Happy Wednesday TJR faithful, and a belated Happy Holidays to you all. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday season (I know I did!), but now that Christmas and New Years have passed, I’m back to write about the characters (or lack thereof) in the WWE.
Just as the Holidays approached, a hulking new superstar by the name of Big E Langston debuted as the muscle behind AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler. I’ve been a fan of his work on NXT, but was genuinely surprised to see him called up to the main roster, especially so soon after he became NXT Champion. That being said, he provided me with a wonderful subject to analyze for my first edition of A Matter of Character for the year 2013.
I will analyze Big E’s character and point out his strengths and flaws, as I perceive them, while making suggestions for improvement where I can. So enough wasting time, Let’s Do This!
As arguably the strongest man on the WWE roster, Big E Langston is without question a very physically imposing individual. A man that can squat 711 lbs, Bench Press over 500 lbs and Deadlift nearly 800 lbs is a serious threat to the well-being of anyone he steps in the ring with. At 26, he is also one of the youngest Superstars on the main roster and hopefully (barring injury or a major setback) has a bright future ahead of him. Is he an in-ring technician? Not at all, but he moves around well for a man of his size, and has power that is virtually unmatched. He has years to improve his “wrestling” and in the mean time can provide the WWE Universe with entertainment.
I think Big E has a great look. There really isn’t anybody in the WWE that looks quite like him. Some people have said that his height may be an issue, but standing in at 5 ft 11 in helps him stand out even more. He isn’t just a giant muscled up meathead, he is a bit short by WWE’s standards, but packs every bit as much punch as the taller WWE Superstars. Aesthetically he stands out from the pack, and that’s a really important factor in getting over and becoming a star in the WWE.
In FCW/NXT, Big E was the strong silent monster. He’d show flashes of extremely high intensity, as if his body couldn’t contain its own immense strength, but would quickly return to his reserved, all business, I’m about to kick your ass stare. The thing is besides those flashes of high intensity, we never got to know about who Langston was as a person in Developmental. He was simply the most powerful guy in the locker room that would come out week after week and dominate his opponents. If I could say I learned anything about the man behind the monster during his time in FCW, it’s that he can tend to be a tad overzealous when it came to annihilating his opponents (which made him a favorite of the Full Sail University crowd at the NXT Tapings).
Now that he’s on the main roster, he’s even quieter and more reserved than he was in developmental. He says nothing and he doesn’t show any of the energy that he would show before. He simply stares intensely, and pounces when he’s instructed to by AJ. I’m assuming over time that he’ll become less robotic and incorporate more of what made him a fan favorite on NXT. He has some star quality that’s hard to quantify or explain, but if you let him do what he was doing before, I’m certain he’ll create a following for himself on the main roster.
WORDS & ACTIONS
Big E was a man of few words in FCW/NXT, but when he did speak, it usually wasn’t all that impressive. The shorter his promos were the better. The fact is he’s never going to be confused with microphone wizards like The Rock, CM Punk, or John Cena (at times). Big E’s delivery has always seemed very forced and very scripted. That being said, there have been superstars that have succeeded despite their promos coming across as scripted down to the last letter, so I don’t anticipate that this will be a huge hindrance on his career. I’m hoping that over time he will improve his promo ability, and if he doesn’t he can always remain the strong silent type.
The emotion that Big E lacks in his speaking comes across loud and clear in his actions. The pride he took in keeping his opponents down for a five-count in NXT was evident in his facial expressions and body language. The enthusiasm with which he would excessively assault his opponents after each match at the behest of the live crowd was unmistaken and exciting. Big E has shown an uncanny ability to connect with a live crowd without uttering a syllable, which is a skill very few people in the business have. It’s definitely part of why he was the darling of the Full Sail NXT live audience.
As a professional Powerlifting competitor, it’s obvious that what drives Big E Langston is challenging himself. You’re always trying to out do you competition and yourself by setting new personal bests. I’m certain that he would bring the same attitude to the world of professional wrestling. That’s why he insisted that he keep his opponents down for a five-count instead of the ordinary three-count. He wants to outdo everyone and more importantly challenge himself. He is never satisfied and is always looking to improve.
This quality is certainly one of the reasons that audiences became enamored with Big E. Everyone wants to improve themselves on some level, and you can admire a character that’s entire existence is predicated on challenging himself and overcoming any and all boundaries. In a weird way, he’s an inspirational character and more people should aspire to improve themselves the way Big E Langston does week after (as far as his NXT character is concerned). If it were up to me, he’d have these same principles on the main roster, and I’m hoping that eventually his character returns to its NXT roots on the main roster.
He is the source of most of his conflict. He makes things harder than they need to be for himself to push his body and ability to the limits. He is obsessed with stacking the odds against himself, and it is that obsession and commitment to challenging himself that fosters more conflict and emotion for his character than any other character in the WWE Landscape could.
I was surprised to see him get called up to the main roster, as I thought he could use more seasoning in developmental. He debuted as some kind of enforcer, or bodyguard, or mercenary for AJ Lee. The nature of their relationship has yet to be explored, but he has made an impact, leaving John Cena laying on more than one occasion. Has his introduction been perfect? I’d say no, because we know nothing about him (part of which can be attributed to debuting around the holidays when WWE TV gets ridiculous and real storylines and characters are not progressed).
I’m willing to see where this goes and hoping that the reveal of his relationship with AJ is worth it, but if I had control of his character, I’d be building toward a feud with Mark Henry. It would be a very long-term build, which would start with Mark taking Big E under his wing. They have similar backgrounds and I could see Mark helping him navigate the WWE’s landscape once his run with AJ and Dolph is up. I’d make Langston and Henry a dominant and monstrous tag team. They’d pummel and annihilate anyone in their path much like the APA did back in the attitude era (I’ve been dying to see another powerhouse tag team like the APA).
After multiple tag team title reigns and more that a year of teaming together, Big E would turn on Mark. Jealousy would be the catalyst for the betrayal. Big E has never been able to match or exceed the powerlifting records set by Mark Henry. Langston knows that the only way to surpass Mark as the strongest man in the WWE, is to eliminate him from the WWE.
I think a Big E Langston and Mark Henry pairing would be a fun and dominant tag team, and their eventual feud would make sense and be compelling to watch play out.
There you have it, but what do y’all think? How bright is Big E’s future in the WWE? Do you get why/how he created such a cult following for himself in developmental? Once you go Ryblack, can you ever go Ryback?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying Happy New Year! Let’s make 2013 a memorable one!