Road Dogg has revealed that he did not believe James Ellsworth will prove to be ratings draw for WWE.
On the July 25, 2016, James Ellsworth made his first WWE appearance under his own name, as an enhancement talent who was quickly defeated by Braun Strowman. Ellsworth gained some praise and subsequently developed a cult following due to his meek appearance and enthusiastic pre-match promo, resulting in him being signed to a WWE contract and drafted to SmackDown. The highlight of Ellsworth’s career will always be him challenging AJ Styles for the WWE Championship during the Champion’s feud with Dean Ambrose.
Speaking on his “Oh You Didn’t Know” Podcast, Road Dogg discussed the incredible run Ellsworth had in the promotion. WWE’s now Vice President of Live Events for the company revealed how he never saw anything significant in Ellsworth and did not believe his story would work, although the comedic wrestler later proved to be a ratings draw every time he was featured on WWE programming.
Road Dogg also recalled the hate he received online from a number of fans who were not a fan of the character:
So this is look, and you can analyse this all you want to Jack, this is some of the stuff that creative decisions are made and they work or they don’t. This one I knew in my head and heart wasn’t going to work, and the ratings went up every time we used Ellsworth. So and like we then had him go in for the title and all kinds of stuff.
And it was just like let’s see how far we’re willing to go, and the truth be told was Twitter was hating life. I mean, they hated my life, they wanted me to take it and some of them wanted to take it. However, it’s just phoney baloney wrestling let’s not get all hot and bothered about it, please. But the proof is in the pudding. The ratings were going up with him in the story with AJ and, and Dean Ambrose at the time and like, I don’t know, man, it wasn’t bad television. It was just out of the norm.
On November 15, 2017, James Ellsworth was released from his WWE contract. However, he did make occasional appearances for the promotion for another year.
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