“The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero Interview: “I’ve pushed myself to the top!”

D'Angelo Dinero

D'Angelo Dinero

TNA WRESTLING star The Pope has promised his congregation something his Catholic namesake never could — a world heavyweight championship.  The grappler, real name Elijah Burke, has turned himself from WWE mid-carder into a main event talent in TNA.

And, in an exclusive interview with SunSport, he insists it is all down to his own hard work rather than any push being given to him.

Pope told us: “I’ve never had a push, that’s an overused word. “I wasn’t like Goldberg, Stone Cold or The Rock being thrown full throttle into things, by beating record numbers of guys, 3:16 spouting or turning heel.

“I wasn’t pushed by TNA, I was given an opportunity. I took my opportunity and ran with it. My push was coming, but I got there first.

“And The Pope is going to be the next TNA world heavyweight champion. I promise you that.”

Despite spending two years on WWE television, The Pope is a rare case of someone who is now more famous for their exploits in TNA.

He even wrestles alongside his hero Sting at the Bound For Glory PPV, which is broadcast in the UK this Friday on the Extreme Sports Channel.

So we asked whether he considered himself a TNA original, such as AJ Styles, or a former WWE star moving on to pastures new.

He replied: “The Pope arrived in TNA and he is more popular, bigger, better and higher profile than Elijah Burke ever was.

“So yeah I am a TNA original, I consider myself that and know my congregation do too. I’m a TNA original alright.”

Speaking about his BFG team-mate, the star added: “When I was in the WWE I longed to meet Sting and now I’m in the locker room with him it’s a dream come true. He has a unique ability to entertain a crowd.

“Sting is the reason I watched TNA in the first place, he is an inspiration.

“Down the line, he would be the dream opponent for me. I think he needs that something in a foe to motivate him and create a fire inside of him.

“He is at his best when he is having fun, and at this stage of his career you can see he does that. You see the best of Sting when he is enjoying being in the ring.

“Ric Flair is the same, even when he is talking as ‘crazy Ric’, he is totally entertaining and you have to watch him.

“TNA’s locker room is a humbling place, I appreciate these legends. I remember coming in off 12 hour shifts to watch these guys on WCW and I always dreamed to work for WCW.

“It went bust and I didn’t, but now I’m in TNA with them and it’s amazing to remember watching Sting being beaten up by the Horsemen or Flair cutting a classic promo.

“And now I’m there in the ring meeting Hogan and he’s calling my congregation and using my moves instead of cupping his ear. It’s unbelievable really.”

Pope also promised that he’ll be following his namesake over to the UK, as part of TNA’s Maximum iMPACT! Tour in January.

He told us: “My Congregation needs me. People need educating that ONLY when I make it to the UK next year, will The Pope really have arrived.”
Bound For Glory, TNA’s biggest event of the year, will air in the UK on the Extreme Sports Channel (Sky 419 and Virgin Media 527) on Friday from 10pm.


About Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan is a longtime wrestling fan and Owner/Editor of TNA UK . Also a contributing writer to a number of other online wrestling media including 1Wrestling.com, Wrestle Zone UK & Lords of Pain.

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