Since debuting on the main roster, Elias has established himself on WWE TV as The Drifter and his segments on Raw and SmackDown have often been popular with fans in attendance and the audience at home.
The Drifter gimmick almost never appeared in WWE, though. Elias revealed on Lillian Garcia's Chasing Glory podcast that he was almost fired multiple times while he was in NXT because the person in charge of the black and gold brand wasn't a fan of his.
"One thing that I became very aware of when I got there was that the people that said no at my tryout were now in charge of my job, and their minds didn't change," the Raw Superstar said. "William Regal, he always had said yes and he liked me and he got me through, but the people that said no, well they're running the show and they're in charge of it and things like that...
"And I didn't know anybody in the business as far as like nobody got me. No family members or friends or anything like that. Kind of like an outsider to their crew and, you know, they can be protective of like who they bring into their circle and stuff like that... I was put on the list to be fired multiple times in NXT for whatever reason... I was made aware two different times, which you can imagine walking into work every day knowing that that guy right there wants to fire me."
Elias went on to explain that he was given 30 days to create a character for himself but was told: "maybe you'd be better off somewhere else."
He created The Drifter gimmick during this period and pitched it to a roundtable of NXT coaches. They liked the character, but it was initially taken off the table in favour of an Italian gimmick.
The Drifter ultimately came into existence a short time later, though, after he turned up to NXT with his guitar and impressed Dusty Rhodes during a test run of the persona.