Big E is the new WWE Champion, and don’t you dare be sour!
After calling his shot Monday on social media, Big E cashed in the Money in the Bank contract on Raw and defeated Bobby Lashley to capture the WWE Championship. Big E’s cash-in occurred after Lashley retained the title against Randy Orton in the main event.
Lashley hurt his knee in the match with Orton and tried using the injury as an excuse to get out of facing Big E. Lashley received a slap in the face from Big E to start the match. Big E kicked out of a Lashley spear and delivered the Big Ending for the 1-2-3.
Reportedly, Big E was scheduled to win the title down the line. However, WWE expedited their plans due not only to Raw going up against the season premiere of Monday Night Football but losing to AEW Dynamite last week in the coveted 18-49 demographic for the first time.
It was a great babyface move for Big E to go against the grain and tell the world when and where he would cash in. Most wrestlers exploit the contract’s spontaneous stipulation to sneak up on the champion in a weakened state.
Raw emanated from Boston, MA, where 8,679 fans inside the TD Garden witnessed the historic title change. Big E captured his first WWE Championship in the same building where Stone Cold Steve Austin’s inaugural title run began. This marks the fifth time the WWE Title has changed hands in Beantown.
Some say Big E owes a big thank you to AEW for becoming champion, calling his win reactionary as if it’s meritless. While that sentiment is understandable, here’s why it doesn’t fly.
TV shows compete with each other all the time. After losing to AEW in the key demo and going head to head with the NFL, Vince McMahon needed to do something big. Big E was WWE’s best option, which is a commendable position to be in as a performer.
The 35-year old Tampa, Florida native signed with WWE in 2009 and made his main roster debut in 2012. Big E is a two-time IC Champion and, with The New Day, won more tag team titles than anyone can count (nine). Monday’s win makes Big E WWE’s thirty-third triple crown champion.
The most impressive thing about Big E’s title win is not how well it was executed but how he did it while staying true to himself. Many, including me, felt that Big E needed to change his character to a no-nonsense destroyer to be the top guy.
Big E stated he didn’t want to be a cookie-cutter tough guy and wanted to show people there is value in being yourself. After all, who says you can’t be a vibrant, cheerful, hip-gyrating badass?
Hopefully, WWE takes note of the genuine love Big E has from his peers and fans. He deserves a real run as champion where his character can marinate in the lead role. And please, don’t give him the Bianca Belair treatment when it’s time to close the show on his title reign.
Big E’s win also marks the first time the WWE Championship went from a Black wrestler to another Black wrestler. Often, a Black person losing a title feels like, “Well, that experiment is over.” After Monday night, it doesn’t feel like that anymore!