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Eli Drake thinks he ‘got worse’ training at WWE Performance Center

Eli Drake revealed that the training drills used at the WWE Performance Center made him worse at wrestling.

Speaking to, Drake says that the coaches were instructed to ask the wrestlers to do drills consisting of in-ring training all day, and they rarely had a practice match at the Center.

“I’ll be honest. I think with the way that they ran it then, I hear it’s different now, I think with the way they ran it then, I actually got worse. And that’s not any kind of a dig at the coaches. The coaches were wonderful and pretty much just doing what they were ordered to do. But we pretty just did drills all day. The three hours of in-ring training, we never really had matches. It was just depending on who your coach was, it was different drills. And I can recall a few of us asking, ‘Hey. Can we just do matches on the fly. Like pair a couple of us up, and we can just have a three-minute or five-minute match. Or we can just call everything on the fly, and nothing’s thought out. Let’s just go and get into the habit on working on those mechanics of having to call some of that stuff.’ ‘Well no. People are going to get injured or whatever.’ I’m like, ‘People are getting injured doing the drills anyway. What’s the difference? Why not get those reps in?’

Drake says that a lot of people would agree with him on this. He explains that doing those drills every day made their ringwork sloppy and they ‘almost lost’ how to do a match. He does clear it up that he isn’t blaming the coaches because they were just doing what they were told to do. Drake adds that in the end, the experience wasn’t a total waste.

So, I feel this way. I know a lot of other people who have felt that way. It felt like you kind of almost lost how to do a match in a certain sense. And again, the coaches were just doing what they were told. And I had a great relationship with all the coaches. […] all the coaches, I was on great terms with them. It was a good experience in the sense of the connections that I made. The only guy really that was a big wall or giant speed bump for me was Bill DeMott, which that’s kind of a regular occurrence it seems. Other than that and him, which pretty much led to my demise, the experience was pretty good for the most part.”

You can listen to the entire interview on the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast below:

  • Keith Learmonth

    I feel like this is why the NXT system is better now. My understanding is that they divide people up based on the areas they need to improve, so you’ll definitely have a lot of people running drills all day, because they need to work on those basics… but you’ll also see promo classes going on, classes on how to work for a camera, and a lot of practice matches too.