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Big E Knows He Has ‘Massive’ Opportunity Vs. Roman Reigns at ‘Survivor Series’

In a matchup of the company’s top two men’s champions, the pressure is on the WWE champ to deliver.

For the past 446 days, Roman Reigns has stood alone as WWE’s top champion.

Even though there are two top titles for the men’s roster, it is Reigns who is the face of WWE. Reigns won the universal championship in August 2020. Since then, he has elevated that title to the top of every show where he has performed. In comparison, the WWE championship has had six different title reigns during that same time frame, all while Reigns has seized hold of the spot of WWE’s top act.

Current WWE champion Big E is seeking to change that.

Big E will meet Reigns in the main event of Sunday’s Survivor Series, a nontitle bout pitting the WWE champion against the universal champion. This is Big E’s first pay-per-view main event with the belt, and it is imperative to his future that he deliver a performance Sunday that shows he is every bit the equal to Reigns—if not his superior.

“It is massive for me,” says Big E, who is 35-year-old Ettore Ewen. “If we go out there and have the match we’re capable of having, we can have people clamoring to see it again, even at WrestleMania. I know what’s at stake.”

Big E is not Roman Reigns. But Reigns is not Big E, either. The powerful, agile Ewen possesses a charisma and charm unlike anyone else in professional wrestling. He can innately seize control of a crowd, and he stands out as the most genuine, believable babyface in the company.

Approaching the most important match of his career, he views this as a chance to unveil a new layer as champion and top-tier performer.

“This is my opportunity to be the guy,” Ewen says. “And I’m ready for it.”

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Winning the WWE title without selling his soul in return, Ewen has delivered a combination of compelling wrestling in the ring with a handful of especially exciting ventures outside of it. He worked solid programs with Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre, and he is now building a signature story as champ in a program with Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens. He is also insisting on wrestling a variety of opponents, most recently Chad Gable, putting a bright spotlight on his peers.

“When Kofi [Kingston] was champion, he wouldn’t stop talking about Xavier Woods and myself,” Ewen says. “For me, that was so eye-opening. You can be WWE champion and still be so selfless and giving. That’s the type of champion I’m working to become.”

The responsibility and role of WWE champion extends far beyond the squared circle. Ewen has been involved in a myriad of projects to represent the company as champion, including introducing Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder before their prized boxing title bout a month ago.

“Moments like that have felt surreal, but they also feel right,” Ewen says. “I’m the one that got to pick up the mike at the end of the shows during our UK tour. When I came up, John Cena was the guy who did that. I’m so grateful. Life has changed. I’m in this position where I can be the change I want to see in this world.

“I have the ability to amplify what needs to be amplified. Wrestling is a big part of it, but there is a lot more involved in representing the company. I’m really starting to embrace that.”

Sunday will be a key moment in presenting himself as the top star in the company. There is no more magnetic presence or performer that can generate a higher audience engagement than Reigns, but Ewen now has entry to operate on that same elusive playing ground.

“I don’t take this opportunity or responsibility lightly,” Ewen says. “I’m excited to get in there with Roman, and I think we’ll put on a banger.”

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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.