Webmaster@ForceOfWrestling.com sent along the following:
ForceOfWrestling.Com was honored that ‘The Pope’ D’Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke) took time off of his busy schedule to conduct this interview for you the fans. FOW wishes him well on the next journey of his career, the six sided ring will be no match for the Pope. Enjoy the interview folks.
What first attracted you to pro wrestling and led you to begin watching it?
Watching the NWA with my Dad. Every Sat morning me and my brothers be watching wrestling with him every time it was on. Just seeing how much joy it brought to me and my family, especially my dad. It made me want to return the favor, and bless others with what I felt as a child.
What wrestlers did you idolize growing up? Who was your favorite?
Dusty Rhodes was my favorite. He was the only “Black” wrestler on top at the time that us florida peeps had to look up . Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen.
What do you consider as being your greatest match in this point of your career?
That’s a hard one.
I believe the greatest achievement match would be Mania 23 because of obvious reasons, but my greatest would probably be the triple-threat against Punk and Dreamer.
I was the lone bad guy against the top two good guys and after holding my own against the two, I came out of the match with a ton of respect from peers and fans alike who gave me a standing ovation after the hard-fought contest.
How did you come up with your finisher the Elijah Express?
During my down time, I would still go up and continue to get in the ring at OVW and roll around with the guys, practice and try out new moves. Triple H always did this running knee and Flair had the Knee (Which I pattern my Knee drop after) and so forth. One day I was just thinking of how to be different and thought of doing Double Knees, but it was difficult doing it off the ropes Triple H style. So, I then thought of Double A and Ole’s brutality and how they would take there opponent to the corner, Climb the turnbuckle and with no knee pads (or w/knee pads down) drive there opponents head or arm/shoulder to the mat from out of the corner. The rest is history.
At one point, while you were in OVW, the WWE creative team offered you a spot in the Spirit Squad and you turned it down, what were the main reasons you turned it down? Or did it even happen that way?
Yes, I turned it down. It was not forced upon me but an opportunity for me if I wanted it. I chose not to put myself or career into a situation for the “Right Now Money” as I plan on being around for a while in this business. I knew the Spirit Squad would get a lot of TV time and PPV’s cause Vince said so, it was his idea; But at what cost? A year later, the stench of the SS killed (or hurt) all of their careers. Kudo’s to Dolph Ziggler for working his butt off.
You wrestled Chris Benoit in his last match, and with all the stuff that followed that match and surrounds his death, looking back now, how do you feel about that?
I have no problem talking about Chris because he had (as evidenced by testing his brain) a disease that was undetected at the time.
I remember talking to him, and he would tell me that he forgets a lot of things, and how he would like for me not to be afraid to communicate with him.
Chris was a great guy, and regardless what happened (and I’m still not sold on how everything went down, nor the operation in which it was handled) he loved his family too much to ever knowingly commit such an act.
However, he had a condition that I’ve witnessed older people deal with all the time, being that my mother’s a nurse. And let me tell you, one minute they’re (Alzheimer Patient) telling you to help them, and the next minu te they’re screaming, “Help, there’s a stranger in my room”. So by Chris’ brain being worse than a 80-year-old Alzheimer patient’s, then who knows.
But I loved Chris, and was devastated as he had handpicked me to help elevate to the next level. He called me the day before they say the first “incident” happened to check on me following my back injury when he crashed into my knees during our first and last televised match. Does that sound like a monster to you?
Being a former amateur boxer and being a professional wrestler, what are some of the main differences, which of the two is easier and which one do you prefer?
Well, the big difference first off is that one’s Sports Entertainment and the other is Gladiator Entertainment. Both are very physical and tough on the body and mental state. I obviously prefer wrestling as The Pope don’t like to be hit at unawares if you get my drift!
Any good backstage stories you would like to tell the fans about? Maybe a unique storyline that was meant to be but never happened or something along those lines?
No storylines surprises. Lol. The net makes up enough as it is, but with Pope, what you saw is what you were supposed to get. Seriously, I’ve thought long on this question and can’t come up with nothing for ya. Pope just went to work, had fun, and went to his hotel or wherever his next destination was. Sry
Not too long ago you had a tryout match with TNA, now I’m assuming the reasoning you hadn’t been sign was because of your Michael Jackson (RIP) tickets, is that true or is their another reason and also was their any real difference working in the six sided ring from the four sided ring?
Lol. No. My signing with TNA was about timing and both sides being happy, plain and simple. As for the ring, well for Pope there’s not that much of a difference being that I never did a lot of running, diving, springboards, etc.
Will we see you back in a wrestling ring any time soon? & If so were?
Well, I think we all know the answer to this question by now, don’t we? Keep up with YOUR Pope via Twitter @DaBlackPope and check out the latest news on his forum @ TheElijahExpress.com ~ Pope Has Spoken!