Big E has been on the main roster for a little over a year and a half, but has already felt the full rollercoaster ride of a WWE Superstar. He’s experienced the highs, and as of late, the lows. But with time on his side, Big E can really develop into a main event caliber performer. Does he have what it takes, or has he already reacher his peak?
Beginning his main roster life as the heavy for the then Money in the Bank contract holder, Dolph Ziggler, the WWE Universe was introduced to a well-built, yet very athletic, Big E Langston. His in ring debut was at Wrestlemania 29, which he and Ziggler lost to the Tag Team Champions, Team Hell No. After that match, there was not much direction for Big E.
He floated in obscurity for the subsequent months. Ziggler's concussion (thanks Jack Swagger) really derailed the momentum for the faction of Ziggler, Big E and AJ Lee. The former Iowa Hawkeye had no one really to defend for eight weeks, so instead he acted as Kaitlyn’s secret admirer, and stood outside of Lee’s matches with his arms crossed.
After the Ziggler/Lee break up, he had a quick run in against the former World Heavyweight Champion, which resulted in a lost at SummerSlam in a mix tag match. If being the cool down match for the main event wasn’t bad enough, Big E took the pinfall. Not a smooth start for the former NXT Champion.
For the next month and a half or so, he rarely was televised. In fact, I honestly forgot about him and his giant pectorals. Langston, still his name at the time, turn faced, after E saved CM Punk(I miss you) from the dreaded team of Paul Heyman guys, RyBaxel. This did not immediately culminate into a feud with either of these two men though.
Instead, a mini feud with Dean Ambrose began, which found Big E victorious in his title match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. He won via count out, surprise, surprise, and the strap was not placed around the waist of the powerlifting champion.
Big E finally tasted gold on Raw County in Nashville, on November 18 2013. AFter the straps came down, the Big Ending was executed, and an elated crowd erupted his victory over Curtis Axel, who's trite title reign finally ended.
He would successfully defended the title at Survivor Series against Axel, and against Damien Sandow at TLC. None of these matches were all that memorable, and none of the rivalries were really given time to prosper. In fact, I’d say the best title defense he had was against Fahhh-Dannn-Gooo on Raw on December 30, 2013.
The match was given two segment part on the show, and focused around Fandango working Big E’s leg until it was rendered somewhat useless. It was a true wrestling match, and attention was finally going to be given to the Intercontinental Championship again, so at least we thought.
E was rewarded with a quick stint in the Royal Rumble, an awkward rivalry with the Real Americans (he and Swagger had a great match at Elimination Chamber) and then an elimination relatively early in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30.
It was a title reign that had so much potential, that was put off to the side because of Wrestlemania season. A championship tournament was established two weeks after ‘Mania to establish a rivalry with the Intercontinental Champ, right? Wrong! This was used purely to get Bad News Barrett over, which it certainly did, but it also kicked Big E to the curb. Why was he only shown on Raw watching a television in the back during this time?
He finally lost the IC belt at Extreme Rules in a whitewash of a match against Barrett. A title loss does not necessarily indicate a demotion, but in which the fashion he was booked, things were not looking good for him.
Saving Hacksaw Jim Duggan (HOOOOOOOOOOOO) from Rusev resulted in Big E losing at Payback and Money in the Bank. WWE could’ve created a clash of two titans with Big E and Rusev. How often are we able to get not just one but two 285 pounders, who are able to move as smoothly as these two, go at it? Never. And what was the result? Back-to-back matches that last four and seven minutes. I have not been this disappointed in a rivalry in quite some time.
He recently join a forces with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, and truth be told, I cannot even begin to speculate where this is headed.
So now that we’re up to date with Big E and his pecs, where does he go from here? What is not working for him, and more importantly, what is working for him.
We’ll start with the negatives, mainly so I don’t end this piece on a bad note. He needs to establish a personality for himself, give the live crowds a reason to cheer or jeer. Nothing has happened with him that is all that memorable. No going against the grain, no standing up to the Authority, no ruthless attacks on fan favorite. Nothing. Sadly, his rivalry with Rusev did not do him any justice. He was waving the American flag around each week, which is great, but ultimately, he got his ass kicked in both matches. A valiant effort, like getting knocked out by the ring post, à la Jack Swagger at Battleground, gives the fans a reason to root for a face to take out the bad guy. Instead, we get Big E submitting quicker than a Rey Mysterio WWE Championship reign. It's not that the he is as plain as Lance Storm, because he's not. Big E’s Instagram and Twitter showcases his comedic skills, he really is a funny guy, but that personality just hasn't been unveiled quite yet.
It’s hard to comment on his mic abilities just yet, for they have not been unleashed yet in the WWE. He was a formidable talker in NXT, nothing special, but by no means was he The Great Khali. The reverend shtick lasted for about two weeks in June, and I’ll you be the judge of that one.
Next, if Big E could show some emotion when he’s in a match, that would be great. The move set is there, the athleticism is there, but the facial expressions...not quite. If you’ve watch a lot of his matches, then you’d know his face stays like this for a majority of the duration:
These are things that are not from lack of talent, but lack of seasoning. Given more time and exposure, Big E will find what works, what gets him the proper crowd response. Not every superstar is lucky enough to immediately connect with the WWE Universe like Bray Wyatt was able to do.
Now for the positives. To begin, the look is there. He’s a well built, muscular guy, who has physique like none other. Vince had to drool over him that first time he saw him. His traps sit atop his shoulders like two mountains, he has tree trunks for legs and easily the largest chest in the history of the WWE. Bobby Lashley and “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner are the only two performers that have held more muscle mass than Big E does.
His athleticism is also worth raving over. For someone who is 285 pounds, to be as nimble and agile as Big E is a rarity.This unique combination can generate jaw dropping moments in the ring. He can fly off the ropes with more momentum than anyone on the roster, and the air he gets on his splash actually makes the move look devastating. Creative would never allow it, but I wish Big E would include a crossbody off the top rope to his arsenal. Now that would be fun to watch.
Speaking of his arsenal of moves, that’s the best thing going for Big E. The strength he possesses enable the powerlifting champ to toss opponents around the ring like a sack of potatoes. The STO slam out of the corner is devastating, and his spear through the ropes is an automatic mark out moment. Plus, Big E’s clothesline is the best on the roster today. This video is the perfect display of how explosive and powerful his moveset is.
The talent is there, I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that. But it is the small things that he is missing. He really needs to find himself, who his character is, and display those emotions in the ring more to really get over. It’s the little things that get you over, and I’ve got faith in Big E, because I really think that WWE World Heavyweight Champion is in his future. I’m not saying immediately, but in five years, Roman Reigns versus BIg E could easily be headlining WrestleMania.
What do you guys think of Big E? Main eventer or has he already peaked? Leave your comments below, and don’t forgot to follow me on the twittersphere, @ttrill_.