Knockout Nation: Some wrestlers debut by squashing the biggest name in wrestling and then fizzle out. You made your debut by destroying the company face in John Cena. Were you ever worried that the bar was set too high?
Big E: I can’t say I was worried. But I did take out the face of the company. That is John Cena. There’s no better way to debut. That is the highest you can go. I work with a chip on my shoulder and I put pressure on myself regardless of the situation. In a way, there is that pressure that I debuted at the top. But I always felt that I would be more than a bodyguard in this business. There’s definitely that anticipation that I’m getting that opportunity and I had to run with it.
Knockout Nation: Once upon a time, wrestlers only could make a name for themselves inside of the ring. But you have used social media to get your personality out there to a broader audience. How much has having a social media presence helped build your popularity as a wrestler?
Big E: Twitter has been a key to my success as far as connecting with people. They get to see different sides of me that they probably wouldn’t expect. With the limited amount of time that we have on Raw and Smackdown, we don’t really get to show that much of our personality. If it wasn’t for Twitter I wouldn’t get to show all these sides of me. When people see me, they don’t expect me to have the personality that I do but they realize that I’m both flippant and relatable and that’s been a positive. Like you said, if this had been 20 years ago, people would know me as the big dude in the ring and never see the other side of me.
Knockout Nation: Favorite wrestler?
Big E: Big Van Vader is one of my favorites. When I watched it as a kid, I didn’t realize how great he was. Now I watch his old matches and I appreciate him just as much, if not more, than I did back then. He was down in developmental when I was there and I got to sit down with him. I was really amazed at how technical he was.
Knockout Nation: The WWE merged the world heavyweight title, if the same were to happen with the US and Intercontinental titles, which would you want to take precedence over the other?
Big E: If I had to pick one I’d pick the Intercontinental because it has the most prestige. It’s not just because it is the title I hold. If you look at the list of wrestlers who have held the IC title, the list is ridiculous.