Ever since his NXT Championship win and main roster debut alongside Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee in December 2012, it was clear that WWE saw Big E as a future star and had some important plans for him in the future.
After the pair split in September 2013, Big E turned babyface and won the Intercontinental title, but his first run as a singles champion was far from memorable, and after he lost the title to Bad News Barrett is seemed like WWE dropped the ball on him, until the New Day came.
We all know that the New Day has become one of the most selling WWE acts in the recent years and that the group gave each member the opportunity to shine under a different light, but in 2020, one year after KofiMania and Kingston’s reign as WWE Championship, the New Day was becoming stale and a change was needed.
In hindsight, the idea of partially splitting the group by drafting Kingston and Woods on Raw and keeping Big E on Smackdown was genius, because it was time for the former NXT Champion to climb his way to the main event. At that time, everyone already imagined Big E as a future Mr. Money in the Bank, and this is what happened on July 18th at ominous PPV.
To everyone’s surprise, Big E cashed his MITB contract on the Raw episode aired live on September lath by defeating Bobby Lashley, and finally became the NEW WWE Champion. His reign as world champion lasted until Day 1, where he got pinned by Brock Les, in a Fatal 5-Way.
Now the question is, how can we rate Big E’s first world championship reign? Was it great or was it a wasted opportunity? On one hand, Big E’s matches have been really good, especially the one against Roman Reigns at Survivor Series and the steel cage match against Kevin Owens, but his booking in general was underwhelming.
First of all, the building of Big E as a legit Mr. MITB was quite underwhelming, because he didn’t have an important rivalry that could make him look strong before the cash-in, except with a small feud with “Broke” Corbin that led to a short and forgettable match at SummerSlam.
And during his time as WWE Champion, Big E has never been booked as the main attraction of the show and even during the building of the triple threat match against Kevin Owens and Seth “Freakin” Rollins which became a Fatal 4-Way with the addition of Bobby Lashley (and then a 5-Way with Brock Lesnar, being announced last minute), the former New Day member didn’t look like he was the centerpiece of the storyline. To be fair, it seemed like the focus was more on the love-hate relationship between Owens and Rollins than on the main champion.
This is why Big E’s title reign was a wasted opportunity, and it would be a shame if WWE dropped the ball on him again by putting him back in the midcarding scene. Big E has everything that needs to succeed at a higher level, in fact he has great in-ring and mic skills, a captivating look and A LOT of charisma.
How could WWE still use Big E as a main event, and give him a proper title reign? The ideal scenario would be making him win the Royal Rumble by dominating it and win the Universal Championship in the Main Event of the night 1 of WrestleMania, maybe against Seth “Freakin” Rollins in case the latter manages to defeat Roman Reigns on January 28th.
And after the title win, WWE should book E as a fighting and champion and make him keep the title at least until SummerSlam where he could lose it against a newcomer like Austin Theory, instead of another part-time veteran. Actually, this is really how you build new stars and make them the centerpiece of the show instead of just secondary characters.