Elias was recently a guest on E & C's Pod of Awesomeness. During his conversation with Edge and Christian, he discussed the origins of his character.
Elias said that he began developing a music-based character while working the independent circuit. He had to tweak the gimmick when he got to NXT, and he drew inspiration from one of his favorite television shows. He also received a vote of confidence from the legendary Dusty Rhodes.
"I was on the independent circuit. I had a character called, 'Heavy Metal Jesus,' it was very similar just in the fact that it was Rock & Roll based, and that I look like Jesus, so it wasn't even me playing the guitar, it was all imitating for me, even though I had been playing the guitar since I was 15 years old, so when I went to NXT they said that I couldn't do the Jesus thing, so I kind of started figuring out what I wanted to do," Elias said. "I loved the show Sons of Anarchy, and it just had a very modern, very edgy feel to it, so I thought, how can I tap into this kind of vibe in wrestling? I brought out the guitar and I always visualized myself sitting on the set of that television, so sitting there with my guitar totally fit with my character. I brought the character to Dusty Rhodes and he took a liking to it right off the bat, he was a big supporter of mine up until his passing. Of course Triple H put it on NXT TV and it kept going from there."
Elias also discussed his love for professional wrestling. He said he studied all the greats and learned from all the legends he's had the opportunity to meet.
"Truth is, I was a wrestling fan far before I played the guitar. I always studied wrestling and always wanted to learn more," he said. "I had people cross my path that were able to teach me along the way, or I crossed their path for a lack of a better term. Pro Wrestling is important to me to put on a great match more than anything else."
Elias revealed that he wanted to be like Shawn Michaels when he was growing up. Eventually he developed a love for music, so once he started performing he decided to combine his two loves. He didn't expect to have the opportunity to showcase both his musical talents and wrestling skills, but he's been enjoying every bit of it so far.
"I guess I wanted to be like Shawn Michaels growing up. I got into music, classic Rock when I was 14-15 years old maybe. My Dad saw me taking a liking to it, especially Eric Clapton. He bought me a guitar one year and started playing here on out. I never saw my guitar play in Pro Wrestling," he said. "I never did until I was in NXT even. In the Independence I was Heavy Metal Jesus, but never played the guitar. It was more of playing Jesus. I knew that character is important in WWE so I really wanted the character to stand out, and wanted to be different and let people know that I have something to offer. It just so happens that I had been playing the guitar for 15 years so why not try to put the two things together?"
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.