Monday, January 11, 2016

Big E: #5 in the Wrestling Weekday Top 10 Wrestlers of 2015, presented by ESO-PRO

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Since Wrestlemania, it's hard to argue that The New Day have consistently been the most entertaining part of Raw week after week. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and a trombone have all had amazing moments, but the true star of the show has been Big E. With his preacher-style presentation, crazy lines and always impressive in ring skill, he is easily one of the top up-and-coming stars in WWE.

Long time viewers of NXT knew exactly how great Big E can be on the microphone and followers of him on social media know that he's just plain crazy much of the time. As Lauren Price puts it in her nomination: “Glad that New Day has given a chance to show his personality and wit on the main roster vs being stuck as someone’s silent bodyguard.”

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It's hard to believe that 2015 started out so bad for him and the rest of The New Day. They were going nowhere for the first three months of the year, but the failure of The Ascension to gain any traction with fans or the booking committee opened up room for other tag teams to ascend. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd were first, but they were just way too popular with the fans to really remain babyfaces. Enter the happy go lucky New Day, a group that had been booed by the fans since their first appearance on WWE television for being clapping, fun loving guys.

The change came at the Smackdown directly after Wrestlemania, where The New Day used shady tactics to win and Big E made a declaration that I still lament has never been put on a shirt. “We clap so we don't snap.”

From there, it was only onward and upward for the threesome, with Big E often taking the lead. They took the titles from Kidd and Cesaro, dropped them to the Prime Time Players only to win them back, and successfully defended them multiple times against The Dudley Boyz. Since then, they've defended the titles a bit less, but still have been successful in matches against The Usos and the Lucha Dragons. And while Big E never did it alone, his powerhouse style and Big Ending finisher certainly helped them along the ways (though perhaps not as much as Xavier Woods' outside antics.)

In the end, Big E proved he has everything he needs to be a main event WWE player, including the size the company seems to love so much. And while WWE has been notorious for never quite getting behind African American stars as major champions, I suspect that may change in the coming year as a push to that level seems inevitable for Big E in 2016.

As Joe Crowe, who nominated Big E as the very best wrestler of the year put it, “All of New Day is fun, but he brings it every week.”

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