Former WWE Tag Team Champion Big E was on a recent episode of the WWE After The Bell podcast where he discussed The New Day's break-up at the WWE Draft and his return as a solo star on SmackDown. After it was announced that Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods would move to RAW, The New Day were given an opportunity to cut a promo on SmackDown where they assured The New Day would remain strong. Big E gave his thoughts on that promo.
"I think for us, obviously, we had our promo with the three of us kind of saying our goodbyes, and one of the things that was important for us is we have in-ring promos. It's usually nonsense and shenanigans, but we wanted this to feel real," Big E revealed. "We wanted to let people know how we really felt, and one of the biggest things for me is not just the fact that I spent six years together with with two guys who I call my friends and my brothers, but I think back to all the stuff that we've done outside of the ring as well.
"I think back to the fact that I've seen Kofi's kids grow up. I remember him leaving a European tour because he was having a baby, and he got there just in time to see his child born. I remember Woods being out to get married. We spent a lot of time together, growing together and as far as this period of my career, I couldn't imagine a more enjoyable period. Sure, I could have been world champion. Sure, I could have won more titles. Maybe wanted more money but this has been the most enjoyable--when I when I started wrestling, I never imagined I could have this much fun and that I would enjoy it this much. To me, it feels like a temporary split, like a hiatus more than anything.
"As far as the solo stuff in ring, I know it's been a while, but I got to remind people that I was the second ever NXT champion. I was an Intercontinental Champion. 11 years ago, I didn't start in a tag team. I've been doing this for years as a singles so that part is it new. It's the camaraderie. It's that part of the business that I'll miss."
Corey Graves asked Big E if it frustrates him that many fans forget that he had singles run in WWE. Big E said it doesn't since a lot of things in wrestling are forgotten quickly, and he said it is his job to remind people of his accomplishments outside of The New Day.
"It doesn't frustrate me per se because I know the nature of our business. A lot of our audience is kids, and if you're talking about an eight-year-old, they were a year old or two years old when I won the Intercontinental Championship," Big E pointed out. "I get a lot of time has passed, and with the business works, people forget about things that happen six months ago, six weeks ago. So six years is a long time, but it's my job, in many ways, to remind people, oh, I've accomplished some things on my own as well."
Big E recalled working on his character after dropping the Intercontinental Title and coming up with his preacher promo style. He said it was an attempt to refine his style and revealed that the beats of a preacher were written out for him in his early promos.
"I remember having this conversation with Road Dogg, so the night I dropped the IC title to Bad News Barrett, to Wade when he was super hot. People are losing their minds for him, and I was cooling way down," Big E recalled. "I remember Road Dogg told me like, 'hey, you we need you to come into pre-tapes after this match,' and essentially the message was 'hey, we don't have anything for you. We like you. We want to do something with you, but if we don't figure something out here, it's kind of slim pickings for you.' So I remember going into pre-tapes and trying deliveries and just trying anything, and then finally, it was like, let me just try preaching a little bit and let me see if I can make this work.
"And we did a little bit of that in pre-tapes, and it got his attention. And then I remember after that, I might have been off TV for a little bit, but when I came back, I remember just randomly preaching. I think it was during the time when I was in a program with Rusev, and it just came out of nowhere and was a bit odd, but it was me trying to refine my promo style.
"And eventually, it became less preachy and more naturally the tone I use now, but I remember Kofi, Woods and I often would laugh because in some of the earlier promos, they would write in the 'let me tell you ha ha.' They would write in the 'ha ha.' It was just weird looking at a promo and just see the little preacher beats written in."
Graves asked Big E what is goals are now that he is a singles star. Big E admitted that the world title is always the goal, and he said that if The New Day's break-up isn't for something bigger, then that would be a disservice to the fans and everyone else involved.
"This is actually a quote that I don't remember saying, but I guess I did years ago that sometimes people will send to me. But it's something like, 'if your goal isn't to be world champion, then you don't deserve to be here,' and I feel that way," Big E admitted. "If a world championship isn't something that is not in my immediate trajectory, then I feel like I'm doing a disservice not only to myself but to the fans, to Kofi and Woods. If this split wasn't for something big or important, then why are we doing it? Then it was all for naught."
While Big E has ambitious aspirations for his singles push, he noted that he wants to feel like he earned the opportunity. He compared that feeling to Daniel Bryan and the Yes Movement where the fans rallied around Bryan and felt like they were on his journey with him.
"So that's definitely important to me, and who knows? I think there is something to feeling like the opportunity is earned as well," Big E noted. "I know a lot of times you'll see certain guys who get called up or get moved into a main event picture right away, and whether they get the opportunity and actually win the title or they don't, sometimes I feel like you lose out on something special there because you didn't get to really ride with your guy who go to overcome.
"And I said this to Bryan many times, but I think one of the best things that happened to Bryan was getting Brogue Kicked at WrestleMania in a few seconds and not saying that he wasn't ready or had the ability or had the people. He had all of that, but the fact that people--they felt like they were on this journey with this guy who had deserved it for so long. And to see him screwed over one more time, that feeling of 'man, quit messing with our guy! This is our guy.' I think that's one of the reasons that the roof just exploded when he we finally won his first world title.
"And I'm not saying I'm gonna have a Daniel Bryan type run, but my point is I just want to feel like the opportunity is earned. So I'm ready to jump through the hurdles. I'm ready to kind of work my way up, even though I feel like I've already done that six years in of The New Day and prior to that. I don't mind not having the opportunity in a week or two to have a world championship match. I don't mind kind of going through the obstacles I need to, but that's the ultimate goal is to be a world champion, and that always looks good on a resume of course."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.