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IMPACT legend Eric Young describes wrestling as ‘a drug’ but knows exactly how he’ll retire-Alistair McGeorge-Entertainment – Metro

The veteran is ready for Slammiversary.

IMPACT legend Eric Young describes wrestling as ‘a drug’ but knows exactly how he’ll retire-Alistair McGeorge-Entertainment – Metro

Eric Young is still ‘addicted’ to pro wrestling (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)

IMPACT Wrestling legend Eric Young has described the business as ‘a drug’ as he prepares for a huge match at Slammiversary.

On Sunday, June 19 – exactly 20 years to the day since the launch of TNA Wrestling – the former world champion will compete for that prize in the main event against Josh Alexander, and it’s set to be a very special night.

He exclusively told ‘There’s a lot of emotions. It’s cool, it’s 20 years to the day, June 19th was the first TNA weekly pay-per-view, the very first time anyone saw TNA Wresting.

‘IMPACT, obviously, is a different company run by different people but we use the lineage, we use the title history – and we should.

‘It’s cool, and to be back in the main event at Slammiversary against arguably one of the best wrestlers in the world, a huge opportunity for me. It’s an honour, and I crave that kind of responsibility. It’s what I live for.’

January 2024 will also mark two decades for Young in the industry as a pro, and he’s ‘still addicted’ the thrill of performing – and he’ll keep going until the moment he realises he’s missing a step.

‘Coming through the curtain and performing is something that I’m still in love with. It’s not the best way to say it, but it’s a drug that I’m still addicted to. I’ve always said in my life, as long as I can still do it at a high level, I’ll do it,’ he said.

‘This is a promise to you, a promise to any wrestling fan. The second that I think that I can’t perform, I can’t keep up, or I don’t want to do something because I’m old or I’m hurt – I will walk straight to Scott D’Amore and I’ll retire and you will never see me again.’

The 42-year-old star insisted he will never do ‘anything half-assed’ out of ‘love and respect’ for wrestling.

‘The minute that I feel that I’m not capable of being one of the best in the world – and I am, and I believe that 100% and nobody can tell me any different. And the second I feel that I can’t, I will retire and you will never see me again,’ he insisted.

EY wants to be world champion again (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)

Of course, in wrestling goodbye doesn’t always mean a final farewell, with stars hanging up their boots only to find other roles in the business, whether that’s on-screen or behind the scenes.

‘I don’t know man, I haven’t made that decision. I don’t look that far forward. I think maybe – maybe over time,’ he pondered. ‘I think I’ll be pretty devastated, to be honest.’

Young admitted the production work he’s done backstage gives him a ‘high’ but not on the same level, and he thinks the day he decides to end his in-ring career will make it hard to still be around wrestling as a whole.

Young faces Josh Alexander for the gold this weekend (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)

‘That decision to step away will be very hard for me to deal with, but I will do it,’ he added.’I’ll walk to straight to Scott and tell him. If he wants to still pay me, he can. But, “I’m not coming back” will be my words to him. [Another role] is a possibility, but I think at this juncture it’s probably pretty unlikely.’

Thankfully, fans don’t have to get used to the idea of IMPACT Wrestling – or wrestling in general – without EY just yet, as he’s still at the top of his game and loving life in a rejuvenated IMPACT, which was given a real boost two years ago at Slammiversary when Young returned alongside fresh faces like Heath, Brian Myers, Matt Cardona and The Good Brothers.

The card itself is a nod to the past – even Eric being in the main event is timely, along with the first ever Queen of the Mountain match and a bout featuring IMPACT Originals – while looking to the future, which is an important balance to strike.

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‘We would be fools to ignore that history. Twenty years… I think, if you polled a hundred wrestling fans in 2005, if you asked them “Will this company exist in 2022?”, 80 to 90% of them, probably me included, would have said no,’ he smiled.

‘It’s been close to death on a couple of occasions, but it’s definitely on the upswing… It’s a really exciting time to be a part of something like that.’

While Eric and the other big names that came in two years ago have had an impact – pun intended – plenty of respect has to go to the rising stars, and Scott D’Amore himself for fostering such an environment.

‘Being in the main event, its’s a complete honour and a massive responsibility,’ Young said on a personal note. Nobody watching it will doubt that I will leave everything out there, everything that I have will be left in that ring that night. That’s a one hundred percent guarantee.’

IMPACT Wrestling: Slammiversary airs June 19 at 1am on Fite TV.

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