SummerSlam Heatwave Tour comes to Ottawa and I had the opportunity to talk with “Big E” Langston before it happened!
I’ve always been a pro wrestling fan.
The spectacle. The electric audience reactions. Corny jokes and bad acting. Memorable entrance themes. Those moments where the underdogs vanquish the evildoers and we all collectively swell with triumph. As a child, I lived for those moments. As an adult, I sometimes still do.
So when Sound Check Entertainment asked me if I’d like to interview a bonafied WWE superstar for my next assignment, I couldn’t help but get excited. And when I found out it would be “Big E” Langston of megastar faction The New Day, I couldn’t even contain my excitement.
You see Big E isn’t merely a 300 pound, bodybuilding super athlete who has been decorated and successful on paper (one Intercontinental championship, one NXT championship, and three world tag team championships) but as an integral part of “The New Day,” Big E and his tag team partners not only took a challenging gimmick and made it work, but they made it explode.
The New Day is a merchandising juggernaut, and the team is widely considered one of the most successful superstar creations of the last decade, not merely exceeding expectations, but actively setting the bar for future teams and concepts.
When I chatted with Big E over the phone all the way from WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut about the upcoming Summerslam Heatwave Tour that is rolling through south eastern Ontario, it was obvious to me that, in spite of his very notable success (The New Day literally just hosted Wrestlemania in front of 70,000 people this past April, receiving more on screen time than most superstars actually performing on the card), Big E was not only grateful for his momentum but recalls a time when that success was still very much out of reach.
“I can remember when Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank and won the World Heavyweight Championship and I was at ringside and it was to this day, one of the loudest crowd pops I have ever been apart of, but I can also remember being off of television for six weeks not long after that,” explained Big E. “I remember when they (the writers and producers) talked about sending me back down to NXT (developmental) to work on character development. And of course the journey of The New Day and how we came to be has been well documented.”
When asked if there were other superstars he came up with that he was surprised didn’t make it to the limelight he recalled massive bodybuilder Mason Ryan. “There was a guy who at the time had the look that the company was still chasing, and his debut and build left a lot of us expecting big things.” Big E seemed to admit that the business has changed from the days of giants to a time of more agile superstars, but doesn’t fear being left behind as the culture evolves.
“You’ve got guys that we all knew had something about them like (former WWE Universal Champion) Kevin Owens, who brings something very fresh to the table. Or (former WWE World Champion) AJ Styles who I wasn’t sure would receive the type of pop he did when he debuted at the Royal Rumble, but people embraced him. He’s a fantastic athlete and can hold his own on the microphone. He deserves his success.”
But Big E didn’t mince words when asked about his own goals and future plans. “I want to be a world champion and headline Wrestlemania. That’s what we are all shooting for.”
When asked about his excitement to return to Canada, Big E could hardly contain his enthusiasm. “Canada means so much to the lineage of our business. So many of our superstars come from Canada, and we always have such a great time. I know a lot of people have been clamoring for a Wrestlemania in Canada for a lot of years, and I think that could be a possibility in the future. I’d love to see it happen.”
Big E and his WWE superstar colleagues perform at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa tonight (August 6th), before heading to Kingston’s K-Rock Centre on Monday. Grab your tickets now!