Big E has the potential to be WWE's next big thing—and has had for quite some time.
But WWE has to do it right.
Hot-shotting Big E right into the universal title scene against a powerhouse like Roman Reigns could backfire spectacularly. It has been a long, long time since fans have seen Big E on the solo circuit regularly and away from New Day.
But it's pretty clear flirtations with this in the past have had the green light, with New Day officially split up during the draft.
Sad as that moment was (and thankfully they didn't turn on each other in the process), this is a critical moment for WWE to smartly ride a wave and carve out another Drew McIntyre-style main event-scene Superstar.
Which means reintroducing Big E the solo competitor, the guy with alarming speed and athleticism for his size, never mind his superb ability on the mic. And character-wise, he's always had the ability to be the good guy kids love and the big mean bully after he gets pushed too far.
But it takes time to make these sort of developments believable in the main event scene. Letting Reigns keep doing his thing against family members and perhaps even a returning Daniel Bryan for the foreseeable future would make a ton of sense.
At the same time, Big E could tear through the singles circuit, maybe in pursuit of the intercontinental title. That would mean entertaining bouts with names like Kevin Owens, King Corbin and even the current champion, Sami Zayn.
And as always, Superstars don't technically need title belts to captivate audiences and build themselves up. Perhaps most interesting with Big E is his non-New Day history with guys like Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan.
It wasn't that long ago that Big E was the fledgling Superstar feuding and/or even teaming with Ziggler and Bryan, which made for some of his most memorable solo moments. If WWE can do long-term callbacks for McIntyre against Ziggler to build him up, it can do the same for Big E.
And there's arguably no better combination of ring and mic work in the company than Bryan, so it would be thrilling to see those two rekindle their rivalry in a long-term feud, title involved or not.
The big long-term idea, though, remains making Big E a mainstay in the main event scene. Not a comedy act who goes the disappearing route of Otis, either—the incredibly talented former NXT powerhouse with the awesome theme and brutality in his matches.
It helps that WWE has seemed to learn its lesson lately. The company put a ton of energy and assets, including the entire Royal Rumble, into making McIntyre into the next big thing while taking the torch from Lesnar. More recently, it finally gave fans what they wanted with the Reigns heel turn, which he's ran with in a way that has exceeded most expectations.
An apparent sent of urgency to start fleshing out the top of the roster for the long term should have WWE looking at Big E. He's believable in the ring with anyone, including a Lesnar-type, and few ooze the charisma and character he brings to almost any situation.
Through no fault of his own, it might just take a little longer to get fans reacquainted. And working in the background of this idea that WWE needs to take it slow on this front is world circumstances too. McIntyre had his biggest moments on audience-less shows, and while it didn't hurt his standing with fans or run as a whole, that might not be the case for all Superstars.
In short, there's no reason to rush what seems like an inevitable Big E push. SmackDown's got Reigns at the top and plenty of things to do with that scene now he's heel. In the background, though, there's plenty of wiggle room to let Big E show what he's got before pursuing a program's top title.