Following up on their eventful night in Indianapolis, which included Kofi Kingston making history by winning a five man gauntlet match only to be screwed out of a WWE title shot at WrestleMania 35 by Vince McMahon anyway and a SmackDown fallout video of The New Day openly contemplating quitting WWE as a result, Big E has released the following self-shot promo on his Twitter.
It’s mostly him ruminating on the same themes the group addressed in the post-show scene, but it does lean into one possible explanation for Vince’s actions which hasn’t been addressed on-screen... but has come up a lot online:
“We’ve had some time to contemplate what happened Tuesday night, and obviously Kofi’s performance and the aftermath and our reaction to all of that. And a little bit of time to reflect too on - I guess kind of our careers and why we do this. You know, you think of this business to some degree being a meritocracy. If you work hard, you show up early, you stay late, you do all the right things, you jump through all the right hoops, you’re respectful, you don’t break the law, that you get good at your craft, that you really hone that, that you find a place with fans, you separate yourself, you find a niche, you separate yourself from a character perspective, from an in-ring perspective. You do everything, you check all the boxes, you show up in shape - you do everything that’s asked of you in this business - that if you do all those things you have a good chance of making it to the top.
But now we understand the game. We see what the game is - that people like us will only get so far. That you can climb the mountain. They’ll let you climb the mountain, but as far as getting to the peak and staying at the peak - it’s not a thing that people like us, historically and moving forward clearly, can only get so far.
So you know, we’ve done a lot of cool things here. We’ve been able to do a lot of things we never imagined we could do but clearly we are never meant to be more than this. And for people like us that’s not enough. And it will never be enough. So we’ve got to sit back and think whether, you know, continuing to be gone for 250 days-plus a year is worth it. Of missing the family time, of doing this to our bodies - leaving a piece of yourself in the ring that you can never get back. All the things we give, if it’s worth it when we can only get this far. So we’ve got a lot of thinking to do. You know, obviously proud of Kofi, proud of us as a trio, proud of what we’ve done, but if this is all we ever be? I don’t know if it’s worth it.”
The discussion of a glass ceiling for people of color in WWE specifically and wrestling in general comes up fairly often, and in lieu of another logical explanation for Vince’s actions (claiming someone the fans are rabidly chanting for “isn’t a draw” isn’t a logical explanation, especially just a couple month removed from the McMahon family’s vow to fix the ratings by putting the fans in charge), it’s been mentioned frequently around the #KofiMania story.
Big E is not-so-subtly referencing that when he says “people like us, historically and moving forward clearly, can only get so far.” The question is, will even alluding to the small number of black or brown champions in WWE history be something that stays on his Twitter feed like Ronda Rousey calling wrestling “fake”, or will it bleed over into the story we see on our television screens?
And either way - but especially if it’s the latter, how comfortable are viewers with WWE tackling an issue that’s confounded scholars and theologians while leading to bad feeling and violence among people all over the world in kayfabe?
Buckle up, scripted fight fans.