For months, we have been talking about the fact that Big E is finally away from The New Day and will get a shot as a single’s star.
Heck, this has been a topic for years. Long before Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods went to RAW and Big E stayed on Smackdown, fans have been wondering when the big man was going to get his shot at the top of the card. We all saw Kofi get his last year (a dud), and I don’t believe Woods will ever get a main event slot. That left Big E. He had the fans, he had the look, he had the move set, he had the experience, he had the merchandise sales…now all he needed was an opportunity.
Tonight, we may have finally (FINALLY!) caught a glimpse of Big E in the main event on Smackdown. He defeated Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship clean as can be in the middle of the ring, and the ThunderDome fans went wild. It was a long time coming, even though he did hold the IC Title 457 years ago, in which nobody remembers. It was a great moment and something WWE can tout in future holiday episodes, as if to show viewers that yes, memorable things do happen on these supposed throwaway shows. Smackdown was loaded tonight, Christmas or no Christmas. They topped it off with a title change and a defining evening for Big E.
Now the question becomes – was this the beginning of Big E in the main event scene…or the end?
Let’s look at the positive first.
As noted before, Roman Reigns is likely to carry the Universal Championship all the way to WrestleMania 37. He obviously needs an opponent worthy enough for the challenge. I don’t think The Rock will return for the family showdown unless there is a huge stadium to sell out. With no fans, it may not be worth it…so he’s out. Bill Goldberg has teased the big dream match with Roman Reigns; that is what fans are expecting at this point. Their WM36 match was cancelled, so it makes sense that WWE would simply pick up where things left off earlier in 2020. The other two options are Daniel Bryan and Big E for a PERFECT clash against the unstoppable Roman Reigns.
Well, you know how I said Smackdown was loaded tonight? It was. On top of the title matches, we also learned that Daniel Bryan will NOT be challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January as had been rumored. Nope. He has officially entered himself into the 2021 Royal Rumble match! A type of match he has never won. Right now, he is my odds on favorite to last the longest and eliminate the most men…but lose. However, it does give us all pause on his potential Universal Title hopes. Why not get the Rumble title match instead of entering the actual Rumble bout? Makes you think. Could he actually win the Rumble and face Reigns at Mania? Again, if that isn’t the plan, why isn’t he facing Reigns at the Rumble PPV? Interesting.
In my mind, the only other option for the blue brand is Big E. I will note again that if you go back a few months when Jey Uso was thrown into this whole mess, he was replacing Big E who was taken out by Sheamus. Big E was screwed out of a #1 contenders opportunity. Could that come into play down the road? It sure would be months in the making and a little ‘Easter Egg’ for those paying attention.
Now for the negative side.
Big E just won the IC Title. That is not the Universal Title. It may have been in the “main event” spot tonight, but we all know the pecking order in WWE. The IC Title is a far cry from the Universal Title or even main eventing pay-per-views, much less a spotlight at WrestleMania 37 in four short months. Yes, we have seen WM main eventers get quick runs with mid-card titles before. We have seen it in years’ past…but that would mean this run for Big E is very short lived. If that is the case, why bother?
Or Big E is going to get a lengthy IC Title reign, which would mean no main event run in 2021. Or maybe ever. I don’t know. I know he has age on his side, but this really feels like now or never with Big E entering the main event picture. It’s tough to tell right now, and I can’t call it. Was Smackdown the beginning of Main Event Big E or will Main Event Big E have to wait?
By Justin Watry (Twitter: @JustinWatry)