Following Elias‘ return to WWE last week where RAW’s newest Superstar instantly made a beeline for Jeff Hardy before resuming his musical duties on Monday nights, it’s incredibly transparent for all to see that adding WWE’s resident musician back to the fray adds another dimension to the flagship show.
Another thing which was clear to see was the investment – both in terms of time and production – via Elias’ latest gig on this week’s RAW. And that’s before we mention the fact that Elias’ return to WWE sees him thrown straight into a rivalry of sorts with Grand Slam Champion Jeff Hardy.
However, it’s worth noting that Elias isn’t simply on RAW to make up the numbers, and that we’ll most likely be seeing Elias in prominent positions – inside and outside the ring – going forward on Monday nights.
Sources tell Inside the Ropes that WWE management views the man known as ‘The Drifter’ as, contrary to his moniker, a staple of the red brand going forward – and one of the show’s top stars. Furthermore, we’re told that Elias being drafted to the red brand was a “no-brainer” – both for the performer’s benefit and the benefit of the show.
As seen on this week’s show, Elias’ segment was allotted a good chunk of time – and almost certainly financial budget – with session musicians and pyro accompanying the performance. That “time” is a big reason for the former NXT star’s shift to RAW. We’re told WWE management has immense confidence in Elias, as a performer, to be able to fill any time allocation and deliver an entertaining performance.
Elias’ move to RAW allows much more scope for longer musical and promo segments, and resulting matches, during a three-hour show as opposed to the two hours of SmackDown. Said move isn’t just by design on paper, it’s because WWE can rely on Elias to “fill” any slot time-wise, and be given that time to succeed. It’s noted that The Drifter is viewed as a top Superstar on the cusp of climbing into the main event scene, and who can be “plugged in” for any amount of time with no reservations, as management are certain he’ll deliver.
“New Orleans, I’m in the mix with John and the Undertaker. The next year, I’m in there with John and the Undertaker again—John at WrestleMania, the Undertaker the night next on Raw. I was supposed to go on and face the Undertaker at the show in Saudi Arabia. That never ended up happening because of Goldberg, but that was supposed to be my match. The year after was supposed to be myself against John Cena at WrestleMania in a three-year running story. Things obviously changed and that didn’t end up happening.”
While those plans changed and Elias instead faced Baron Corbin at WrestleMania, we’re told Elias was set to be a pretty strong fixture on WWE programming post-WrestleMania until that was derailed by an injury and subsequent surgery. Four months on, though, and that push has been given a monumental kick-start, with Elias facing Jeff Hardy at this weekend’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view. While the respective John Cena and Undertaker matches may seem less likely than ever following WrestleMania, we’re old Elias is seen as a “plug-and-play” Superstar by WWE, and – much like his recent musical performance – will very much be plugged in on RAW going forward. While we may not be getting three-hour Elias gigs going forward, we will most certainly be seeing more of The Drifter.