Wednesday, 14 May 2014

E is for Excellence

I don’t tend to be drawn to overly muscled wrestlers. I gravitate towards high-flyers or talkers (oddly flyers that talk well are a rarity and I’ve only just this second realised that). Body guys generally don’t excite me because, well, they aren’t known for having great matches. The work of Lex Luger, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner and their ilk have created a stigma for that particular strain of wrestler.

But just recently I’ve become appreciative of a guy who is, by any criteria, a body guy. I’m referring to Big E.

His work in NXT had made me a fan of his, albeit not an especially fervent one. He demonstrated that he had a personality and that he could wrestle well. But crucially he never had a match I enjoyed in NXT that wasn’t against a smaller man. There was nothing about his stint there made me think he would be a muscle guy capable of great matches against anyone other than smaller guys. So I expected to enjoy his matches on occasion, but only when he was facing guys who wrestled a style I tended to enjoy anyway.

I was convinced of this throughout most of 2013. Look back at his split with Dolph Ziggler. There wasn’t a single memorable encounter during the whole story. I think it’s fair to assume we could have expected more from that series given ‘The Show Off’s’ ability. I took the fact that it remained utterly average as further evidence that I’d only ever see Big E shine on occasion and that wrestling a smaller, more athletic guy was not a guarantee of a great match form him.

What a man.
Things changed in October when E had a better than expected encounter with CM Punk. True Punk was one of WWE’s aces at that point but it was clear throughout the match that Big E was not a passenger. He carried his side of the match as opposed to simply feeding off of ‘The Second City Saint’.

I’ve seen more of those sorts of performances from Big E this year. Not in any greater number but enough to convince me that he could have an enjoyable match with a guy like Roman Reigns or Batista if it was laid out well enough.

The obvious example to give is his match against Jack Swagger at Elimination Chamber. That was a match between two big hosses that drew me in despite my usual indifference. It was an equal effort and ‘The Real American’ deserves just as much credit for it as Big E, but he didn’t have an enjoyable match with CM Punk in October and he hasn’t done anything especially noteworthy since. Big E had and has. He's also had enjoyable TV matches against guys like Alberto Del Rio, Sin Cara, Fandango and even 3MB.

I think WWE are taking the long approach with Big E, as they are with a number of their younger wrestlers these days. If guys can connect with crowds, either through a catchy phrase or a promo style or being great in the ring, they’re given more to do. It’s what’s been done with The Shield and Bray Wyatt and it’s worked. I hope it can work for Big E too. The idea of him facing John Cena is beginning to sound pretty appealing. As long as whoever laid out Big E’s Elimination Chamber match sticks around I think he’ll shine.


  1. as a big Big E fan, I appreciated (and totally agree with) this blog.