that match doesn’t matter, work wise the match means a lot because it was WrestleMania nut we didn’t get a chance to do what we wanted to do or even have time to do anything with 8 guys. But it’s the match that happened on ECW following WrestleMania, on ECW’s telecast, where we had the Extreme Rules match, you know the Old School vs the New Breed. It’s that match that I think all of us are really, really proud of, everybody that participated in that match. I mean, that was when Sabu took the head first through the table from the Elijah Express and tore his neck up. But I think that’s the match we are all proud of because we were able to go out, and it was the main event, and truly work the way we wanted to at WrestleMania. So, we were very proud of that, I think. I know I am.
But for all of us to make it on WrestleMania, we’re extremely proud of that because it’s a milestone and it’s everyone’s goal, well it should be everyone’s goal in this business, to appear or be a part of WrestleMania. I don’t care who you are, if you haven’t made a WrestleMania, you haven’t really lived as a wrestler; that’s the ultimate goal.”
You can follow Elijah “The Pope” on Twitter (@DaBlackPope), through his Facebook (www.facebook.com/elijahburke) or though his homepage (www.theelijahexperience.com) for the latest information on The Pope and his upcoming events, including Pope TV. You can also see Elijah at Pro Wrestling Syndicate’s show on April 4th from Metuchen, NJ where he will face off against fellow ECW and WWE Superstar John Morrison; go to the PWS homepage (bedofnailz.com) for ticketing information, roster of talent involved and possibly internet viewing of the event.
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