In an appearance on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, WWE Champion Big E delved further into his title victory over Bobby Lashley on the September 13 episode of Monday Night RAW. Big E feels the moment has sunk in for him and that, for the most part, he will continue to approach things the same way he did before winning the title.
“I suppose it has sunk in,” Big E said. “For me, I don’t want there to ever be a moment where I feel like I’ve had an ‘I made it’ moment. Where like ‘alright, you’ve done it and now you’re good. You can coast.’ That’s when you stop growing, that’s when you stop getting better. Nothing good comes from that. So for me, I suppose in a sense of, I don’t necessarily feel a pressure but I know there’s an added responsibility. So for me it’s still ‘just go out there and perform to the best of your ability.’ And that’s always been my perception. But I do think there are ways that I want to just tweak my presentation. When you’re the guy, it’s a little bit different then when you’re in a three man group working tag matches. So just the way I carry myself will be a little bit different. But that’s all a feel thing, and I always feel like every performer should have an internal barometer and you should have an understanding of when to change things. You should have an understanding of how the fans are reacting to you on a weekly basis. For me, that’s just a matter of feeling things out.
“But it’s nice that there’s this new challenge. And that’s all I really wanted in my career, was to not feel bored or stale. And I’m glad we have something new to attack. There’s a bunch of things that I never, you know, like the Goldberg match. When I was making my stupid little comebacks about being a main event, I never thought I’d get the Goldberg match. But now I sit in a position where, you know, maybe if I make enough noise, we can get that done. And you know people will feel different ways about that. I understand that and I appreciate fans who have an affinity to the performers who are there, on the house shows, working every single night. Because I feel like we are the heart of this company. We’re the ones that keep this thing going. But in the same vain, if someone were to throw a bundle of cash at me at age 50 to work two or three times a year, who am I to turn that down? So we’ll see. But yeah, I suppose it has hit me in a sense. But I don’t think anything vastly changes from the way I approach my job. It’s just that ‘now you’re going to be in more segments and a little bit more spotlight on you.’ But it’s going to be fun.”
Big E also discussed defeating Lashley, marking the first time a black WWE Champion had ever defeated a fellow black WWE Champion to win the title. Given how Lashley served as an inspiration for Big E as he started out in wrestling, Big E found the moment to be very cool.
“It wasn’t something I thought about at the time. It’s the first time that a black WWE World Champion has taken the title from another black WWE World Champion, which is pretty cool,” Big E said. “And hopefully this becomes a more common place thing. Looking at our roster now and you see so many, even outside of WWE, I think it’s a great time for black wrestlers. There’s just so many of us who are just really good and talented. Also, Bobby was the one contemporary guy, when I got signed 12 years ago, he was the one I was watching film on. Because that was a guy similar to me in build, and he was what I aspired to be in many ways.
“So I just remember watching a lot of him, I think he and Cena had a United States Championship program that I watched a ton of. So yeah, man, it’s cool to see Bobby in his mid 40’s. I don’t know how that’s possible. But I love what him and MVP are doing. I also love the Hurt Business… that’s another awesome faction vs. faction opportunity there. I thought he did a phenomenal job as champion. He looked the part, he performed the part. It always means more when you take it from a great champion.”
During his first RAW promo as WWE Champion, Big E mentioned the late AEW superstar Brodie Lee (who wrestled in WWE as Luke Harper), leading to fans chanting for Brodie. Big E discussed with Paquette the bond he had with Brodie and how much the chants meant to him.
“People chanting his name, I think in that moment I looked at Woods after, and I’m getting chills thinking about it. I had chills then,” Big E said. “It was one of those lines I didn’t need anyone to react to. Sometimes you just throw out a line that’s kind of for you and the people at home. And I didn’t know if people would get it. But man it was so heartwarming and almost overwhelming to hear those chants and know that people knew who I was talking about, and his memory is still alive. I also loved, and it’s a small thing too, I never called him Luke (Harper). Maybe in promos, but he was always Brodie. You’re not talking about this pro wrestling that died. When you’re chanting Brodie, that’s my friend, that’s my buddy, that’s my brother. And I appreciated that so much, that meant a lot. I just want to continue to keep his memory alive, that we continue to memory him. And I think what helps, when I’m sad or down about him, is he was so damn funny. He was so funny. And I have so many memories and pictures and videos. There’s a lot to smile about him and his lot. And his beautiful family, his incredible family, Amanda and those two crazy boys of hers. They’re still here and they’re still thriving.
“So for me, I know Brodie was one of the first people to come up to Kofi and congratulate him when he won the title, and I know he would’ve done the same for me. There are these footprints, all throughout my life, where Brodie’s big ass feet are still, just markers of him. We used to train at the same gym, so when I go to the gym and start foam rolling, I think of the times we were foam rolling together when we worked out in time. When I think about Notre Dame football or the Maple Leafs or the Washington Football Team, like anything. There’s just so many times I want to pick up my phone to text him or share something with him. How incredible of a human being he was, he was so giving. He had this crass layer of kind of pretending to be a dick. Deep down he had such a massive heart and was such an incredible dude. So that’s all. In that moment, I know he would’ve been there for me. He would’ve had an incredible word for me and given me a big hug. I miss him all the time. I think one of the things that really helps me too is seeing the out pouring of love. I think we’re 9 months after his passing and still so many people speak so highly of him. So many people still love him, wear his shirts. It’s cool to know that your friend wasn’t just good to you, they had this incredible impact on many people’s lives. So yeah. It felt like the very least I could do was to mention him.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription