One of the biggest surprises of 2017 has been the rise of Elias. He spoke to Stone Cold on The Steve Austin Show about how he's enjoying his time on the main roster.
After going through multiple gimmicks in NXT, Elias found his footing on the main roster and has become one of RAW's top heels. He consistently generates a ton of heat for his pre-match songs. He said he enjoys having creative freedom with his character because it's similar to what he did while performing at live events in NXT.
"I have no complaints. As far as Monday Night Raw goes, I am given an incredible amount of freedom with who I am, what I do with the ring, what i do with the guitar, what I say in my promos and I know i don't take that for granted one second," Elias said. "I swear I showed up to Monday Night Raw, and the kind of stuff I do on Monday Night Raw I didn't do at NXT, but what I do on Monday Night Raw I would do on the live events all year. Introduce myself, share a little story, sing a song about the town, or whatever is going through my head. It's almost like they took my live event stuff and let's put it on TV, which is exactly what I do. The same thing you see me do on TV I do some kind of version of that I switch it up depending on what I am feeling that night. I like it, and hoping that I am on an upward progression and doing what I can to work my way up."
Elias received a lot of praise for his match with Roman Reigns on RAW a few weeks ago. Even though he came up short while challenging for the Intercontinental Championship, he was able to showcase his in-ring abilities and fans took notice of just how good he is. He said he enjoyed working with Reigns and he respects that he's the top superstar in the company.
"He's in the position that he is in for a reason. The fans, I understand their reaction for him, but they are reacting for him, big time everytime he goes out there for him," Elias said. "He is the big dog and I felt that way when I was in the ring with him. He is cool to work with; smooth, and he isn't panicked or rushing over anything. You just feel it as soon as you get in there. Together, our styles came together nicely I thought."
Elias said he relished the opportunity to be in a high-profile position and work a lengthy match. He said he's ready for more big-time matches and he hopes the company gives him the chance to perform on the big stage.
"I don't get nervous facing him, but I do understand what is going on; they are giving me 20 minutes with their main guy, but also, I have been thinking about this my whole life. I have been wanting this my whole life, and been wanting this spot my whole life, so to me it's just time to do this," he said. "I don't mean to come off sounding like a big shot, but it's the truth. I have been watching wrestling since I was a kid, and have wanted to wrestle at WrestleMania in big matches, so I don't think nervous is the word, but I am definitely excited about what is going on."
When asked about his favorite wrestler of all time, Elias named Shawn Michaels. He had the opportunity to meet Michaels over 15 years ago, then it came full-circle for him when Michaels trained him while he was in NXT.
"Shawn Michaels was of course my all time favorite. Everyone says it's Shawn Michaels. Right around the time he won the belt at WrestleMania 12 was like my--not sure how to describe it, but my youth was right around that time and here he was living out his boyhood dream. Shawn Michaels always stuck with me where always thought he was awesome," he said. "I remember meeting Shawn when I was 15-16 years old thinking to myself what I am going to say to him when I meet Shawn Michaels. That would be the time for me to be nervous is when I would meet him and I thought all day about what to tell him. I went up to him and said that it was nice to meet him and that he inspired me to want to be a professional wrestler. I felt great about it and he said to me thanks. Sure enough, 15 years later he is teaching me at NXT right before i get called up to Monday Night Raw because he was down there training guys at NXT."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.