As part of the build-up to WrestleMania 37, Rushonrock was invited to join an international conference call with the charismatic and hilarious Intercontinental Champion, Big E. It was at his very first live WrestleMania in Orlando that our roving wrestling reporter, Andy Spoors, witnessed a Mania Moment for the ages, thanks in part to Big E and the rest of The New Day. So it was only fitting he got the chance to relive one of the loudest crowd pops in WWE history…   

Rushonrock: You were right in the middle of one of the biggest WrestleMania moments in recent years when the Hardy Boyz came back at 33. What are some of your favourite fan ‘pops’ that you have experienced personally?

Big E: Man, it’s incredible! Because I think with the Hardys, they did such an incredible job keeping that secret. We didn’t really even know honestly until we got into gorilla (position)! We kinda heard maybe this is what’s going to happen, maybe the day before. But it was just a rumour from someone else who’d heard it, you know? So, it’s like third or fourth party. But we got in gorilla and then just to know that these people, these almost 100,000 people, they have no idea what’s coming and then just be able to take them on…I’m getting goosebumps just even thinking about it! I re-watched, I think Matt (Hardy) posted the clip recently and it’s such a cool moment and even though it’s not really about us, I was just so honoured to even be a small part of it. Seeing people lose their minds for that was incredible.

Also I was kind of a part of this — it really wasn’t about me — but being there for Dolph (Ziggler) when he cashed in. Dolph then, this is 2013, was red hot man and he was an internet darling. But he was the guy that people just wanted to see! Like man, this guy is so good and you’re not giving him that opportunity. And for him to finally cash in and see the Izod centre the day after WrestleMania erupt, that was incredible.

For a lot of us, if you know Undertaker is a surprise or if he’s on the show, it is just finding that spot where you can peek out from the side and through the curtain and just watch. That’s the biggest thing. You want to watch and look at the kids’ faces and see how they react. Look at the 40-year-old man, look how he loses his mind when he hears that gong, you know?

Those are the truly special moments and those are all because of crowds. We’re doing the best we can in the pandemic with the ThunderDome, but that’s one reason we’re so excited to get back to the crowds. All those moments I said, they’re all about just massive crowds and massive reactions. 

I don’t know if this goes down as one of the biggest pops in history or anything, but for me at the time, the pop we had in Brooklyn (Summerslam) when in 2015 we started our 483-day reign.

We won that fatal four way, I think it was Kofi that pinned Darren (Young) or something like that. But as soon as that happened, I remember I could barely sleep that night, because I was just buzzing off the adrenaline and the way the crowd received us. That was us just really getting there in 2015 and really getting people behind us, so those moments and those pops? Man, there is nothing like it. 

ROR: Can you explain the kind of emotion that goes through your body in these moments?

Big E: I was a guy for a while that when I first got in the business, I told myself when I was 23, I said man, ‘I’m going to retire at 35. I don’t wanna be one of those old guys who hangs around.’ And now I’m 35 and I get it though! I get why guys wrestle and women wrestle into their 40s and 50s and why some people can’t let go. 

Because there’s nothing like it man. That drug? That feeling? That euphoria of really having a crowd in your hands and seeing them lose their minds or cheer for you. It’s one of the best feelings you can ever have in the world man. There’s nothing like it and that’s what I think makes our business and our industry so special.

Catch WrestleMania on the WWE Network this Saturday and Sunday to find out if Big E can retain his Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews.