Big E paid tribute to his former in-ring rival and close friend Brodie Lee as he counted his blessings on RAW following his WWE Championship win.
Big E ascended to the top of the sports entertainment world when he cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on the 13th of September edition RAW and became WWE Champion for the very first time. The New Day star had called his shot earlier in the day, telling everyone including WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and his challenger on RAW Randy Orton that he had every intention of showing up on RAW and cashing in the contract he won in July.
Lashley and Orton faced off in the advertised main event of RAW with The All Mighty one able to overcome The Viper and retain his title. There was no time to celebrate however as Big E stayed true to his word and cashed in on Lashley. A short match followed in which Big E had to kick out of a spear before recovering and nailing his Big Ending for the win and the championship.
Now, on the 20th of September edition of RAW, Big E kicked off proceedings flanked by his New Day partners Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. E noted that despite it not being November 25th yet, he was ready to give thanks to everyone that helped him reach the crown jewel in WWE.
In an emotional address, Big E made sure to pay tribute to one star and friend no longer here:
“I’m grateful for all of you below the heavens, and one incredible friend above.”
This prompted the crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina to chant the name of Brodie Lee, who passed away tragically in December 2020 at the age of 41.
Big E and The New Day wore gear that commemorated Lee at the 2021 Royal Rumble. The gear was later auctioned off raising thousands of dollars for a charity based in Brodie Lee’s hometown of Rochester, New York.