The New Day joined the After The Bell podcast with Corey Graves. During the interview Big E, who made his in-ring debut ten years ago in FCW, talked about his time in NXT. Big E discussed utilizing the five-count, which was first utilized by King Kong Bundy, where he would force a referee to count to five instead of the traditional three.
“I don’t pretend I made it up,” Big E admitted. “In fact, I shouted him out on Twitter, rest in peace to the legend King Kong Bundy.”
Big E said that WWE Hall of Famer came up with the idea to use the five-count. Big E credited the gimmick for possibly saving his pro wrestling career.
“NXT had just started and I wasn’t doing anything on NXT even though I was there for a year, Dusty came up with the idea to do the five-count,” Big E revealed. “That honestly saved my career. I don’t think I would be around if it wasn’t for that because it got a good fan reaction and things were good from there, but it was actually Dusty Rhodes’ idea to do the five-count.”
Big E would go on to become part of The New Day in 2014. The group shared tremendous success in the tag team division, however a singles title eluded the group until earlier this year, when Kofi Kingston won the WWE Championship from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 this past April. Kingston would hold on to the title for six months before losing it in under ten seconds to Brock Lesnar on the premiere episode of SmackDown on FOX. Big E admitted that he was “irate” when he found out how Kingston would be losing the strap.
“Kofi Kingston is a lot more level-headed than maybe anyone else that I have met in the business because everyone else would have reacted – actually, I was irate when I found out about it and that is a testament to Kofi,” Big E said. “I’m not saying no one else in the industry, but very few people would have had that approach, but not many would have taken that approach and not have sour grapes and be able to move on.”
While Big E was not happy with the way Kingston lost the title, he did feel that his reign helped New Day out as a group.
“It was a big win for us too as a stable. I think if you compare us to any modern stable the first that comes to mind is The Shield. I think in a lot of ways we are a lot different than The Shield. I always think of The Shield as a supergroup, they were always intended to be more, to be world champions. You saw it during day one that they had the pedigree where they were always going to be top guys, but for us, we were guys that came together on our own just to get on TV. The fact that we were even on TV in a mid-card role was a win, but for The Shield, it would be highly disappointing.”
Big E also praised Daniel Bryan for losing the title to Kingston and doing everything he could to get Kingston over.
“I give a lot of credit to Daniel Bryan as well, because during that time Bryan was so hot and he is so damn good in the ring, on the mic, with his character, Bryan was so giving with the build to the story that it meant more,” Big E said. “So Kofi didn’t just beat any champion, he beat a generational champion so it meant more, and for our stable to produce Kofi, a guy who at this point in his career none of us were ever destined to be world champions for the way things were laid out for us, for me and Woods I would say we were lucky to still have a job, so for us to push through the mid-card status and kind of push through that muck and get to the top is a nice story in an industry where you don’t get many people like us that are able to push through that glass ceiling.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.