James Ellsworth recalls how he got his WWE RAW debut

Former WWE wrestler James Ellsworth spent two years with the promotion, from 2016 to 2018.

Speaking on The Chris Van Vliet show (h/t Wrestling Inc.), Ellsworth recalled how he got picked to fight against Braun Strowman on Monday Night RAW. He started off by revealing how he probably got shortlisted because of his size.

When they come to your town, you just email. A lot of times, especially when they’re doing squash matches, they’re looking for smaller guys. Next to the superstar, the smaller guy makes their superstar look way like a superstar than the bigger guy does.

Ellsworth then went on to recall how the potential candidates were all asked to throw a punch in order to decide who faces the ‘The Monster Among Men’ on his Monday Night RAW debut.

They said, ‘Braun Strowman is debuting tonight and one of you is going to wrestle him on RAW.’ Arn Anderson comes up to us all, and he’s like, ‘Hey, whoever throws the best punch gets the spot.’ He pointed at me first and I threw one. Arn Anderson looks at me and goes, ‘I don’t need to see the rest of you guys. You got the spot.’

Ellsworth moment came in July 2016 when he was opposite to Braun Strowman on The Black Sheep’s debut on RAW.

The match ended within a minute as Strowman handed out a vicious beating to Ellsworth in a highly uneven match.

Strowman after beating Ellsworth on Monday Night RAW in 2016. (WWE)
Strowman after beating Ellsworth on Monday Night RAW in 2016. (WWE)

The 36-year-old American had previously appeared as one of Adam Rose’s ‘Rosebuds’ back in 2014. He was later WWE World Champion AJ Style’s mystery tag team partner against Dean Ambrose and John Cena.

In 2017, Ellsworth notably aligned himself with Carmella. He appeared at ringside during her matches and helped her win multiple times, including the first Women’s Money in the Bank match.

Ellsworth had a short feud with Strowman that didn’t last long, but culminated in Strowman eliminating Ellsworth who came in at #11 on 2017 Royal Rumble.

He was ultimately “fired” by WWE after insulting General Manager Paige in July 2018, which was the end of the road at WWE for him.

Where is he now?

Braun Strowman and Ellsworth made their singles debut on the main roster more than 4 years ago on Monday Night RAW. Both their careers took different paths.

Braun Strowman manhandled James Ellsworth in their first match. (WWE)
Braun Strowman manhandled James Ellsworth in their first match. (WWE)

While initially signed as an enhancement talent, Ellsworth didn’t too badly for himself. This is considering the fact that he claims he had a SmackDown contract lined up for him, which didn’t happen.

“So, the major idea that never happened was, originally, I was going to wrestle Heath Slater at SummerSlam and the winner gets a SmackDown contract. I was going to win! That was the original idea to bring me in. Then, Heath started getting over as a babyface doing that.”

In the same interview on The Chris Van Vliet Show, he went on to add that the contract never came because both him and Slater were ‘babyfaces’.

“So, they’re like, ‘Ah, you’re both babyfaces. We can’t do that.’ I got bummed out because I only had the Braun Strowman match.”

Ellsworth now wrestles on Grim’s Toy Show Wrestling (GTS Wrestling) where he has made spotty appearances this year despite being expunged by the promotion in 2019.

Dean Ambrose shouts at James Ellsworth in their tag team match. (WWE)
Dean Ambrose shouts at James Ellsworth in their tag team match. (WWE)

Strowman, on the other hand, has arguably had the best year of his WWE career. The Monster Among Men has won the Intercontinental Title and the WWE Universal Championship this year.

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It leaves us wondering what would have happened if Ellsworth did manage to land the SmackDown contract. At least something good came out of the duo’s match in 2016 as Strowman has gone on to become one of the most influential stars on the main roster.


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