Elias is currently enjoying a push to the main event scene on Monday Night RAW. He draws a solid reaction from the WWE Universe, but that wasn't always the case. Elias spoke to Edge and Christian on E & C's Pod of Awesomeness about previously feeling frustrated with his character.
"There definitely were times that I had issues, but when I first started doing the Drifter in NXT, I remember I just wanted to sit in the back turnbuckle corner and strum the guitar," he said "I thought that would have been the coolest thing; I wouldn't have to sing or say anything I kind of thought that it would be mysterious and cool."
Elias said he was approached with the idea of singing a song that would insult the crowd. He started doing it at live events and it was well-received by the fans. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to do it on NXT television, but he was given the freedom to perform once he was called up to the main roster.
"One time I went to Largo, Florida and Terry Taylor came up to me and asked if I could sing a song tonight and I said, 'OK, about what?' He said that I should sing about the crowd," Elias explained. "I came up with a song that night and the song kind of clicked right off the bat, so I evolved it from there. I started asking, at the time, 'Who wants to walk with The Drifter?' I would then tell a little story; it all really started at NXT, even though the NXT audience didn't really get to see that side of me too much; the live events crowd definitely did see that."
Elias said he knew he would find success on the main roster after getting some advice from Triple H. He said he didn't get the chance to make it work on NXT, but he was able to bring what he did on the live events to Monday Night RAW.
"Triple H has told me specifically from the very first time when he saw me, he said that it would be a better main roster character than NXT. It never really clicked with the NXT audience the way it has. The way I see it, I took my live event act in NXT and brought it to the main roster," he said. "They saw the live event act and said let's put that on TV. On NXT, I would sing songs, but wouldn't even do that, plus it was very dark and cryptic, but this is the kind of stuff I was doing on live events in NXT before being called up."
Elias also discussed the differences between WWE audiences and NXT audiences. He said he hoped to get the chance to impress the NXT crowd because it consists of more hardcore fans. Unfortunately, he was never able to wrestle a match on NXT TakeOver.
"Since I was an independent wrestler, you always wanted to be on Monday Nights, or SmackDowns, PPV's, and all that stuff, but I have to say, when I was in NXT I was absolutely set on that I had to have a TakeOver match, I wanted to be featured on NXT," he said. "Yeah, I know the audience is more of a hardcore based audience, but in my head I believe I could have done that as well, but they had other plans. When I was in NXT I was all in with NXT and wanted to be on all the Take Over events and all that stuff."
Even though he's enjoying the current iteration of his character, Elias said he won't be sticking with this gimmick for the rest of his career. He said he sees himself evolving over time because he believes there are a lot of directions he can take the character.
"I definitely see my character evolving. I don't want it to run until the wheels fall off. I am definitely going to get the most out of this incarnation of it, then hopefully whatever the crowd reacts to it, and storylines take me there are many levels," he said. "Think about just any kind of rockstar who has had a journey; they have their ups and downs, their egos and demands and then they hit rock bottom. There's a million ways to go with 'Elias,' in my mind I see it evolving in many different ways."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit E & C's Pod of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.