Former WWE superstar, James Ellsworth, was a recent guest on the It’s My House Podcast. During his visit, Ellsworth looked back at some highlights from his time with WWE, including the moment in 2017 where he notoriously stole the Money in the Bank briefcase on behalf of Carmella.
“It worked. And what I mean by work is people, maybe your self included, think that they did that second Money in the Bank ladder match two weeks later on SmackDown because they got so much backlash – which is not true at all,” Ellsworth said. “They knew they were going to do the second one before we ever did the first. It was Vince’s idea. Vince goes, ‘We got to get some heat on Carmella and Ellsworth’, because, at the house shows we were getting cheered, me and Carmella. We were coming out at the house shows and people just remember me being goofy with AJ. Carmella is a beautiful woman and she’s entertaining, so we’re getting cheered.
“So he’s like, ‘We need to get some heat on them,'” Ellsworth recalled. “‘I want Carmella to start getting a push.’ So the way we get the heat was Ellsworth climbs the ladder, he gives her the briefcase, and then we’ll get a lot of backlash for it, but then we’ll pop a rating on SmackDown because we’ll have another one where she kind of grabs that herself, but this will be like her big moment. And he was right. He was right about it all. That was the most talked about moment from that pay-per-view. And then the Smackdown that we did a week or two later, that second one 600,000 more people watched that Smackdown than the week before. He’s a genius whenever he feels like being a genius.”
Fans may be curious how Ellsworth went from being one of Adam Rose’s Rosebuds, to being squashed by Braun Strowman, to eventually becoming a signed WWE star. Ellsworth went into detail about the moment Vince approached him with promises of a WWE contract.
“It’s funny you bring up the internet wrestling community, and the memes, and all the support, which I appreciated. That’s not what [got me hired by WWE]. It’s that day when I wrestled Strowman,” Ellsworth said. “After I was done in the match, Vince McMahon was looking for me and when he found me, he shook my hand. He said, ‘Great job out there! I’m going to hire you.’ And I thought he was kidding, I was like, ‘Oh, thank you.’ He said, ‘I’ll be in touch.’ He thought for a while what am I going to do with this guy? He thought I cut a good promo, I sold well, he thought I looked different.
“Six weeks later, he hired me,” Ellsworth added. “A lot of people aren’t in the internet bubble. Like, a majority of wrestling fans aren’t on the internet like your casual fans: your moms, dads and kids. They’re not on the internet, they come to the show and they enjoy it. They don’t get in anybody’s business, and they they just want to be entertained and have fun. There is a large internet wrestling community that’s a loud minority of actual fan. But yeah, it was this man. He just saw something in me, and I was very blessed and fortunate that he did. And it worked out for all of us. I mean, he hired me, my t-shirt was the number one seller for a month, and I feel where whatever they put me in worked. Like, I always tell everybody I had such a great time and I appreciated the opportunity that he gave me.”
His past opponent, Braun Strowman, was among the numerous WWE stars that were released from the company earlier this year due to COVID-19 budget cuts. Ellsworth gave his take on why this may have occurred.
“They just got rid of Braun Strowman, which I couldn’t believe. But maybe he was making so much money and they’re trying to cut some money to make the company look like it’s worth more to investors. I don’t know,” Ellsworth admitted. “I don’t know why you wouldn’t want the big stars. Like, maybe there is some truth to that you don’t want guys like John Cena who can go to movies or whatever they want to do. But it’s just– it’s crazy man. Like, that’s why the ratings are down but they’re not losing any money. That’s the thing, they might not care about the ratings. I don’t think they care.”