Acronyms are everything in wrestling, particularly when naming a promotion. After all, what would Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes be without the NWA Title?
There would be no Monday Night Wars without ECW, WCW and the proto-Bullet Club that is the NWO. And they may have failed to make the impact they wanted, but TNA cannot be discounted. Even today, we have NXT, NJPW and WXW to name a few. However, if you were to ask a casual fan what the most obvious omission from this paragraph stood for, they’d be wrong. Dead wrong.
Because WWE stands for Walk With Elias.
And guess what super creative name the Pittsburgh Pugilist has chosen for his musical debut? The hype after the drop last week has died down and the behind the scenes documentary has been aired. Let’s see how Mr Samson’s debut “album” (it’s more of an EP) stands up…
Track 1 – The Ballad of Every town I’ve Ever Been To
As an opening track goes, it serves as a great introduction to the man. Starting with his catchphrase (“Hello, I am Elias”), it saunters into a haunting acoustic riff with Elias’ signature baritone lending to the despairing tone. Elias running down every American town he’s ever been to is amusing yet empathetic, until he really elevates the piece by switching up his cadence and energy for the hook. A solid start, the highlight being a fantastic bit of bathos (“I see so many lost people/I wanna punch them in the face”).
Track 2 – Elias’ Words
A generic bluesy riff. A forgettable attempt at a tribute to Subterranean Homesick Blues. Lyrics that cobble rhymes and concepts together more desperately than Curt Hawkins looking to break his losing streak.
I get that Elias is meant to be a heel, but this is the first time he’s genuinely offended me. Only his natural charisma made this close to passable.
Track 3 – Nothing I Can’t Do
Mr Samson switches things up here, swapping his typical acoustic guitar for a piano. He uses this as the crux of the lyrical content for the piece, claiming that, much like the current Intercontinental Champion used to, he is perfection.
He might not be, but this track is pretty close.
Performing an Elton John style power ballad from the perspective of a narcissist is just the right amount of parody for this body of work. Add to this a brilliant comedic beat at the climax and it’s confirmed: we’ve gone from the ridiculous to the sublime here.
Track 4 – Walk With Me
We end with the closest thing this “album” has to a title track. It acts as a manifesto of sorts, letting his reasoning of precisely why you should be walking with the Troubadour of Monday Night Raw breathe, forgoing vocals in the chorus for an admittedly catchy vocal hook. The addition of a surprise electric guitar solo adds more than it takes away.
A solid full stop for this body of work.
As an album, the music is much like Elias’ in-ring work: solid and unspectacular. If a more established act attempted to release Nothing I Can’t Do, they’d be defecated on from a great height by social media, let alone actual critics; only Elias’ innate charisma carried this “album”.
However, Elias is not an established music act: he’s an entertaining midcard heel who’s nailed everything he’s been given since his call-up from developmental. And considering that, I’d rate this as a huge success; the only thing that could possibly hold someone with this much talent back is his booking going forward…