Despite writers being unsure of the idea, Vince McMahon was determined to put James Ellsworth in the main event.
Ellsworth made his WWE debut in 2016 as an enhancement talent and was quickly defeated by Braun Strowman. However, things turned around for the star when he faced AJ Styles in a bout with Dean Ambrose – now AEW’s Jon Moxley – as the guest referee.
Ambrose was in a feud with Styles over the WWE Championship at the time and happily aided Ellsworth in getting a shock win Styles. The following week, he got a shot at the title himself, which he won, albeit by disqualification.
The audience quickly got behind the unlikely star and he faced Styles several more times and won a WWE Contract by defeating him in a Ladder Match – again with Ambrose’s help.
Vince McMahon made the decision to keep James Ellsworth in the main event scene
According to Road Dogg on the latest episode of ‘Oh, you didn’t know…’, the idea to keep Ellsworth and Styles’ rivalry going was all down to the insistence of Vince McMahon, who saw that fans were invested in the star.
“And Ellsworth. I’ll tell you whose idea a lot of this stuff was with Ellsworth, and that’s Vince McMahon.
“Man he saw it, and he was right. When it comes to ratings, which is how you judge if somebody is right or not in the TV business, we did well with Ellsworth.
“Like it was Ellsworth and AJ, and Ellsworth and Dean Ambrose, what are we doing here? And it was like, ‘No, sir. No, we don’t want to put him in the main event again,’ and he’s like, ‘God you have to.’
“And he was right. Every week it did better and better, it was like people just had to see what we were going to do here, you know? So yeah, I don’t know. It was a good time.”
Following the fued with Styles, Ellsworth allied himself with Carmella and was pivotal in her victory in the first-ever Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder match. Their relationship came to an end when he was defeated by Becky Lynch in an intergender match and then attacked by the Staten Island Princess.
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