Amidst the high-flying action and showmanship of WWE, it's the unsung heroes who often sculpt the megastars fans come to adore. WWE superstar Big E recently shone a light on one such figure from his developmental days — former NXT talent Michael Tarver — crediting him for invaluable in-ring psychology lessons that have been pivotal in his journey to stardom.
In an enlightening discussion on the "UnDrafted AllStarz Podcast Show," Big E opened up about the influences that shaped his wrestling career. Beyond the technicalities of the sport, it was Tarver, a member of the original Nexus faction, who imparted the essence of wrestling psychology to the future WWE champion.
"People don’t often recognize him, but Michael Tarver truly impacted my approach to the sport. He was the first to sit me down and delve into the psychological aspect, teaching me to embody the larger-than-life presence required in the squared circle," Big E expressed with a hint of reverence.
Tarver Mentors Big E
Tarver's own wrestling journey intersected with Big E's during their formative years in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's former developmental ground before NXT's inception. Post his recovery from a groin injury in late 2010, Tarver sparred with Big E, then a burgeoning talent, fostering a mentor-mentee dynamic that's still cherished today.
While Big E's gratitude to Tarver is heartfelt, he also acknowledges the substantial growth he experienced while squaring off against industry legends, particularly 16-time world champion John Cena. The lessons from the ring with Cena, coupled with Tarver's early mentorship, have undoubtedly been instrumental in the powerhouse persona and ring acumen Big E embodies today.
As Big E's star continues to rise within the WWE universe, his nod to Michael Tarver serves as a reminder of the foundational figures in wrestling — those who lay the groundwork for superstars before stepping out of the spotlight.
It's a humbling homage that adds depth to Big E's character, both in and out of the ring, resonating with fans and aspiring wrestlers alike, all the while contributing to the tapestry of wrestling's rich legacy.