Examining Big E. Langston's Direction, Upside and Long-Term Potential
A monster of a man, a dude you want to hang out with, a potential future headliner; Big E. Langston is all of these things.
WWE has a valuable commodity in Langston, even if he is a man whose bulging physique doesn't fit into the standard Superstar mold. Powerhouses aren't supposed to have as much personality as he does and endearing goofballs don't normally come in such intimidating packages.
Langston has stepped away from the limelight recently. Hopefully, it's only because WWE is gearing him up for a big push.
He went from being Dolph Ziggler's brooding bodyguard to AJ Lee's friend and protector to waiting for his turn on the sidelines. F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "there has been talk of doing a major babyface turn with Big E Langston in the coming weeks."
That's the absolute right move for him.
Although he looks like a monster heel from afar, Langston is just too likeable and funny to not let loose as a fan favorite. There's certainly the risk of having him morph into a comedy character a la Brodus Clay, but should WWE find a way to balance his personality and his power, the company will have a major star on its hands.
The word within the industry on Langston is highly positive. Jim Ross tweeted about how promising he thought Langston's future could be.
Note that none of Ross' description included anything about his strength or muscular look. Those two attributes haven't been enough to ascend the WWE as Mason Ryan reminded us not too long ago.
Instead, Ross pointed to his athleticism, which is a big part of what separates Langston from other big men.
Independent wrestler Prince Nana offered a three-word description of the former NXT champ that is spot on.
@BigELangston is a beast.— Nana (@PrinceKingNana) June 5, 2013
In August, Langston had WWE officials raving during an overseas tour. As reported by F4WOnline, via WrestleZone.com, WWE was "extremely happy with how he worked."
At only 27-years-old, Langston can still grow as an in-ring performer. His work is engrossing as it is, but should he tweak and refine his mat game, his career trajectory will shoot upward.
Bowling Folks Over
The first thing one notices about Langston is his power.
He smashes into his opponents and sends them flying, he hoists them over his shoulder with ease and looks built for throwing cars around. It's his explosiveness that makes him more than a powerhouse, though.
In this match from NXT against Camacho, Langston charges into the corner with speed that belies his size.
It's clear that he's no mere mass of muscles; he's an athlete. Even as WWE piles up the high-flyers and mat wrestlers from the indies from Sami Zayn to Kalisto, power will always have its place in WWE. His strength combined with the ability he's shown beyond that ups Langston's value.
His intensity and passion shine on the screen.
Langston has some of the same engrossing nature in the ring that Goldberg had. There was just something mystifying about seeing Goldberg steamroll opponents, and that's true for Langston as well.
He has yet to have any true classic bouts, but they will come.
Some of his best work to date has been opposite Alberto Del Rio. Their bouts have been hard-hitting and smoothly worked. In a bout between them in May, Langston showed off his ability to make a match dramatic.
Subtle things are on display here; Langston's selling of the superkick, his pausing between attacks to breathe and glare at Del Rio and how dazed he looks after ramming into the ring post.
These are the kinds of skills that will give WWE the confidence to slide Langston into marquee matches.
Adding moves to his in-ring repertoire will help amp up the excitement of those matches. The way that Sheamus added White Noise and the Texas cloverleaf to his arsenal, Langston can benefit from expanding his move set. His toolbox could use a few new additions.
That will come with time, as WWE lets Langston grow. It's his growth outside of the ring that will ultimately determine where his career peaks.
A Following Awaits
There's never been a WWE Superstar quite like Langston before. The list of nerdy wrecking balls who can make audiences laugh is a short one.
The trick is going to be finding the best way to funnel the personality fans see of him on Twitter onto WWE programming.
Twitter will be the death of me. That, or the chitlins. I change my mind. Definitely the chitlins.— Big E Langston (@BigELangston) September 20, 2013
"@sabrinafabuleux: You're kinda overrated just saying.." Clearly. I'll be working hard on my plancha to move up a couple slots on your blog.— Big E Langston (@BigELangston) July 7, 2013
His sense of humor can be odd and his delivery unique, but the connection he made with NXT fans is proof of how letting Langston be himself is the best of course of action. Show him fawning over My Little Pony toys, even if there's no precedent for men his size doing any like that.
His five-count gimmick led to chants of "five!" in NXT. Revisiting that while he's on the main roster may have the fad take off a la Daniel Bryan’s "Yes!" chants.
In the few moments he's had to speak since leaving NXT, Langston has forced us to take notice.
He'll never be a smooth talker in the vein of Paul Heyman, but his aggressive, off-kilter approach to mic work can certainly gain him a following.
In a video hyping SummerSlam 2013, Langston said that he plans to be WWE champ.
Should he maximize all of his physical gifts and be set free in terms of personality, that's an achievable goal for him. WWE has reportedly been "seeking a top African American babyface," per Wrestling Observer, via WrestleZone.com.
Langston can be that guy.
He has the power, intensity and likableness that John Cena rode to his current position. Should the fans fall for Langston as they did for Cena, a similar summit is in reach for him.
Being on top of the company for as long as Cena has is a rarity, though.
It's far more likely that Langston gains enormous momentum for a short period the way that Jeff Hardy caught fire in 2009. We could see Langston headline a number of pay-per-views, should he find the right rival as Hardy did with CM Punk.
WWE's choices will affect him greatly, but in the end, his career path will be carved by the fans.
Should they find his act too odd, he'll struggle to be anything other than a midcarder and enforcer.
Should they give into his magnetism, Langston will achieve his goal of winning the WWE Championship. He will redefine the role of a big man and balance comedy and violence on his way to great things.
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