When it comes to factions in pro wrestling, few will go down at having the impact and popularity of The New Day. The trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods had a six-year run before Big E embarked on a singles run that has him as the current Intercontinental Champion.
The success of The New Day is not lost on Big E as it transformed the careers of its three members. Big E talked about the honor of being part of the group when he joined Busted Open.
“We obviously created something special. If I didn’t get to this point in my career, I wouldn’t be in WWE. I wouldn’t have been in the main roster if it wasn’t for Woods and Kofi and for that run that we got. I was at a point in my career where I was definitely floundering,” admitted Big E.
“It’s such a weird time. I feel grateful that we’re still able to work and to perform in the Thunderdome is the best possible scenario. I always think of the feedback from the fans.
“When I think of [Daniel] Bryan’s run, what he did in the 20-by-20 [ring] is incredible. But you think of people losing their minds, you think of the ‘Yes’ chants collectively. It’s the same thing with Kofi’s run. I think of that immediate feedback from fans. As grateful as I am for this, I can’t really sink my teeth into it in the same way.”
At WrestleMania 35 Kofi Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan to become the first African-born WWE Champion in history as well as a Grand Slam Champion. It was the peak of The New Day’s run both from a professional standpoint and from the public reception they received from the fans.
“In our business, the fans are the barometer. They tell you immediately if something is good or something is bad. So, I can go out all day and think, ‘Man, I’m killing it’, but if I’m in front of 10,000 people and it’s crickets, then what I’m doing doesn’t mean much. That’s kind of the biggest adjustment, is really try to determine how well is this working,” stated Big E. “It’s one thing to go on Twitter. As we all know, Twitter and that online feedback can be very different…”
Big E had a short singles run before joining New Day but his persona was much different than it is now. He talked about being given another opportunity to be on his own and why it allows him to try something different than what he did as part of The New Day for so long.
“I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I’ve enjoyed getting to do something different to show a different side because it can be easy in this business to get stuck in a rut,” said Big E.
“We got something good and, in my mindset, I don’t want to coast. I don’t want it, ‘Man, I made it. I can just phone it in’. Once you’re there, it’s time to hang it up.”
Royal Rumble is this Sunday and many are predicting that Big E will win the event and go onto WrestleMania. Early odds, courtesy of Bet Online, had Big E tied with Edge and Goldberg as 3/1 favorites to win the Royal Rumble.
Big E talked about the possibility of earning the chance to headline WrestleMania after putting in the work over the last nine years in WWE.
“That’s the thing. I want this run to feel earned. I think there are a lot of people who have been clamoring for me to do more for a long time. I think a lot of times, where you see… I’m not going to name names. A lot of times, you see talent who were brought in and they’re almost given too much, too soon,” said Big E. “Not that they don’t have the ability, but as a babyface, especially, I don’t feel like I’m with you if you’ve been on the main roster two weeks and you already got a World Title shot.
“One of the best things that I think happened to Daniel Bryan is losing to Sheamus at WrestleMania in under 20 seconds because people had enough! They had enough and they said, ‘This guy has been grinding! He’s been one of the best in the world for all of these years and this is how you’re going to treat him, time and time again?!’ That’s what causes an explosion.
“I don’t think he got vastly better. I’m not saying Bryan hasn’t made steps to improve, but he was always that good. He was always the guy.”
Big E then seemed to imply that there may still be more work for him to do before he 100 percent has earned the opportunity to be a WrestleMania headliner.
“I think when it feels earned – I’m not saying I haven’t earned it with all of the tag stuff, but I’m still fairly new to the singles run,” stated Big E. “I want to be like, ‘Alright man, he’s jumped through all your hoops. He’s performed time and time again.’ I want to show that week in and week out, that I can do the solo backstages, that I can do the solo promos and kill them. I can do the solo matches. That I can do every aspect in this business as a singles competitor and alright man, it’s earned. I’m not here to turn down any opportunity that comes my way either. You also know how it is.
“They’re going to go through a list of part-timers; the big names. The big money guys who work once a year and they’re going to go through that list. If they can’t go through those guys for that Roman spot for WrestleMania, then, it’s kind of like, ‘Now, who we look to who works here on a daily basis and is grinding, and now, we give him an opportunity?’
“My goal is, I always had the respect of you get what you’re given and you make the best of it. That doesn’t mean, ‘Here’s my promo and that’s exactly what I’m going to say on the page.’ No, it means I do my best to make these few minutes as good as I can. Sometimes, it’s fighting for something I really believe in and saying, ‘I’m not saying this. I’m saying this instead. This is what I believe this match needs to be.’ My perspective is you tell me the time, the segment, the direction, and I’ll give you the best I got.
“Maybe, it won’t be as good as it can be week in and week out, but I’m going to give you the best I can on that day.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.