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411’s WWE 24 Report: Big E On Handling Depression, The New Day’s Formation, Death of Brodie Lee, More

February 28, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWE 24: Big E.

411’s WWE 24 Report: Big E

-Another documentary from the WWE as this one focuses on Big E. This should be good. Let’s get to it!

-Air Date: 02.28.21
-Run Time: 53:00

-Big E sits down calmly and asks if we are ready before going into New Day mode asking us to feel the power of his WWE 24 Special. That leads into a preview of what we are about to see as various talking heads discuss the greatness of Big E. He says he is most alive when he is in a wrestling ring and he feels he is doing what he is supposed to be doing.

-Big says there is a big difference between who is he and who Big E is when the red light shines. He was born March 1, 1986 in Tampa, FL the son of a preacher. He would spend 2-3 hours a day in church 3-4 times a week.

-He loved WCW as a kid as we see video of guys he liked: Vader, Simmons, Steiners, and his favorite, Goldberg. His dream was to be able to play football, but his high school didn’t have a football team. That led him to amateur wrestling and he was always in the weight room. He admits he was low on technique when he started and he worked hard to be good. He got the nickname Big E as a Freshman in High School and he became a rather large man when he was a junior. His presence would intimidate other wrestlers and in 2003 he won a Florida State High School Championship in Wrestling. In a nice touch they show the banner hanging in the gym with his name, Ettore Ewen. He won the Title on his birthday and it will always be memorable.

-He moved to Wharton High School due to prep school costing too much, but E was happy as he could finally play football. His was in the weight room benching and the coach walked by and immediately he was put on the defensive line. E got a scholarship to play at Iowa.

-We meet one of his teammates in Iowa and everyone thought he was a junior college transfer. Everyone was blown away when they found out he was a true freshman. E was amazed that he was on track to play as a True Freshman, but he tore his ACL. He did all the rehab and he tears his other ACL and then his pec. Damn! Finally he got on the field as a Red Shirt sophomore and while he wasn’t starting he was playing every game. He then broke his patella and he realized football didn’t love him as much as he loved football. He talks about the mental strain from the injuries and how much it hurt to have something he loved taken away from him. His saving grace was that his coach forced him to see a therapist to talk to someone. He had been an athlete his whole life and at 21 it was all over. Now he was stuck wondering what he would do the rest of his life. He went to grad school in Iowa to buy time and then the WWE kind of fell in his lap.

-We meet Mike Doughty who works development of the Wrestling Hall of Fame and works for Iowa. We see a plaque for Pittsburgh’s own, Kurt Angle. Mike was sitting on a plane next to a guy in a cowboy hat with a maroon shirt and the guy noticed Mike had on an Iowa shirt. He asked Mike if he was a fan and he was and they started to talk and the man in the cowboy hat was Jim Ross. They got off one plane and just happened to get on the next plane as they were both heading to Philly for NCAA Wrestling Championships. JR gave his card to Mike and told him to give him a call if he sees anyone that would be a fit for them.

-Mike talks to some of the guys from Iowa, one of which was drafted by the Steelers. He injured his neck and did the rehab at Iowa and E was still there. He told E that Jim Ross was looking for guys and had an in with Mike and E’s eyes light up at the prospect. This was his chance to be an athlete again.

-We get some FCW footage of E doing his tryout with Dr Tom. He remembers the sole of his shoe flying off, but he just kept going. He cuts a promo talking about himself and how he has competed since he was 3 and now he had a chance to compete again.

-Daniel Bryan next as he talks about how intimidating it had to be for E to come into FCW with the talent they had there with no real background in wresting. Jey Uso’s first impression was “damn, he has some little knee pads,” and then how huge he was. Steve Keirn says that E had the body and needed to learn the skills. Once he slowly learned the next thing was for him to get a character. All E could think about was trying to make people laugh.

-We get footage of E in promo class and it’s hilarious. It was a chance for everyone to step out of their box and E took that as far as he could. Tremendous stuff! He came up with a character called Wendell that was basically a shy nerd with taped glasses. “I have three degrees all from universities outside the United States.” Woods says he was basically Urkel but would snap and become a monster when he was angry.

-The weight room: E heads to the weight room as he tells us the gym has always been part of his life. He started lifting when he was 12. He used to run to the garage when commercials came on to bang out some reps and then get back inside to whatever he was watching. Nice! Power Lifting has been great as you have a 5 second window to give everything you got. He got into it through Rob McIntyre who saw him and said he looked strong. He would take him to contests in Florida and he started setting records. Naturally, Mark Henry is here as a talking head because who else would they get on this subject. He joked that he could tell E liked bench press because of the shape of his upper chest.

-They discuss working out in John Cena’s gym and Uso jokes that Big E must be half X-Men for how strong he is. Cena was filming for his build-up to his match with The Rock and he told E if he broke a bench record in the gym he would make sure it was put in his documentary. Roman was there spotting him and the place erupts when E pulled off the bench and then everyone gave him a slow clap. Awesome! Woods walked up to him and told he was the strongest man on the planet and Cena writes the record bench on his wall of 575 lbs. Damn! Cena has everyone give E one final slow clap. E thought it was cool that Cena had the moment on his documentary because nobody outside of the fans in FCW knew who he was at the time.

-NXT: May 2012: NXT was formed and moved to Full Sail and E was the dark match of the first show against Woods. He was given the 5 count gimmick by Dusty Rhodes and they mention it was a gimmick King Kong Bundy had. The fans though fell in love with it and chanted along or chant for one more time. E got how wrestling was a drug when he started to connect with a crowd.

-E started to feel he was going to get called up in 2012 as they had him on the loops with Seth, Roman, and Dean. The initial thought was to put all 4 of them together as a group, but they went with a 3 man team and The Shield went on to International fame and success. Next E was told he was going to be paired with Dolph and AJ Lee and on his first night he would be attacking John Cena. Well, yeah, that’s a pretty strong start. Also, I miss AJ Lee!

-E thinks it was what he needed as it gave him a chance to grow. It was weird as he was in NXT a the NXT Champion with his 5 count gimmick and on the main roster he was a silent, bad ass body guard. Ziggler says that E was the best guy to watch his back as he was a jacked bad ass playing off his smug, cocky attitude. Dolph used to joke to E that he and AJ were his parents and he will still tell him that in the ring. Nice!

-WrestleMania 29: Big E makes his main roster in ring debut in a tag match against Kane and Daniel Bryan and yeah, that’s kind of crazy. Bryan says he would have pooped his pants if that was his debut match.

-Nov 18, 2013: Big E wins the IC Title from Curtis Axel. E says he wasn’t comfortable with that first run as he still walked around on egg shells. He cringes looking back at some of the promos he cut during the period. He drops the Title to Bad News Barrett in May of 2014, Big E remembers the press conferences they had after PPV and he had free reign there to show his personality. Oh man, I forgot all about those!

-Ziggler mentions that at some point you realize you have to stand up for yourself. Kofi says that E was never given the chance to express himself and how getting 0 reaction from the crowd is the worst thing that can happen.

-By Sept 2014 Big E was on Main Event working Seth Rollins (definitely not the matches we get on Main Event now) and after the match Harper (RIP) came up to him to tell him the match was good. Harper told him that he showed the office that he could be doing more. That meant so much to E and it made him think that he was right.

-The idea came for New Day long before they became New Day as they wanted to be a faction and pitched it to Michael Hayes. They traveled together and started making their own vignettes and realized they had something. They didn’t just want to pitch something to Vince, but they wanted to show him something. After months of this Vince told the 3 of them he had an idea and it was for them to be preachers. E knew he could do it because he grew up in the church, but this isn’t what they wanted.

-Their biggest thing was even if the idea wasn’t good people would see their chemistry. Kofi: “people started rejecting us.” No kidding! They decided to just try to make themselves laugh and it connected with Vince. The fans finally picked up on the fact they were just 3 guys having fun and everyone now wanted to be included.

-They discuss what Big E brings to the group as he looks so intimidating but then he makes snow angels in the ring and grinds his hips. Daniel feels it was the combination of the 3 that pushed all of them as we see Kofi beating Bryan for the WWE Title at Mania. Woods says they aren’t related by blood, but by experience and it is not a wrestling gimmick. We see video of all 3 of them giving Vince a group hug at Gorilla. E never knew he would make a bond like this in wrestling and he is so grateful for it.

-Woods talks about their position in the group as role models for everyone and not just young black people. They want everyone to know you can wake up in the morning with 2 decisions: the right one and wrong one and while the wrong one is easier, the right one is the right one for a reason.

-We jump to the racial issues following the death of George Floyd. E mentions that it felt personal and real for someone he never knew. E tells a story of having a car he was riding in pulled over because the driver was also black. The police got word there was a gun in the car (there wasn’t) and a cop had a gun pulled on E’s face. Wow! That leads to SmackDown as E felt they needed to do something, so he and Kofi took a knee on SmackDown and raised a fist. Someone painted the image and they decided to paint it and put it on a shirt to raise money.

-E talks about their ring gear and how they wanted to do something like School House Rock. They wanted to educate people on things that have happened hundreds of years in black history. We meet the guy who creates the gear and Mark Henry mentions he called them to ask, jokingly, why his picture wasn’t on their gear. Woods talks about how people see E and think he is a muscle head guy, but he is a lot more obviously.

-Kofi talks about how people always think New Day is going to turn on each other like every other faction. That was something they wanted to avoid. It just happened that Woods and Kofi both got injured at the same time and E was given a singles push. E mentions that people felt he joked too much and needed to be serious. That leads to Talking Smack (08/21/20) where The Miz calls E out for not being serious enough. My review of that show is here. Mark Henry admits he was one of those people that wanted E to be a stereotypical monster big guy. “You can find others who can be big and serious,” -Big E. There are times he wants to snap, but he feels warm those times when he can make people laugh and smile. I appreciate that Big E wants to be different and not just the ass kicking, emotionless, monster. Mark Henry admits he was wrong and sometimes acts like the old man yelling for people to get off his lawn.

-SmackDown: Dec 25, 2020: Big E gets to close the show against Sami Zayn for the IC Title. E says Tropicana Field is 45 minutes away from where he grew up. E says this run for him is about drive and focus as he wants to get to the top of the industry. Sami is great and Big E was great and they delivered a wonderful match that E wins clean with The Big Ending to become the IC Champion for a second time. Good moment for E to close The Christmas Show as the IC Champion with confetti falling down.

-E gets a standing ovation as he gets back to Gorilla with Cesaro, Nakamura two of the first to greet him. He gets a big hug from Vince and then celebrates with some of the women in the back. I will see it is nice seeing a lot of the people in the back wearing masks.

-E says he knew he was ready this time and he is grateful for this moment. He knows he doesn’t get there without Woods and Kofi. He is playing for a team still and he doesn’t want to disrespect what what they have all done. He wants this run to mean something and it is on him.

-Oh man, they touch on the death of Harper/Brodie. Woods starts tearing up just talking about it and man, this is still tough. E says it was very hard the day Lee passed. He says he was fortunate to know and love him and they want to always honor his memory. They show New Day sporting the Brodie gear at The Royal Rumble. Woods says the silver lining was it brought a lot of people closer together.

-E heads to his barber for a cut and says he has had 2 haircuts that were done by someone else and he felt like he was cheating on this man. His barber is Big Jay and they film videos together for social media.

-The wrap up talking about how things happen for a reason and Kofi says it trips him out that if that one person at Iowa didn’t ask E about trying pro-wrestling does he get here? It took one person to think of him. Woods says he would easily take a bullet for E and he can’t imagine how big his future is going to be. E hopes he has made us laugh and he hopes the WWE is a better place when he leaves and he hopes the same can be said for the world when he leaves.

-The WWE Documentary crew does it again with another wonderful piece. Just so much good stuff here and it can’t be said enough how fantastic it is that these men and women open up their personal lives to let us at home get an idea of what makes them tick. I don’t know if it is because I am a life long wrestling fan that I find this so interesting or what, but the crew behind these documentaries deserve recognition. Big E was wonderful here as he covered everything openly and honestly as he talked his struggles with injuries at Iowa and the criticism that he isn’t serious enough. I also credit them for touching on the relationship E and Brodie had. Overall this is well worth watching and it just makes you want to see E get to the top of the WWE. Thanks for reading!

article topics :

Big E., WWE 24, Robert Leighty Jr.