Following a sensational title victory this past Monday, Big E is still basking in the glory of becoming the new WWE Champion. With so many peers and fans applauding his long-awaited win, the powerhouse of The New Day couldn’t thank everyone enough for their love and generosity since Monday.

In a sit-down interview this week on WWE’s The Bump, Big E reflected on this achievement and how he’s relearning to build his self-esteem following major setbacks that kept him from shining for many years.

“I can’t say enough. I’m so incredibly humbled and appreciative,” Big E said with sincerity in his voice. “On our podcast, we had an episode about mental health. That was important for us to have that conversation, especially after the passing of Daffney. You know, I talked too about the fact that I’m someone who struggled with my mental health and with depression for a long time. And not seeing much value in myself to go from thinking about the juxtaposition of being 20-years-old and really struggling and trying to find my way in the world, to now, where people around the world know who I am [and] find value in my work, and find joy in my work. It’s a blessing. I’m grateful to have found purpose and passion.”

Coming off the win, Big E said it was touching to read how so many fans and peers kept mentioning how proud the late, great Brodie Lee would have been seeing him obtain this monumental title. To Big E, he felt like Lee was there with him throughout his high-stakes matchup.

More than ever, Big E wished he could have celebrated this moment with Lee, who believed in him since day one. Going forward, Big E promises to pay homage to Lee and keep his memory alive in his matches.

“He was on my mind throughout,” Big E lamented. “Of course, I love him dearly and I miss him. He was one of my best friends, such an incredible human being. I still stay connected with his wife and his kids. They actually FaceTimed me yesterday. He’s someone that means so much to everyone who knew and loved him. I just want to do my part to continue to keep shouting at my boy and keep his memory alive.

“Someone tweeted about Brodie, and my response was, you know, ‘I just wish he was there to hug backstage and to talk to.’ I know how he was, man. He’d be one of the first to come up and congratulate me and pull me aside. I know he would have been happy for me.”

Before concluding his interview, Big E revealed that although he teased everyone he was gunning towards Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship, he made up his mind at the very last minute to go after the WWE Championship instead.

“It was pretty last minute honestly,” Big E revealed. “It was last minute, and I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s do it.’ But Boston felt good. It felt right [to do it there].”

You can watch Big E’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.