On this week’s Chasing Glory, former four-time WWE 24/7 Champion Elias made his debut on the podcast to discuss his personal and professional life since arriving at WWE in 2014. Before they delved into it, Elias explained to the host Lilian Garcia why it’s taken him so long to be on her show.
“Yeah. I guess it would be my perspective on – I was thinking about this while I was coming on here – why it’s the time to do it. It’s on the perspective of where the business is, where Elias is at the moment, and where I’m at personally,” Elias began. “There was a time, personally, when you asked me two years ago [to be on the show]. I was very protective of the Elias character. I liked having some mystery and nobody knowing what was going on.
“I thought at the time I was being put in a good situation on TV. But, you see The Undertaker, and he’s the most over character that WWE has ever had probably. And he’s doing things like this, letting himself open up. So I thought, ‘Ok. Maybe it’s time now to break that level down.'”
Off of his last statement, Garcia wanted to know more about Elias and his working relationship with The Undertaker before his retirement last month. He recalls what a treat it was to have a tag team match with him, but he also wishes he and “The Deadman” could have had a singles match before he hung up his iconic hat.
“Well, getting to work with him–he was, if not, one of my favorite wrestlers growing up,” he noted. “So I remember having a match with him at Madison Square Garden, and I can remember it was the main event at MSG. It was a tag team match. I opened it up with one of my songs and I was wearing a hat which I had to get approval from ‘The Deadman’ because it was a cowboy hat. I played his song on guitar… And sure enough, when his music came off, the fans went crazy. When he came out, it was next level.
“I can remember at WrestleMania when John Cena interrupted me, Vince [McMahon] told me that I was going to be working with some good people coming up, so treasure it. That night on Raw, me and Undertaker did something where he interrupted me. We were supposed to have a match, but that didn’t happen… That’s one of my favorite nights in my whole career – the night after WrestleMania. I’ve always admired how he had such a strong character and was able to evolve it over time.”
As many young and upcoming Superstars can attest to, having a Hall of Famer or well-decorated wrestler return to the company can be frustrating, especially if that means your time on TV will be cut short. Back in the day when he first started, Elias was one of those guys who was not in favor of having icons steal his thunder. After watching Taker’s “Last Ride” docuseries, he had a change of heart about his feelings towards the legends before him.
“So this is going to sound maybe like selfish or something like that, but when these guys are around – Undertaker, Kane, and Shawn Michaels – when they would come back, I would personally get offended by that,” he honestly admitted. “The reason would be, I thought I should be in there with those guys and learning from them or they shouldn’t be there because it’s the new guys’ time. That’s how I felt. I had a bit of anger towards, I want to say, that generation. I’m thinking like, ‘Hey, I’m getting the loudest reactions out there, or whatever it may be. I’m the new guy.
“And then, here come these guys, who take everyone’s spots at WrestleMania, or they take spots on other big pay-per-views. And Elias is shoved towards the side for whatever reason. So, I had anger about that. And then I saw the interview with Undertaker [on The Last Ride docuseries], and you come to find out how he’s aware of that, as well. He knows the young guys want his spot, and he also knows he’s got to let this go some time, but he loves this business so much. You can relate to that. It softens me to go, ‘Oh, I get it.’ I don’t have that anger that I did before. Who knows if the situation is ever reversed, or whatever.”
You can listen to Elias’ full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Lilian Garcia -Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.