Big E Responds to Losing the WWE Championship, Not Getting a Rematch at the WWE Royal Rumble

Big E opened 2022 by losing the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar at the Day 1 pay-per-view, then failing to earn a rematch with "The Beast" on last week's edition of Monday Night Raw. WWE's booking for Big E has been drawing comparisons to how Kofi Kingston was treated at the end of his 2019 WWE title reign — losing it in mere seconds to Lesnar, never getting a rematch and barely responding to the loss on TV. He addressed those comparisons in a new interview with Sports Illustrated on Monday. 

"I'm not comfortable being just a guy on the roster," E began. "I'm not good with going back to the way it was before."

On the subject of Kingston, E said, "I don't want to position it as learning from Kofi's missteps. I know what his intentions were, and mine would have been the same. He didn't do anything wrong. But I have learned that losing this title hurts. I love being myself and being entertaining, but you can't go from dropping a world championship to saying everything is golden. This title meant a lot to me, and it meant to a lot of people, too. My focus is clawing back to that spot."

E said he didn't know about Lesnar's involvement in the match until hours before the show and wasn't able to confirm what the plans for the originally scheduled four-way between himself, Seth Rollins (reportedly the winner), Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley were going to be. 

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed to see it end that way," E said. "And it's not anything against Brock. Brock is a very special athlete, human and performer. There is no shame in losing to Brock Lesnar. I took a moment to soak in the sadness. The highs of winning, like at Money in the Bank or cashing in, those are incredible. But the lows suck, too. And that's motivation to fuel me."

Lashley won a four-way on last week's Raw against Rollins, Owens and E to earn a shot against Lesnar at the Royal Rumble on Jan. 29. Meanwhile, Rollins will challenge Reigns for the Universal title at the same show. Though it has not been confirmed, E will likely compete in the Men's Royal Rumble match.