Recently, Hooked On Wrestling attended part one of the Bound For Glory Press Pass series, hosted by Impact Wrestling. This week’s focus? Only the Champion and Challenger of the Bound For Glory world championship match; Eric Young and Rich Swann!
Throughout, the two traded verbal blows in response to journalist questions, and if the tensions were already high, they’re at boiling point now, following their first interaction since the Bound For Glory main event was made official.
[To EY] Since you returned at Slammiversary, we’ve seen a viciousness to you that we haven’t seen before. Going into Bound For Glory, is there anything you will not do to retain?
EY: This is me in my purest form. This is my truth. It will take some getting used to, for everyone. I’m the champion, I don’t hide. I tried to show Rich the easy way, but he wouldn’t let me, I don’t know if that’s pride, courage or stupidity but I am going to drag him into the deep water come Bound For Glory. I will take you [Rich] to a place you have not been before. It isn’t a place I visit; it’s a place that I live.
[To Swann] You were retired and on the shelf before your return. What is next for you following BFG if EY does drag you into that deep end and we never see you back in the squared circle?
Swann: I’ll tell you this; win, lose or draw, Eric Young is going to know I was there, and that he was in a fight. If I do lose, I’ll tell you now, this will never be over. He tried to end my career. Eric, you’ll have to do some dastardly things to put me away for good.
[To Swann] How is your ankle injury going to affect your game come Bound For Glory?
Swann: I’m not going to reveal too much about that, but I have been working on a solid game plan. I’ve made it to the main event, and you’ve [Eric] tried to slow me down; my high flying style and my speed, but as you’ve seen; it’s like I’ve not missed a beat. I’ve studied Eric Young, and I have got some tricks up my sleeve.
If you could choose a stipulation for your Championship match, which would you both choose?
Swann: Because this dude tried to break my leg and stop ME from ever walking the right way again, I would choose a Last Man Standing match, because I would love to kick him into a bloody pulp, until HE could not walk anymore.
EY: Last Man Standing sounds like a lot of fun, Rich. I find it funny you think you could beat me to a bloody pulp. You have half the experience, you’re half my size, you’re half the performer. You’re good at what you do Rich, but don’t get it twisted; I am in a very different position here. I am World Class, you haven’t swam in these waters before. Watch what you wish for.
[To EY] How does it feel to be main-eventing BFG after everything you’ve been through with the company?
EY: Bound For Glory is one of the biggest PPVs of Impact! Wrestling history. It’s an honour and I take it seriously, representing the company is a big deal. Pro-wrestling has been my life since I was 3 years old, it became an occupation to me in 1997 and I’m still doing it at the highest level. This is me at my most powerful, being the World Champion signifies that and I have no plans to relinquish any of this. Rich said earlier I’d have to do something dastardly to keep him down? Look into my eyes.
[To Swann] You’ve had quite the run in Impact! Since you signed a few years ago; championship reigns, entertaining rivalries, now you’re headlining PPVs. What has the last two years meant for you and your career?
Swann: The last two years for me in Impact! Wrestling has definitely been a recharge. As everyone knows, before Impact!, I was retired and having some downtime and then they brought me back. Since them, I’ve taken opportunity after opportunity and am very grateful. With this BFG opportunity against EY, I am going to SEIZE it.
[To EY] It’s been some time since Slammiversary. Looking back from the events of the match between you and Rich, was your attack on him personal or was he in the wrong place at the wrong time?
EY: I’ll be the first to admit, I underestimated Rich, but I don’t often make mistakes twice. It was never personal for me, I was clear with my intentions and warnings. Unfortunately Rich had to learn the hard way. As did Eddie. As did his wife. As did Tommy Dreamer. The list goes on and on, for anybody who tries to stand in my way. Rich wants to make this personal; this is business. If you want to make it personal, you will see a side of me that you are not prepared for.
Swann: So losing, throwing a temper tantrum and trying to break somebody’s leg is business?
EY: It’s business.
With you both having competed in the ring for so long, who would either of you say your most formidable opponent is, and how does your BFG opponent compare?
Swann: I’ve dealt with these ‘crazy maniacs’ before, for me it’s Sami Callahan for sure. He has that same style, which is why when Eric Young hooked me for the piledriver at Slammiversary, I said to myself “Oh! Wait a minute, I’ve been down this road before”, so I switched it and got him in that s m a l l p a c k a g e, you know what I’m saying? I got that 123. So Eric, best not be going to do any piledrivers baby, coz you know imma get out of that.
EY: Maybe it’s the piledriver. Maybe it’s the Black Hole. I’ll take your foot home with me Rich.
The truth is I’ve been doing this 23 years. I’ve shared the ring with Sting, beaten Kurt Angle, taken Bobby Roode up and down the mountain side. I’ve wrestled Bobby Lashley, I’ve wrestled everyone. For me, there is no comparison between these guys and Rich. [To Swann] You wrestling Sami Callahan does nothing to prepare you for what’s next.
The rivalry between you two and the lead-up to the Bound For Glory main event is the most personal thing we’ve seen on Impact! This year so far, what can we expect to see from you on October 24th?
Swann: You’ll see the most aggressive side of me you have ever seen in my professional wrestling career, because I know that Eric Young is a maniac, I know that he is no joke. He’s not the guy he used to be, dancing around with ODB, winning the Knockouts title. He’s the guy I’m going to take seriously, and I’m taking him as serious as a heart attack.
EY: Whatever it takes. A lot of people say that, but I have shown it. I won’t be distracted. My goal is to be the longest reigning world champion in Impact! Wrestling history.
[To EY] You’ve discussed longevity, who inspires you when it comes to longevity and reinventing yourself?
EY: I don’t know if many people set out for longevity when they start out, but when you sign your first contract after setting out to be a professional wrestler, I think longevity becomes the goal. I want to do this for as long as possible. I’ve always promised myself that if I couldn’t deliver at 110% then I wouldn’t do it, and that’s because I love professional wrestling and I respect it with every fibre of my being. I won’t drag myself around.
I’ve been on TV every week for 26 years almost, I don’t think a lot of people can say that. But I’ve remained passionate. Terry Funk got asked why he was still relevant at like 55 when main eventing an ECW PPV against Stevie Richards, and his answer has always stuck with me and resonated with me. He said ‘Terry Funk is always going to be Terry Funk, but the wrestling industry changes daily. If I don’t change with it, I die.’ and I’ve always thought that way. Wrestling is very different from what it was even five years ago, and there’s a lot I don’t agree with or like. I believe in a certain type of wrestling, but it does change everyday. I try to stay true to what I believe good wrestling is.
I’m not sure if Eric is aware of some of the fantastic things Rich has accomplished during his time with Impact! Wrestling, so Eric, do you think you might be underestimating Rich a bit?
EY: No, I’m well aware of Rich’s success. The truth is, going into Slammiversary I was aware of who Rich was. We’ve crossed paths before. But I’ve been Rich Swann. I’ve been that guy, the fun loving guy. I’ve mutated into something better and purer. Because of my time in the wrestling business, I understand things he can’t.
I don’t take him lightly, he’s a great athlete, but he won’t do what I’m willing to do, he cares too much. I’m in a different category, you can’t prepare for me, I don’t know what I’m going to do so how can you prepare for that? I can prepare for Rich because I’ve been Rich. The goofy idiot. I know him.
Swann: You are underestimating me. Several times, you’ve said ‘he isn’t willing to go as far as me’. The doctor once told me, ‘you’re not going to be able to do what you love anymore’. Guess what? I busted my ass and I am willing to do anything. Nobody can say or do anything when I come for you.
Don’t miss the showdown between the wiley Impact! Wrestling World Champion Eric Young and the energetic challenger Rich Swann at Bound For Glory on October 24th. Order now at FITE TV.
Watch Impact! Wrestling every Tuesday on AXS TV at 8/7c (1AM UK time)
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