How WWE Booked James Ellsworth Perfectly

BY Fansided and Brandon Carney/FanSided via Daily DDT • December 31, 2016

James Ellsworth went from being a nobody to being one of the most polarizing figures in WWE. Despite this, WWE managed to book him perfectly, and here’s how.

The story of James Ellsworth will go down as one of the most bizarre occurrences of 2016. WWE simply wanted to build up Braun Strowman as a monster, so they brought in Ellsworth to take a beating, get a check, and go home. But the WWE universe had other plans. They latched onto Ellsworth thanks to his chinless appearance and fighting spirit, making it exceedingly difficult for WWE to just toss him aside like the rest of the Strowman jobbers. But what followed was something nobody could have expected.

Ellsworth found himself in the middle of SmackDown’s main feud between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles. An indy wrestler formerly known as “Pretty Jimmy Dream” was now rubbing shoulders with two of WWE’s biggest stars. Unfortunately, this marked the point where some fans grew tired of Ellsworth, claiming he was being overexposed and that things had gone far enough. But  WWE handled Ellsworth perfectly, and here’s why.

First of all, let’s give them credit for bringing back Ellsworth to begin with. WWE are no strangers to ignoring fans’ wishes, and considering Ellsworth doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the typical WWE  superstar, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see them just disregard his fan support, regardless of how vocal it was.

And not only did they bring him back, they gave him a prominent role, which was the exact right move. If WWE was going to commit to giving the fans more Ellsworth then there’s no reason not to go all the way with it. If they’re going to do this, then by all means just insert him into the main-event picture in some way so the fans can see as much of him as possible. They did exactly that and it created some of the most fun moments of the year. He earned a full-time contract by defeating AJ Styles with the help of Dean Ambrose, he turned on Ambrose to close out a pay-per-view, and he got multiple world title opportunities against Styles.

They did everything right as it pertains to booking Ellsworth’s involvement in the Styles-Ambrose feud, and they’ve continued to do things right now that it’s over. As mentioned earlier, fans began to turn on Ellsworth due to overexposure. They initially wanted to see him because he looked funny, had a great promo, and sold Strowman’s beatdown like a champ. But once he was signed full-time, it became apparent that he didn’t really belong alongside some of the best wrestlers in the world.

So what did WWE do? They had Styles beat him. Bad. And then they immediately pushed him down the card and into a different storyline. Now he’s in an on-screen relationship with Carmella, which is not only an appropriate place for him to be, but it gives Carmella a new side to her character as well. And once Ellsworth gets over his injuries, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll begin competing in matches with Carmella at ringside, who will undoubtedly help him win matches a la Maryse with The Miz. That will also make it more realistic for Ellsworth to actually rack up some wins, considering he probably shouldn’t be able to do so on his own given his size.

Overall, WWE handled Ellsworth perfectly. They gave the fans what they wanted and once it became tiresome, they didn’t hesitate to move him into something more appropriate for someone of his caliber. They didn’t force anything, which is really saying something since forcing their own agendas despite what the fans want is common these days. The Ellsworth situation is a shining example of WWE doing things exactly how they should be done.

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