“The Pope” openly discussed his wrestling career in WWE and TNA, as well as his boxing background. Burke elaborates on what was going through his head when Vince McMahon personally selected him as the “new face of ECW” and being handpicked as a member of the Spirit Squad.
Here are many of the highlights of the detailed interview with Elijah Burke:
How he transitioned from wrestling to commentating for TNA IMPACT:
I think a lot of people know that when you are a wrestler and you’ve been doing it for twelve years as an active performer and then all of a sudden things kind of take a shift and the stars align and someone recognizes that your gift can be used in a different aspect. It’s been interesting and it’s been fun. It’s a different type of getting over with the audience. My job right now is to get over a lot of the guys that I’ve wrestled against and I’ve wrestled beside and the transition has been believe it or not, quite easy. It hasn’t been as hard of a transition as many people probably think it would be because the gift of gab is something that I always had.
How he uses his natural ability behind the microphone, and what he brings to TNA Impact’s announce team:
The night before WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field “Pope” was at an ESPN boxing presentation and was calling the fight alongside Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and once that was over with he looked at me and said how long have you been doing this? When it comes from an analytic stand point it’s not hard at all. What’s hard is the time provided to do so. That is sometimes rough because there is so much that is going on and obviously IMPACT is a fast paced show and often times my partner Josh Mathews who is a jack of all trades and doesn’t get a lot of credit for it but he has so much that he has to cover and so much that he has to get done and you may notice this but throughout the contest when Josh is talking this or that, the Pope has made it my job to bring the action and the focal point back to the two or four people that are in the middle of that ring because that is what wrestling fans want and what wrestling fans are watching so therefore I try to do the boys and the girls credit while they are in that six sided ring.
Why does “Pope” prefer to call matches through the eyes of the viewer and not knowing finishes:
That’s the way “Pope” prefers it. I prefer not to know anything. Therefore, if I am seeing it and looking at it from a fan’s perspective then I can respond and react and say what you are thinking as a casual or regular viewer of the product. That’s what I love to do as a commentator for IMPACT Wrestling, I love to give the focal analysis that the viewer at home is watching as well. I want to translate as my Daddy would say “let me break this down in English so that a child could understand it”. For me it’s always easier and comes across natural, if you know that often times you can tell if something is forced or when a reaction is not a legit or real reaction. Everything that you get from “Pope” is not planned and is real and I’m watching it as if I’m sitting at home on my couch with a good friend of mine and we are back in 1996 watching WCW Nitro and Monday Night RAW.