Former WWE Star Aiden English Discusses The Origins Of NXT 'Drama King' Gimmick

When Impact Wrestling commentator (and occasional wrestler) Matthew Rehwoldt performed in "WWE NXT," it took a little while for him to find his inner "Drama King." Under the guidance of the legendary Dusty Rhodes and the coaches at the WWE Performance Center, he got where he needed to go as the refined and animated Aiden English — but it didn't happen overnight. During an interview with "Developmentally Speaking," Rehwoldt shared his journey from new FCW signee to WWE's version of Ryan and Sharpay Evans from "High School Musical."

"That was something I wanted to do from the moment I got there," Rehwoldt said. "I knew that was going to be my angle. Knowing a lot of other people in the wrestling business, ain't nobody was a theater geek... [They say] find something in your real personality and crank it up. Well, that's legit. I have a legit background in [theater]. I do know a little bit of Shakespeare, I've worked in operas, I've done all this. [But also with] self-awareness, I know that's not the wrestling audience. To many in the wrestling audience and probably in the locker rooms, it would come off as super pompous or pretentious, for sure. I always wanted to be a heel, [so] what if you had a wrestler who came out and admittedly [said], I am using this as a stepping stone to greater stardom?"

The Show Must Go On

Rehwoldt, an Illinois native who studied acting and stage combat at Columbia College Chicago, tested his thespian character in Florida Championship Wrestling and carried it over to "NXT" following the developmental territory's rebranding in 2012. But it would take some additional time to get the character of Aiden English fully formed and ready for the main roster.

"It took about a year after we got to Orlando before they finally were ready to go with that character," said the former "NXT" Tag Team Champion. "Which was good, because it gave me time to get more confident and better in the ring."

In September 2013, Aiden English made his way to the ring while singing a parody of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" from the musical "The Pirates of Penzance," and the character became fully realized. Utilizing his own version of other Broadway staples, English would continue to sing before, during, and after his matches in an antagonistic way, which fans would absolutely eat up. 

Eventually, he would join with Simon Gotch to form the Vaudevillains, and the team would become unlikely fan favorites and tag team champions before being drafted to "Smackdown" in 2016 after memorable matches with Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, American Alpha, and the team who would later be known in All Elite Wrestling as FTR. When Gotch and English's partnership was dissolved, "The Artiste" would join forces with Rusev and Lana to form Rusev Day, arguably one of the most popular acts in all of WWE during 2017 and 2018.