Big E Is Grateful To Be Involved In WWE And Won’t Shut The Door On An In-Ring Return


Time in the life of a WWE superstar is precious. There’s a shelf life, whether it’s injuries, interest, or a combination of both before Father Time comes calling.

For Big E, it’s been three years since he competed at WrestleMania and for the second consecutive year, at least part of his media availability has revolved around questions regarding the health of his neck. He’s had no pain issues, no headaches, no strength issues, and calls himself fortunate that his neck injury wasn’t much worse.

So when posed with the question of how he handles the emotions that come with consistent questions about his potential in-ring return, Big E says he’s just grateful that people still care. Whether he’s aware or not, the interest will likely never dissolve. He’s one of the transcendent stars who is equally as talented as he is likable.

“The product has been so hot, The Rock’s involved, Cody’s been hot, so many incredible things. And the fact that people still care enough to ask how I’m doing means a lot,” Big E tells Uproxx Sports ahead of WrestleMania 40, presented by Snickers and WWE 2K24. “I’m really just grateful to still be involved, to still be with the company, to still be in the mix around WrestleMania time. I could be sitting at home just twiddling my thumbs, but they’ve got me busy. I’ll be in Philly for nine days. More than anything, that’s kind of the takeaway for me is just grateful that people still care.”

Big E says he’s still taking his recovery day by day and doesn’t have any definitive updates on a return to the ring. Despite the annual questions and occasional predictions of a surprise return ahead of big events, Big E says he’s not closing the door on a return anytime soon.

“I feel like that door will be open for awhile,” Big E continues. “It’s one of those things in wrestling where you just never say never. You’ve had so many people during my time in wrestling who were told they can never wrestle again and end up coming back and having great careers. That’s been cool to see people retire and then have this second lease on their career. I wish I had something more concrete, but right now, the door is still ajar.”

Big E calls the idea of him performing in an onscreen role a possibility as well, with others floating an idea of him becoming a manager.

“If I feel like I can offer something that helps to move things forward or helps to elevate the group, that’s something I’d consider. But I never want to be a drag on things,” Big E says. “If I’m the focal point when I don’t need to be, that’s not beneficial to anyone. So it’s just an active conversation. Even the stuff that I’m doing outside the ring, we haven’t had a sit down. It’s all just kind of week to week and things come up. And if it makes sense to do something on screen regularly, then we’ll have that conversation. If it doesn’t, then so be it.”

Big E has been plenty busy over the last few years. In addition to his occasional commitments to WWE, his past work on the NIL program, and his upcoming participation in WrestleMania week events, the former WWE champion was also recognized recently with an NAACP Image Award nomination for his short film that shares the story of Ruby Bridges.

While he’s continued to have success outside of the ring, his New Day partners have paved new paths inside the squared circle. For Big E, his consistent ambition to be better and strive for greatness in everything he does is part of why he, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods have all meshed so well. As they approach a return to WrestleMania as part of the 6-pack ladder match for the Undisputed Tag Team Championships, Big E says he’s proud of how they’ve continued to push their limits.

“Getting to the top is hard, but staying on top is even harder. Staying relevant, having people still care. Kofi is now pushing into his forties, still doing it. He’s been incredible,” Big E says. “It’s one of those things, where I can sit back at home, seeing their run in NXT, what they did with Pretty Deadly. Those guys never rest on their laurels. There’s never a moment where they think, ‘all right, we’ve made it, we could just coast.’ They’re always looking for a new challenge, always looking to take another step and just prove that they are indeed one of the greatest teams to ever do it. I’m just proud to be associated with those two men.”

This WrestleMania could turn out to be one of the most memorable events in recent memory. Big E feels The Rock elevates things to a degree, but he’s excited about essentially the entire card. He says he’s ready for the Damage CTRL match against Naomi, Bianca Belair, and the WrestleMania debut of Jade Cargill. He hypes the Bloodline, Cody Rhodes, and calls this the best run of Drew McIntyre’s career. Big E says it’s hard to pick one match, but he’s really excited to see Bayley get her moment at WrestleMania.

“I think the match quality is going to be great. I love the spectacle nature of things. I love seeing the wrestling gear that people come out with, the entrance stuff. I know Bayley has been pushing for Paramore. Do we see Paramore perform her out? There’s a lot to really sink your teeth into this WrestleMania,” Big E continues.

The only thing missing from the show is “big, meaty men slappin’ meat,” arguably Big E’s most famous contribution to the wrestling community. It’s not something he ever envisioned taking off, but it’s become a staple of social media and can be used universally across practically any sport at this point.

“I think it’s been about five years now. And it’s kind of nuts to me that it’s even broken outside of the bounds of pro wrestling,” Big E says.

“Those are some of my proudest moments, as silly as it is, of my career is the popcorn gif and that silly big, meaty men rant. But the fact that crowds are chanting meat at wrestling shows, that people want a big meaty man invitational at WrestleMania is all pretty wild to me. More than anything, I feel like it doesn’t even belong to me anymore. I feel like it belongs to the people. It’s kind of taken on a life of its own. To have left a mark on the industry in a way that I probably didn’t conceive of when I first started wrestling, it’s pretty cool.”

Unless something changes between now and this weekend, we’ll have to settle for quite possibly a meatless ‘Mania without a certified Big Meaty Men Match.

“You think of guys like an Omos, Otis, Ivar, Bronson Reed are our biggest guys right now aren’t in anything. I don’t know if we currently have [a match] that qualifies,” Big E says. “We might have a meatless ‘Mania. And you know, ‘Mania is going to be incredible, don’t get me wrong. But that’s a bit of a travesty.”

WrestleMania kicks off on Saturday and Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET.







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