GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ettore “Big E” Ewen has a new challenge this spring and summer, but he’s used to challenges.
The former WWE Champion was originally a football player, making it all the way onto the University of Iowa football team in the early 2000s, to a record-breaking powerlifter, to one of the faces of wrestling. Now he’s bringing his talents to Detroit with the USFL.
The Michigan Panthers announced Tuesday that Ewen would be the emcee for all five home games at Ford Field this season. He’ll have the chance to interact with fans during breaks in the action on the field and keep everyone entertained. Ewen said it’s what he loves to do.
“It can be a cliche. We always talk about putting smiles on people’s faces, but it’s something that I truly enjoy. It’s something that is really meaningful to me,” Ewen said. “People spend their hard-earned money to come and sit down to watch a wrestling match or to go to a Michigan Panthers game and they want to be entertained. They want to lose themselves in the game, they want to have a blast.”
Ewen is still working his way back from breaking two vertebrae during a match in 2022. He is making great strides in his recovery he said and doesn’t expect it to bring him any problems as the new Panthers emcee.
“I feel great. I have no issues at all,” he said. “Right now, we’re just hoping to talk to the doctor soon and just kind of figure out a plan forward. But kind of the overarching thing is that my day-to-day life is very, very normal.”
The partnership between the WWE superstar and the Panthers is, even more, kismet as Ford Field will also play host to SummerSlam this August. Michigan will play its first home game in Detroit on April 30 followed by three more consecutive home games.
The final home game of the season on June 18 will also be “WWE Superstars Night” where wrestlers will be a part of the off-the-field action for fans as well. Ewen and the rest of the Panthers promotional team are currently working on ways to “enhance the fan experience.”
“Big E has built his WWE reputation on his outstanding talent and his fabulous personality. Big E will be on screen frequently, where his positive, engaging and outgoing charisma will shine through for fans in the stands and at home.” USFL Vice President of Marketing Nancy McDonald said in a statement. “We couldn’t think of a better emcee for the Panther’s exciting return to Detroit.”
“I just always wanted to be myself, that was always the thing for me,” Ewen said. “Life is hard enough and my hope is that I can be someone who distracts your worries, your cares, makes you laugh a few times. That’s always been my hope, to be that relief for people. Because I think it means something. I think we all need something that we love watching or that takes us away from whatever else is going on in our life.”
The Panthers are 1-0 and looking to continue their winning ways ahead of the home opener, which is expected to have quite the turnout. Ewen has just one message for fans who make the journey to Ford Field:
“Come out, support your Michigan Panthers, we’re off to a great start, let’s keep that great start going. Let’s be there for the first home game, let’s support our Michigan Panthers,” he said.