Big E’s WWE Championship win on the September 13 edition of Monday Night Raw was met with overwhelming approval online. It’s not often that such an outpouring of affection and support is heaped on the shoulders of a pro wrestler. But in this case, it’s very fitting.
Big E puts in the work, night in and night out. He always rises to the occasion and he does it while always looking like a main event powerhouse. Now he most definitely is one. Because of that, it’s time for WWE to run with the new champ and elevate him to the status he deserves.
New Day, New Champion
Winning the title is just the first step. That seems a bit backwards and with good reason. After all, the notion of paying dues is a very real thing in the business. Very few talents arrive on the main roster and immediately achieve overnight success. Not everyone is Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar.
However, that’s not to subtract from Big E as a worker in the ring. E has truly come into his own as an extremely capable big man. His athleticism and intensity consistently wow audiences who simply cannot believe what they’re seeing. A man his size probably should not be able to do what he does. Yet, he does it all the same.
Big E’s skills continue to evolve, to the point that he is no longer just a tag team wrestler. His move-set and ring psychology have indeed set him on another level. It’s that improvement which likely caused WWE, namely Vince McMahon, to realize just what they have in The New Day’s strongman.
Of course, the fans have been puling for E the entire time. They saw what many of his peers have always known: Big E can go in the ring. At age 35, he has wisdom beyond his years and he’s become a respected veteran in the company.
Yes, he’s paid his dues. He continues to do so. Big E knows that nothing is free in the pro wrestling industry and that to make your way, you have to put your shoulder to the wheel and earn it. There is no question that of all the talents on the WWE roster who have been waiting for their shot, Big E is perhaps the most deserving. He’s definitely been waiting a long time.
Earning His Way
For 12 years, Big E has done nothing but work. He trained, he learned, he was patient and he improved. He cleared every hurdle in his path and he did so with a smile on his face. Big E never ran from the challenge and he was always ready for the next one. He would simply not be denied.
But winning the WWE Championship, while a massive achievement for any pro wrestler, is indeed just the first step. Big E has arrived and he’s now in the upper echelon of WWE Superstars. So what will the company do with him now?
Therein lays the asterisk, if there is one, on Big E’s title win. Through no fault of his own and without any nudging from fans or his fellow WWE Superstars, Big E is wedged into an odd spot. He’s now in the “okay, let’s see what happens” part of his WWE career. The reason for that, obviously, is WWE itself.
For far too many times, a star has risen through the ranks, received the love and support from the WWE faithful, won it all, then eventually lost it all. It’s a tired old song that continues to play in the company and for some reason, the record never seems to stop spinning.
Sins Of The Past
Big E’s New Day partner, Kofi Kingston, knows all too well how things can go south in the company. Kingston’s WWE Championship win in 2018 was a breath of fresh air for fans, who were ready for something new and different. Like Big E, Kofi was a man who had worked hard to get his spot. When Kingston won the title, it was a great day for him and for everyone who supported him from the very beginning.
Kofi’s title reign lasted 180 days and he consistently stepped up in every title defense he had. Despite any criticism to the contrary, Kofi Kingston became a main event guy and carried himself like a man who knew how important the job is. The company’s support of him made all the difference.
But Kofi’s eight-second loss to Brock Lesnar on October 4, 2019, was a slap in the face to him and to everyone who supported him. It wasn’t about Lesnar and for the most part, fans understood that. It was about McMahon and how once again, a beloved star fell by the wayside due to bad booking.
Of course, Kofi and Big E are not the same and 2021 is not 2019. It’s a different world in WWE and everything has changed because of AEW. But old habits die hard and unless Vince McMahon gets behind him, Big E’s title run will perhaps not be everything it can be. But that outcome is not one that works for anyone in this equation.
Even if McMahon perhaps sees Kofi as nothing more than a tag team wrestler, that surely cannot also be the case for Big E. E has size, he has power and he has charisma. He has it all and he’s exactly the kind of Superstar that should be on top of the company. Then again, that was also true of Kofi.
The fact is that there’s no way to know where Big E’s career will go from here. If WWE uses him the right way, Big E could rise to heights previously unrealized. He can be a full time top guy and excel in everything he does. That includes main eventing WrestleMania and beyond. He has the ability to do it and if anyone is capable of dealing with the pressures of such demands, it’s him. Big E is the new WWE champion and now it’s his time to shine.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live