WWE News: Original plans unveiled for James Ellsworth at SummerSlam
James Ellsworth beat AJ Styles three times, but he was originally pencilled in to face another former champion
What's the story?
Well, there has never quite been a story like his.
James Ellsworth - one of WWE's most unlikely success stories - recently appeared on Talk Is Jericho to open up about his time in WWE, and spoke about how he was meant to initially be used in the company.
In case you didn't know...
James Ellsworth was released from WWE in November after an incredible 16-month run that no-one could have predicted.
While his tenure ended with a defeat to Becky Lynch in WWE's first intergender match in a decade and being Superkicked by on-screen partner Carmella, the man who was originally brought in for a single enhancement talent match against Braun Strowman had quite the run.
His promo about "any man with two hands having a fighting chance" and his unique look won over the WWE Universe, and he went from being "squashed" by Strowman to pinning World Champion AJ Styles several times in the space of just a few months.
After his defeat to Strowman, an online campaign saw Ellsworth get officially signed to WWE, main event SmackDown Live several times and even get his own T-shirt, but it all could have been very different if the initial pitch for him worked out.
The heart of the matter
James Ellsworth recently spoke to Chris Jericho on Talk Is Jericho about his time in WWE, and he spoke about his time working with Braun Strowman, Miz, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Becky Lynch and Carmella.
However, Ellsworth was originally pitched to face another former champion!
Ellsworth waited six weeks on a call from WWE after his defeat to Strowman but, when he got one, it was an email asking if he'd like to compete at SummerSlam.
"The story is crazy. A couple of weeks later, I get an e-mail saying, 'Hey, there's an idea for you at SummerSlam.' It's the Barclays Center, you're in Baltimore, it's three hours.' I'm thinking I'll be at SummerSlam for two weeks."
Ellsworth said creative changed and hopefully they'd call him soon, but he did find out what the idea had been for his prospective SummerSlam match.
Slater had just been left out of the brand draft in a run that saw him become the hottest "free agent" in wrestling.While most people will remember Slater winning his contract when he and Rhyno won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, the original plan was actually for him to face James Ellsworth in a battle for a contract!
"The idea, from what I hear, was he (Slater) was meant to come out at SummerSlam and demand at Daniel Bryan, 'I want a contract'. Daniel Bryan tries to make it easy for him. 'All right, we'll give you a contract, all you have to do is beat this guy' - and it was me! The idea was I was supposed to go over and I was supposed to win the contract."
Ellsworth goes on to say that Heath Slater got over on his own and the company didn't go with it as he was getting babyface reactions, so they didn't want to blow two babyface reactions with the angle.
In September, however, Ellsworth was brought back in as an extra talent where he was beaten up by Miz as he was set to tag with AJ Styles, with Miz taking his place. This eventually set up Ellsworth's biggest run in a storyline against AJ Styles.
James Ellsworth was released from his WWE contract as of November 15th, 2017 but he is currently taking indie bookings.
He is scheduled to compete against Jerry "The King" Lawler at Glen Burnie, Maryland on February 16th.
Ellsworth is a true inspiration to all independent wrestlers and wrestling fans alike. He worked all his life to get to WWE, and we hope to see him back there in the future!