Big E won the WWE Championship in the closing moments of this week's Monday Night Raw, giving WWE's Red Brand one of its most exciting moments in recent memory. A week ago WWE had announced then-champion Bobby Lashley would be taking on Randy Orton at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, but the match was suddenly bumped to Raw (and explained in-storyline that Orton had the match moved thanks to his backstage influence). E then took to Twitter early Monday afternoon and outright announced he'd be cashing in his Money in the Bank contract later that night.
While some fans assumed E's announcement and the title match move was a haphazard way of getting people to watch Raw rather than the first week of Monday Night Football, the title change was reportedly planned well in advance. Andrew Zarian of The Mat Men Podcast reported that E's title win was initially supposed to take place on the Aug. 30 episode of Raw, the original opening night for the 2021 WWE Draft. The Draft wound up getting pushed to the start of October, but WWE went ahead with the title change before then.
This was supposed to happen during the original draft date for raw.— Andrew Zarian (@AndrewZarian) September 14, 2021
Glad to see they stuck with the plan. #wweraw
WrestleVotes followed that up with its own report, describing E's victory as "months in the making." The insider reported way back in June that WWE was already planning on moving E over to Raw to reunite with the rest of New Day.
"It's the moments I really treasure," E said in his first promo after Raw. "Man, I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about the moment. I go out, the music hits and the crowd, even though they've seen me a dozen times tonight. To have your peers, fans and these two jackasses (Kingston and Woods) to have every one of their support, it means the world to me.
"I think the dream for anyone in any vocation or craft is getting to do really cool things and to get to the top of your craft, but getting to do it with your friends. I will always remember the three of us just fighting to get on TV, and man, we've been able to do so many cool, incredible things. I got grow so much as a person and a performer because of these guys. I could not have written a better career for myself. I'm glad in many ways that it took so long because it feels earned. I'm glad I wasn't handed things right away, that I had time to grow, to do all the things we had chances to do. I got to live the dream and be WWE Champion, and my best friends came out and celebrated with me. And we huddle and we have these moments that I'll never forget it," he continued.