Big E is one of the most charismatic and lovable characters on WWE television today. His six year tenure with The New Day was a huge success, with multiple tag-team championships, including the longest reign in company history of 483 days.

However, before joining with Kofi Kingston and Xavior Woods in 2014 and becoming the character fans are so fond of today, Big E showed a different and more serious side. Even though he had won the Intercontinental championship in late 2013, he still felt as if his career was at an impasse and was still trying to figure out where he should go next.

In a recent interview with Samoa Joe on WWE’s Grit and Glory (h/t to ITN WWE for the transcription), Big E spoke on losing the Intercontinental championship for the first time. He expressed how frustrating of a time it was for him, but that he never gave up on himself.

“It was hard and it was frustrating for sure. Because I know I had more to offer. I had only been maybe a year and a half into my run over on SmackDown, and I knew I just had not shown everything I was capable of,” Big E said. “ And the biggest thing for me was just staying in the game. That’s one of the things I learned in developmental is hey, you are gonna go through ups and downs in your career, but don’t take yourself out of the game.

“I don’t know what’s gonna come for me next. I don’t know what door is going to open. But stay in the game, keep working, keep training, keep being in the best shape you can be, and create those opportunities for yourself. And it worked out for me.”

During the 2020 Draft that took place in October, Big E found himself as a singles competitor once again, due to his partners being drafted to RAW while he remained on SmackDown. On the Christmas edition of SmackDown, Big E won the Intercontinental championship for the second time against Sami Zayn.

After the match, the locker room emptied and celebrated by hoisting him up on their shoulders. Big E called the moment a beautiful one and was ready to make this a meaningful run.

“It was beautiful. It was a big moment for me because it kind of fulfilled the promise of when…you know…when Kofi and Woods gave me their blessing that is split…as bittersweet as it was, it was worth it,” Big E said. “And that for me felt like not the moment that I made it and it’s time to coast, but the moment like, ‘Hey, I am here to prove that this run is going to be meaningful. So, winning that meant a lot and obviously having the respect of your peers, as you know in this business, means everything.”

“Man, adoration from the fans is what you work for. But also, when you have people that you respect, worked 10, 15, 20 years in this business, and they come out and they say you killed it. You did your thing like that’s something I’ll always treasure. And having that moment with the confetti pouring down on Christmas Day. Nonetheless, that’s something you don’t forget.”