What a difference two and a half months can make. Back at the end of July, the first post-draft episode of WWE Raw felt like a bold new era for pro wrestling, one that quickly came crashing back to earth in subsequent weeks. But one wonderful, chinless man stole the hearts of fans everywhere on that episode, when James Ellsworth became the first “local talent” to succumb to the might of Braun Strowman. In the weeks that followed, many more jobbers would meet their end, but few captured our imaginations like Ellsworth, whose statement that “any man with two hands has a fighting chance” has become an inspirational slogan on par with “Keep calm and carry on.”
Ellsworth’s legend only grew in September, when he popped up on Smackdown as the first “Superstar” to be poached away from Raw. He was meant to team with AJ Styles in the main event of that episode, but was jumped from behind by The Miz on his way to the ring and left for dead. Mercifully, he made his glorious return on Tuesday’s episode of Smackdown Live as the guest of Styles, who graciously awarded him a non-title match as a make-good on that unfortunate mishap.
To Styles’ chagrin, Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan made Dean Ambrose the special guest referee for that match, and Ambrose declined to stop the match after numerous pinfalls or submission attempts should have handed Ellsworth the L. (Maybe then he would have understood the L’s worth?) Instead, Ambrose hit Styles with a pair of Dirty Deeds (Deedses? Deedsii?) and dragged an unconscious Ellsworth on top for the official, non-title win over the WWE champ.
On Tuesday night’s episode of Talking Smack, Ellsworth was a guest, and Daniel Bryan broke the news to him that next week, he will receive a WWE Championship match against Styles. Our boy was speechless, but we are not: WAR ELLSWORTH. WIN THAT TITLE, KID. MAKE YOURSELF MORE FAMOUS.
We believe in you, James. After all … you do have two hands.