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Big E gets candid about possible WWE in-ring return after neck injury: ‘They put me in control of that’



Big E gets candid about possible WWE in-ring return after neck injury: 'They put me in control of that'

Big E’s professional wrestling future is firmly in his oversized hands. The former WWE champion has not wrestled since breaking his neck in a match on WWE’s “SmackDown” in March 2022. Doctors once advised he never wrestle again, but the choice is now with him.

“The great thing is they put me in control of that,” Big E told CBS Sports while promoting WrestleMania XL’s partnership with Snickers. “Obviously, I’m listening to the doctors. They know more than I do as far as my health and prognosis. It’s one of those things where my ability to live my life day-to-day and to be in the gym is not compromised at all. But, obviously, getting in the ring and taking bumps, getting thrown on my back and my neck is a little bit different.”

Big E broke his C1 vertebrae in two places when he did not fully rotate over Ridge Holland amid a suplex outside the ring, landing on his head. There was a time when he once felt he had a death wish when it came to wrestling, but the severity of his neck injury has encouraged patience.

“I’ve been doing physical things my entire life, and I never wanted to leave sports hobbled and crippled,” Big E said. “Now, at 38, those are considerations of mine. I want to make sure that I’m making the best decision for myself and for my health moving forward. It’s just one of those things I want to be smart about.

“It’s just a matter of listening to the doctors, taking in enough information, looking at my more recent set of scans and deciding if the gamble is worth it.”

Big E received an outpouring of support from fans and colleagues after being stretchered off SmackDown. Some of professional wrestling’s biggest stars reached checked in, among them “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and AEW star Adam Copeland (formerly known as Edge in WWE), who have their own history of neck injuries.

“Unfortunately, neck injuries are a little bit too common in our industry,” Big E said. “I’ve talked to a few different guys. The thing, too, is all of our scenarios are a little bit different. Some guys have issues with stenosis. Some guys need fusions. I didn’t have neck surgery. I was just in a hard collar for three months. 

“I’ve been so thankful for so many of the guys I grew up loving and watching as a kid, so many legends who wanted to reach out and share what they went through when they had their neck injuries. I’m so grateful to all of them for following me to ask questions and their offering advice has been helpful, too.”

In the meantime, the one-time WWE champion and eight-time tag team champion has taken a swing at broadcast work. WWE invited Big E to a WrestleMania XL Kickoff press conference panel in February where he joined commentators Michael Cole and Pat McAfee, plus fellow former WWE champion CM Punk. He will also be on the panel for the Countdown to WrestleMania XL shows on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. Big E confirmed that conversations have taken place with the company about future opportunities.

“It wasn’t until I boarded the flight to Vegas that I even knew I was doing the panel. That’s the nature of things in WWE. It’s oftentimes, ‘Hey, show up’ and you get things thrown at you,” he said.

Big E received praise for his performance next to some of WWE’s most reliable talkers. It’s something the hulking athlete can see himself doing more regularly.

“I didn’t know what to make of it, and I didn’t know how things would unfold, but it ended up being really fun and the energy was great. It was something I really enjoyed, and I got to be immersed as a fan,” Big E said. “For me to just be able to talk freely has been amazing. I’ve never had the career that Punk has had. I don’t have the fame that Pat has. I don’t have the longevity that Michael Cole has. But it’s been really great that so many fans have been receptive. ”

WWE WrestleMania XL takes place at Lincoln Financial Field on April 6-7 with Snickers and WWE 2K24 serving as presenting partners. The Rock and Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins headlines Saturday night. Reigns vs. Rhodes for the undisputed WWE universal championship will be top billing on Sunday alongside Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre for the world heavyweight championship. Big E’s longtime tag team partners The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) will challenge for the undisputed tag team titles in a six-pack ladder match.

Check out the full interview with Big E below.





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