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Big E’s early slate of opponents bodes well for his title reign

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Big E (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

WWE Championship match

When Big E won the WWE championship last month, there was much joy. And rightfully so. The dude is awesome. But within that joy, there was apprehension. Apprehension that like his New Day brother Kofi Kingston, it would be a disappointing reign that could leave a sour taste in our mouths.

While there are reasons that very well won’t be the case, it’s an understandable worry. WWE has not earned much benefit of the doubt with their overall creative or with their historic treatment of booking Black performers, despite some improvement in that latter point in recent years.

Only time will tell if any fears were warranted, but very early results seem promising, at least when you look at Big E’s early competition.

After Kofi Kingston’s emotional WrestleMania moment, his reign almost immediately felt underwhelming. Much of that had to do with the strength of his challengers. After defeating Daniel Bryan, he went on to have feuds with Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Samoa Joe. Yes, two of those guys are former champions, but do they really feel like big threats? Or do they feel like upper midcard guys? Samoa Joe should have been a big deal on WWE’s main roster, but a mixture of creative not pulling the trigger and then injuries derailed that. In his half year reign, the only real challenge for Kingston came from Randy Orton, but even he’s a somewhat part time guy who may not have another WWE title run in him.

Then when the first real, legit challenge presented itself, Kofi Kingston lost in 8 seconds. It all sucked pretty hard. Luckily for the Powerhouse of Positivity, his early reign has had some stiffer competition.

Big E’s win came off Bobby Lashley, a man who was booked like a powerhouse for the last year. The Almighty rarely lost and often dominated. (He’s another man who beat the breaks off poor Kofi.) The new champ had to overcome the second most dominant wrestler in the company to win his title. And then he had to beat him in a cage match to defend it - a match which he won decisively.

Now E moves onto Drew McIntyre. Like Lashley, the Scotsman is also strongly positioned on the card, not too far removed a strong WWE title run himself. McIntyre is still positioned like a top guy in the company, only behind Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley at this time if you don’t include part timers. It’s a stronger challenger than Kofi had until months into his title reign and a hopeful sign that Big E will receive more prominent title programs going forward.

The less said about the actual build to this match, the better. It’s basically been three weeks of two guys trying to coexist in tag matches. But the match itself should be a blast, two big guys tossing each other around. Big meaty men slapping meat if you will.

It’s also a match that Big E should win. Drew McIntyre is on his way to SmackDown so it would make zero sense to put the belt on him prior. This is just a good chance for Big E to get another notable win before the new draft rosters officially lock in. And this shows that WWE wants to get Large Epsilon a match with one of their stars while they still can.

Now it’s surely possible that they try to protect Drew to set him up as a future opponent to Roman. But they shouldn’t. A clean win will give E a strong start to his championship reign, one that could start to assuage the fears of fans who worry WWE is going to do Big E wrong.

It will take time before we really can judge the strength of Big E’s championship run. But title programs with Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre is a good way to start it off.

Big E will defend his title against Drew McIntyre this afternoon at Crown Jewel, starting at 12 PM ET on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else. Keep it here to CagesideSeats.com for all of your Crown Jewel coverage.

Poll

Who will win this match?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Big E
    (171 votes)
  • 6%
    Drew McIntyre
    (11 votes)
182 votes total Vote Now