“The Pope” Elijah Burke recalls turning down a spot in WWE’s Spirit Squad after meeting with Vince McMahon, being the last opponent of Chris Benoit

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with “The Pope” Elijah Burke
Host: JP John Poz
Twitter: @TwoManPowerTrip
Website: www.tmptempire.com
Interview available at Tmptow.podomatic.com

Being Chris Benoit’s last ever match: “Man, being Chris Benoit’s last ever match is a blessing and a curse. In one instance, he was the same Chris that I’ve always known since I’ve been in the WWE and to have that honor of his last match is powerful. But I do think it depends on how you look at it. After the horrific murders that occurred, it’s a curse being his last match. No one ever asks me how the match was, they just ask about the experience of being his last ever match. As far as wrestling him last, I certainly didn’t want be known as the last guy to wrestle Chris Benoit. But I was and for me, it was just a great honor because I do consider him one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. I grew up watching him and became a huge fan of his when he was in WCW. I don’t think you cannot deny his ability and everything that Chris Benoit was in the ring. He was definitely a hall of fame talent and that can’t be taken away from him. As far as me and him, like I said it’s a blessing and a curse being his last match.”

Rumors of his involvement in the original Spirit Squad in 2005: “It’s funny that after all these years, over a decade and only this year I believe I’m answering questions about the Spirit Squad. It’s very true. They wanted me to go up and be, in my opinion, the “afro-haired chosen black guy” during that time in the group and, trust me, it was a great opportunity. We sat there and we talked to Vince McMahon himself and Vince said, ‘I want you guys to understand that this is my idea and we are going to make a lot of money.’ He said if you are uncomfortable, we will send you back down to OVW and we will wait until we get something else for you. I went to Vince and Johnny Ace and said I appreciated the opportunity, but with all due respect I don’t feel like I should do anything that I could not live up to in your standards, and I don’t want to be a failure and I don’t believe this spot is for me.

“I was a little worried that I was about to tell the boss that I didn’t want to do it. Either he was going to respect me for it or he was going to punish me for it. A lot of guys took it to heart that I said no, which I never understood because they weren’t in my position or in my shoes, and the guys that were going out there were very, very talented and thus when I said no, they added Mike Mondo and they added Johnny Jeter and instead of it being four like it was originally going to be, it turned out to be five. There was no way that this ‘big black guy’ and 225-230 pounds at the time was going to be running down a ramp, jumping on a trampoline and flipping over the top rope. It was just not going to happen without me screwing up and looking like a fool. I didn’t want to take that chance, I didn’t want to risk that chance and I am happy that I did and kudos to Dolph Ziggler. Just look at him. In my eyes, the guy is just a premier performer.”

Other topics include The NWA, becoming the “face of ECW”, being OVW Champion, teaming with Sylvester Turkay, The New Breed, WrestleMania 23, his first run with TNA, his boxing background, and more.

You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan, Pro Wrestling 101 with Justin Credible and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell.


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