Since he was split from his New Day brothers in last fall’s Draft, a lot of people have had high hopes for Big E’s future as a singles star. Dreams of a Kofimania-like run to the Universal title have been fueled by none other than the special counsel to the current champion.
What does E think about that possibility. During his appearance on Busted Open Radio this week, we learned he has lots of thoughts about it.
For starters, it doesn’t sound like he’s sure it’s time:
“I want this run to feel earned. I think there are a lot of people who have been clamoring for me to do more for a long time. I think a lot of times what you see – and I’m not gonna name names – you’ll see talent called up or brought in and there almost given too much too soon. Not that they don’t have the ability but as a babyface especially, I don’t feel like I’ve been with you if you’ve been on the main roster two weeks and you’ve already got a World title shot.
“One of the best things I think happened to Daniel Bryan is losing to Sheamus at WrestleMania in under 20 seconds. People had enough and they said this guy has been grinding. He’s been one of the best in the world for all these years and this is how you’re gonna treat him time and time again? That’s what caused his explosion. I don’t think he got vastly better and I’m not saying Bryan hasn’t made steps to improve, but he was always that good. He was always that guy.
“I think when it feels earned – I’m not saying I haven’t earned it with all the tag stuff – but I’m still fairly new to the singles run. I want to be like, ‘He’s jumped through all the hoops, he’s performed time and time again.’ I want to show that week in and week out I can do the solo backstage, I can do the solo promos, I can do the solo matches, and I can do every aspect of this business as a singles competitor. It’s earned.”
Guesses about who he’s not naming are welcome (mine rhymes with Leaf Key). As to how E will know if he’s having a run like Bryan or Kofi’s? It’s going to be difficult in the ThunderDome:
“It’s such a weird time, and I’m so grateful we’re still able to work and to perform in the ThunderDome. But I feel like the true measure of title runs – I always think of the feedback from fans. I think of Bryan’s run and what he did is incredible. You think of people losing his mind, you think of the ‘Yes’ chants collectively. The same thing with Kofi’s run. I think of that immediate feedback from fans. As grateful as I am for this, I can’t really sink my teeth into it in the same way.
“In our business, the fans are the barometer. They tell you immediately if something is good or if something is bad. So, I can go out there all day and think, ‘Man, I’m killing it.’ But if I’m in front of 10,000 people and it’s crickets, then what I’m doing doesn’t mean much. That’s kind of the biggest adjustment. I’m literally trying to determine, ‘How is this working? How much are people really behind me? It’s one thing go on Twitter. That online feedback can be very different.”
He’s also realistic about whether the opportunity will come his way:
“I think when it feels earned – I’m not saying I haven’t earned it with all the tag stuff – but I’m still fairly new to the singles run. I want to be like, ‘He’s jumped through all the hoops, he’s performed time and time again.’ I want to show that week in and week out I can do the solo backstage, I can do the solo promos, I can do the solo matches, and I can do every aspect of this business as a singles competitor. It’s earned.
“In the same vein, I’m not here to turn down any opportunity that comes my way either. You also know how it is. They’re going to go through a list of part-timers – big names and big money guys who work once a year. They’re gonna go through that list...”
But if they go through that list and are still looking for someone? E wants to be ready - and he’s not gonna turn it down:
“... if they can’t get all those guys booked for that Roman spot for WrestleMania, then it’s kind of like, ‘Now who do we look to who works here on a weekly basis who has actually been grinding and now maybe we give them an opportunity?’ [laughs] My goal is, you get what you’re given, and you make the best of it… you tell me the time, you tell me the segment, you tell me the direction, and I’m gonna give you the best I’ve got.”
Unless the man challenging Drew McIntyre at Royal Rumble somehow migrates over to SmackDown after next Sunday’s PPV, I don’t think the Tribal Chief is getting a part-timer this year. E’s big competition is a guy who’s about to become a part-timer... his boy DB. But if that doesn’t come together for any reason, Large Epsilon is ready.
We can tell he’s been thinking about it.