Big E Langston will join the long list of WWE Superstars who have followed up winning the Intercontinental Championship with a world title because he is the star the company is looking for.
His look, build and talents will take him from one championship to another, from the midcard to the main event.
Langston had been promised a shot at that belt at Hell in a Cell and on an episode of Main Event, but the big man had to wait for his opportunity. He knocked off Curtis Axel during Monday's Raw to earn his first main-roster championship.
The Nashville fans celebrated with the newest IC champ, a man who many believe has a promising future with WWE.
The Intercontinental Championship was once an almost-guaranteed springboard to main event status. Hall of Famers like The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Randy Savage first won that title before climbing to the ranks of main eventer.
Recently, it has not provided the same catapulting effect.
Wade Barrett has won that title three times since 2011 and now doesn't appear on TV at all. Before him, John Morrison, Carlito and Shelton Benjamin made little upward movement after becoming the IC titleholder.
Langston is poised to break that trend.
For one, WWE is reportedly looking to reach out to the African-American portion of the audience. The Wrestling Observer (h/t Wrestle Zone) reported in July that, "WWE is seeking a top African American babyface in order to attract that demographic and sell merchandise similar to the way Rey Mysterio has done for the Latin community."
If WWE is intent on this move, Langston is the most viable option on the roster for this role.
Kofi Kingston doesn't have near the same stage presence that Langston already has. It's likely too late in Mark Henry's career for this kind of push. R-Truth and The Prime Time Players don't have the buzz around them that Langston does.
The fans' extremely positive response to his title win is telling.
Given the way that Alberto Del Rio has been pushed—presumably as a means to attract the Latino demographic—Langston's ethnicity will assist him in climbing the WWE ladder.
As someone of mixed race with a Caribbean background, I can attest to the power of a black dude with Jamaican and Montserratian heritage having a special pull.
Race doesn't necessarily determine fanhood, but people often root for folks of their own ilk. Barrett gets his biggest pops in England and the crowd response to Del Rio in Mexico easily surpasses what he garners in the United States.
If WWE sees money in Langston, money that other Superstars may not be able to bring in, expect him to be put in a prominent spot. Expect the World Heavyweight Championship to eventually rest around his waist.
His size also plays a factor in going from the IC title to the one that John Cena currently holds.
Despite signing a slew of smaller wrestlers to WWE developmental and momentarily pushing 5'10'' Daniel Bryan, the company is apparently after more massiveness in the main event. Big Show stepping into the spotlight recently is an indication of that.
PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc.com) recently reported that, "There's a renewed effort within WWE to put larger or bigger wrestlers in the spotlight."
Langston is no Big Show, but if the company is looking for size, the new IC champ's near-300-pound frame should more than suffice. Langston has the kind of bulging build that Vince McMahon is famous for favoring.
While it seemed that we were well past the muscle-centric product of the 1980s, this report suggests that WWE is looking to return to the days of men who look like The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan getting top spots—at least partially.
Langston, though, is more than the sum of his skin color and bodybuilder physique. He is an explosive athlete with charisma in spades.
Lisa Marie Vachon, known as Victoria when she was a WWE Diva, is one of many in the industry who believe he can reach main event status in the near future.
Hall of Famer Jim Ross is also a believer in Langston. In a recent blog post on jrsbbq.com, he wrote that Langston is "a beast of an athlete with great integrity." Of the powerhouse's future, Ross suggested, "He's not even close to reaching his potential."
Throwing him up against Randy Orton and Cena for the major titles too soon would be a mistake, but Langston's power and burst make him an intriguing talent who can grow into a major star. His success and popularity at NXT are a preview of what he will do on the main roster.
A recent bout with Orton provided a glimpse of his upside.
The list of wrestling moves Langston performs isn't long, but there is an energy here that can win over audiences—a rare spark that makes his wins and losses worth fretting over.
Being the IC champ is the ideal place for Langston at the moment. He won't be expected to do much more than have good matches on the midcard. Give him quality opponents and he'll do that and more.
The Superstar the company is seeking is waiting to emerge, now wearing a championship to go along with his singlet.
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