Big E entered the 2019 Royal Rumble but was eliminated by Samoa Joe. In the lead-up to WrestleMania 35, Big E's New Day teammate Kofi Kingston was attempting to earn a shot at the WWE Championship and after many attempts, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon granted him the title shot after Big E and Xavier Woods defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev, The Bar, The Usos, and Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan in a tag-team gauntlet match.
Shortly after WrestleMania, Big E suffered a legitimate knee injury which sidelined him for weeks. He later returned and eventually earned another SmackDown tag team title opportunity at Extreme Rules. At the event, Big E and Xavier Woods defeated Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan and Heavy Machinery to win the titles.
In a recent interview with Fightful, Big E discussed criticisms of his finishing move: “Yeah, and like, how does shooting someone into the ropes and having them come back work? How does any of this work? Like, it’s an RKO to the body.
It’s a body cutter, that’s all it is. And people love the RKO. Are necks being broken during the RKO? Are guys being knocked out unconscious because—what are we doing? Just be entertained. If you don’t like it, watch something else.
It’s fine!” He continued: “Like 205, a lot of people complain that light heavyweight is a bunch of old guys, it’s stale. But there’s a lot of good young blood. You got (Aleksander) Rakic. And Lionheart (Anthony Smith) looked great in his last fight as well.
He just had the title fight not that long ago. But I really like what 205 is doing. 170 is so stacked right now. 155, I can talk for days and days. There’s a lot of good, lot of great stuff to watch. Valentina [Schevchenko], she’s incredible."