It’s been a slow “walk for Elias” up the WWE ladder, but there are signs in recent weeks that the WWE creative team is beginning to give the character a sharper, more intense feel. That should mean a push up the card for Elias, who is now involved in feud with Seth Rollins over the Intercontinental Championship.
Elias usually plays with the fans with his promos. He sits on his stool in the ring and mocks the town where WWE is emanating from that particular night. It gets heel heat, but not in the way that Elias is taken seriously. The crowd plays along, and Elias plays along with the crowd. It was a segment fans were looking forward to more than putting any real heel heat on the heel.
The last two weeks on Monday Night Raw, Elias has shown more of an edge. He’s not as playful in making fun of the crowd, and instead has shown an intensity in his feud with Seth Rollins. In order for him to be taken seriously as an upper-mid card heel, that has to happen. Playful Elias as a heel felt a lot like Damien Sandow … and we know how that worked out.
WWE is also giving more indications that they’re ready to push Elias. First, they’re putting him up against Rollins, who might be the hottest babyface on the Raw roster right now. WWE wishes it was Roman Reigns, but Rollins and Braun Strowman are getting the best reactions.
As Rollins continues his climb back up the ladder — remember, he was a longtime WWE Champion just two years ago — Elias is also beginning his ascent.
Last night, Elias pinned Rollins in a tag-team match that also featured Roman Reigns and Jinder Mahal. While there were shenanigans, the visual of Elias pinning Rollins is not something WWE would just give away for no good reason. It could indicate that Rollins will retain at Money in the Bank, but the visual of Elias beating Rollins, one week after taking an edgier approach to his character, can lead you to believe that WWE sees more in Elias, and he’s on his way to bigger things on the card than even Rollins.
What’s the ceiling to that character? It’s hard to say. The gimmick with him singing a song with his guitar, mocking the town, was not going to get him to the main event. But this new Elias, who uses his guitar as a weapon (as we saw against Rollins and a chair last night) is striking the right attitude.