WWE officials are interested in bringing current TNA star Eli Drake (Shaun Ricker) back into the company, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Ricker worked WWE dark matches in 2006 and 2008 but was later signed to the WWE Performance Center in May 2013. He made it to WWE NXT as Slate Randall but was released in August 2014.
The obvious issue here would be Ricker’s contract status with TNA. Dixie Carter announced back in May of this year that they had signed Drake to a new deal but the length of that contract was not revealed. Drake first started working with TNA in February 2015 and has held the King of the Mountain Title.
There were high hopes for Ricker coming into WWE back in 2013 after he appeared on TNT’s reality TV show “The Hero,” which was hosted by The Rock. His release came with a handful of other developmental talents, reportedly due to budget cuts, but it was said that his departure was different as it had little to do with the budget. Ricker had the charisma WWE wanted and he was progressing better but there were some issues with his Twitter use and an e-mail he sent while with the company. Exact, confirmed details on that e-mail were never revealed but it was said to have buried him with officials, who also weren’t happy about some of his tweets.
Drake spoke with Pancakes & Powerslams in June 2015 and talked about WWE blacklisting him. He said:
“I was on the black list there for a while. One of the guys who used to work in Talent Relations – I’ll leave him nameless – he got fired around early 2012, apparently not very liked in the back anyway; I guess he was kind of a jerk to a lot of people, for whatever reason, would bury me in the office. So I was kind of just, nobody could touch me; nobody would touch me. So for a lot of years it was frustration and wondering what I’m working toward and why isn’t these guys taking my calls. And I finally started getting some of the details of why this guy was burying me. There was talk of them picking me up in 2011, I was there for SummerSlam, and then and the follow-up Raw and SmackDown, and everything went incredibly well. But all of a sudden it was like radio silence on their end and I hadn’t quite understood why until I spoke to this person, and he was like, “Well, we’re gonna go in a different direction.” I’m like, “OK?” and he’s like, “You can check out Ring of Honor or TNA or whatever.””So I think maybe five months after I had spoken to him on the phone, he’d gotten fired, which was a great day for me. I don’t wanna see anyone lose their job, but if you’ve keeping me out of a job, here’s to ya. So, I was more than happy to see him go. And so this new guy comes in, and the beauty of it is that with the footage I had from (Championship Wrestling from Hollywood), I would take some of this great-looking television footage that was on every week and put it together with a short little paragraph just introducing myself and a resume and some photos. Emailed it to this guy and he immediately responded to me and was interested but then found out that I was on this blacklist or whatever. So for the next few months I had to just wait and keep trying to establish this rapport. Eventually, these tryouts kept getting pushed off. First he offered me a tryout until he found out that I was on the blacklist. Then, a few months later I got offered a tryout but simultaneously, I also was offered a TNA tryout. So, my TNA tryout was on a Thursday and my WWE tryout was actually that following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I was ecstatic because I have the two biggest companies vying for me and it’s perfect. Thursday I go into Impact and that goes well, then Sunday I get an email and I’m told that I can’t come to the (WWE) tryout. They couldn’t say why, but I’m pretty certain it was because there was a lawsuit going on between TNA and WWE at the time.”