Big E has admitted he was not ready to hold the WWE Intercontinental Championship when he won the title for the first time in 2013.
The 35-year-old defeated Curtis Axel on the November 18, 2013 episode of WWE RAW to become the Intercontinental Champion at the age of 27. He held the title for 167 days before losing it to Wade Barrett at WWE Extreme Rules 2014.
Speaking on Ryan Satin’s Out of Character podcast, Big E said he enjoyed his recent Intercontinental Championship reign more than his first spell with the title.
“Much more, definitely much more, even though this one wasn’t in front of fans,” Big E said. “I think the first one, and this is not by any means an indictment of anyone that I wrestled at the time, I think I just wasn’t really ready, if I’m being honest. Just as a performer, I wasn’t nearly as comfortable as I am now.”
Big E’s second Intercontinental Championship reign began on Christmas Day 2020 when he defeated Sami Zayn on WWE SmackDown. His 107-day reign came to an end against Apollo Crews at WrestleMania 37.
Big E on his first Intercontinental Championship defeat
Despite being presented as a bad guy, Wade Barrett’s Bad News Barrett character was one of WWE’s most popular acts in 2014.
Big E added that Barrett’s gimmick was “super over” compared to his babyface character at the time.
“One of the things I remember from that first run is how over Wade was,” Big E said. “Wade was super over and I was pretty tepid as a babyface. I was a big guy as a babyface but I didn’t have much of a character. I remember, I wanna say it was Chicago, but he was really over. I was not. And as a babyface when you go out there and you try to get people behind you, and the heel is beloved, man, it sucks.”
Big E is set to compete in the 2021 Money in the Bank ladder match on July 18. Drew McIntyre, John Morrison, Ricochet, Riddle, Kevin Owens, King Nakamura, and Seth Rollins will also compete in the match.
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