Big E won the WWE Championship and I shed a single, manly tear because he reminded us all what it takes to be a big meaty man.
With all the pomp and circumstance of a tweet, Big E, real name Ettore Ewen, announced this past afternoon that he would be demanding a match for the WWE Championship on Monday Night Raw and the wrestling fandom exploded. The “marks” took to social media to post about their excitement. The “smart marks” let their hate flow and criticized this development from every perceivable angle. And the “journalists” took to their newsletters or whatever to deride WWE for their lackluster plotting, for being reactionary to AEW’s advances and the looming threat of Monday Night Football, and immediately began to contemplate how WWE would simply not deliver. Me? I just wanted Big E to win the f***ing title.
The New Day to myself and many like me are more than just a tag-team; they are one of the last, true, larger than life, inspirational characters that the sport has left. Since their formation in 2014, they have made wrestling laugh, boo, cheer, and cry with their antics and their matches as these formerly directionless wrestlers banded together to better themselves, each other, and, unwittingly, all of professional wrestling. How? By teaching all of us the power and strength that comes from loving yourself.
While I would absolutely love to sit here and recap New Day’s entire career with you, it is currently 12:23 am as I write this. But, the bullet points are as follows:
- Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E were three enormously talented wrestlers and by all accounts fantastic people that WWE creative didn’t know how to market effectively, so they banded together and marketed themselves.
- They were forced to start off as good guys but that didn’t work because, well, they weren’t feeling it and neither were the fans. So they became bad guys, started making fun of all the towns they were in, wore unicorn horns to the ring, made their own cereal, and essentially, were friendly, neighborhood trolls.
- Paradoxically, this endeared them to professional wrestling fans whom embraced them as heroes and The New Day used the momentum to win a multitude of Tag Team Championships (even becoming the longest reigning champions ever), began to weaponize pancakes during their matches as they elevated the tag team wrestling genre, and entered WrestleMania by means of a giant cereal box while wearing Saiyan armor from Dragonball Z.
- With the platform bestowed to them by their stardom, The New Day shunned and rejected every single plotting convention and trope inherent within professional wrestling that demanded them to break up in order to elevate a single member of their trio out of loyalty to each other, knowing that one’s elevation would be a detriment to the others. They used their collective position within WWE to advocate for each other and refused to allow “office politics” within professional wrestling to separate them. And, most astonishingly, embraced their “weirdness” to find new strength. They remained the same fun-loving, rainbow-shirt, manly-unicorn-men they had always been despite professional wrestling conventions that prescribed them to be meaner and more serious and, well, more like what a stereotypical professional wrestler is supposed to be.
- WWE fans demanded more for The New Day and as a result, Kofi Kingston, the most veteran member of the trio, won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35 in 2019. I was in the crowd that night and I have never in my life experienced so much love in one place for someone. Now, Big E has been greeted with the same.
Big E winning the title is more than a wrestling storyline. It’s a happy ending and a happier beginning that we all need right now. Big E began to compete primarily as a singles competitor around this time last year and was asked by many to change himself. He was asked to become more serious and to separate himself from his New Day brethren. But what did Big E do? He said, “nah, bump that.” He doubled down on his colorful wardrobe. He doubled down on making light of his opponents with jokes and jabs. He constantly reminded us of how important Kofi and Woods were to him and his path. And, above all else, he just embraced who he is and showed us that even in our dark times, positivity still has its might.
Big E and The New Day’s success is a triumph for anyone who has ever doubted themselves for being different. Their success is a reminder of how you find strength by being true to yourself. Their success is proof that you can elevate others while elevating yourself. Their success, more than anything else, is just the best version of what wrestling can be. If that’s not what it means to be a big meaty man, if that’s not worth the one single manly tear that was shed as I sat on the bench in my home gym as I watched Big E win the title, I don’t what know what is.
If you don’t believe me, just look at this.
— BIG E IS WWE CHAMPION (@WWE) September 14, 2021
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