For months now, Elias has “drifted” around Raw, strumming his guitar and generally remaining on the fringe of the action.
But lately, Elias has become a bigger player on the WWE stage. Here are five fast facts you need to know about “The Drifter.”
5. He Wrestled On the Indies As “Heavy Metal Jesus” Logan Shulo
Prior to joining WWE, Elias wrestled for five years on the Northeast independent circuit, primarily for the International Wrestling Cartel (IWC) under the ring name “Heavy Metal Jesus” Logan Shulo. Yes, that barely recognizable Chris Cornell lookalike in the video above really is him.
Shulo was fairly successful during his time in IWC, winning the promotion’s Super Indy Championship and World Heavyweight Championship before signing a developmental contract with WWE in early 2014.
4. He Had A WWE Tryout Match In 2012
In 2015, Elias revealed during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he actually landed a WWE tryout match against Dean Ambrose at a sold-out arena in Hershey, Penn., in 2012, but it didn’t work out in his favor. According to Elias, WWE felt he wasn’t ready yet. But the failed tryout didn’t discourage him. “I’m not taking no for an answer,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get there.” It would be two more years before he got another tryout.
3. It Took A While To Come Up With His Drifter Gimmick
Elias debuted in NXT on April 24, 2014, as enhancement talent in a tag team match with Buddy Murphy against The Ascension. He and Murphy lost, but Elias clearly got the last laugh because these days Murphy is nowhere to be seen and when was the last time The Ascension actually wrestled a match?
Anyway, Elias essentially continued working as a jobber for more than a year until debuting his “Drifter” gimmick in August 2015. Unfortunately for him, as you’ll see in the next fact, the change didn’t do much for his wins vs. losses…
2. He’s Lost Most of His Matches
According to the wrestling database Cagematch, Elias’s career has not been very successful when it comes to his total number of wins vs. losses. As of this writing, he’s lost 226 of his total 341 career matches, or 66.3%.
But maybe his luck will turn around now that he’s working his way up the ranks on the main roster. Unlike most recent NXT call-ups, Elias is actually doing better on Raw than he did down in developmental, but aside from a lackluster feud with Jason Jordan, he has yet to be involved in a long program.
1. He Made His In-Ring Raw Debut In A Match Against Dean Ambrose
It’s nice when things come full circle. As noted above, Elias received his first WWE tryout in 2012 in a match against Dean Ambrose. Five years later, his made in in-ring debut on Raw in a match against Dean Ambrose. Elias even won this time around – but it was a DQ win after The Miz interfered and intentionally attacked Elias in an effort to make Ambrose lose. Still, a win is a win, right? Especially when you don’t come by them that often.
There you have it: five fast facts about Elias! What are your opinions on “The Drifter?” Share them in the comments section below!