Big E's WWE 24 special released on the WWE Network on Sunday, recapping pivotal moments from the reigning Intercontinental Champion's upbringing and his time in WWE. At one point E revealed that he nearly wound up coming up from developmental to the main roster alongside Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, who went on to be known as The Shield. Those plans eventually fell through and E popped up on the roster a month later aligning with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee.
"My first feeling of getting called up was 2012," E said (h/t Fightful). "I was doing loops. Any collective period of days is a loop. It's Roman [Reigns], Seth [Rollins], Dean [Ambrose], and me. There was some thought of bringing all four of us in together as a group. Obviously, that changes, they go on to international fame as The Shield. I was told, 'You're going to be with Dolph and AJ, on your very first night, you're going to attack John Cena.' I'm thinking, 'Man, this is it.'"
The Shield went on to be a dominant trio and arguably the best WWE faction of the 2010s. Meanwhile, E would capture the Intercontinental Championship less than a year into his main roster run but eventually started to flounder in the midcard. It wasn't until he joined up with Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston as The New Day that he was able to let his personality shine through.
"I was able to accomplish a lot as a tag team wrestler in one of the greatest factions of all time — The New Day — but I also want to see how much I can do as a singles competitor," he told Dayton 24/7 last month. "It's been about seven years since I've consistently wrestled in singles matches, and now these last few months I'm getting that opportunity. I want to make sure this run goes... a lot of people have these high hopes for me, which I really appreciate, as a singles competitor for quite some time and I can let them down man.
"There's a lot of, I wouldn't say pressure because I don't feel the pressure, but imagine if over the years someone said 'Man, you should become president of your company. Because you have all that talent.' And for years [they say] man you need to be president. And they finally give you that opportunity to be president and you stink up the joint. And you're late, and you're not doing what you need to do. All that was for not. And that's the horrible analogy that I made for myself so people understand that I don't want to be a bad president of my company. I want people to say, 'Hey man, I'm glad I recommended you for that job. You're doing a great job right now.'"