James Ellsworth is, for all intents and purposes, a jobber. Originally one of the “local talents” fed to Braun Strowman on the RAW brand, Ellsworth has built himself a cult following since then armed with an almost Rocky-esque catchphrase of “any man with two hands has a fighting chance.” He’s also pulled off some unlikely feats in the last two episodes of SmackDown Live, defeating WWE World Champion AJ Styles twice in a row, which added more ingredients to a feel-good story that has been one of the most underrated ones in WWE programming this fall. And while he isn’t the champion due to his title match vs. Styles on Tuesday ending with a DQ win, he’s continued endearing himself to the WWE Universe and then some.
But if you come to think about it, James Ellsworth beat AJ Styles twice because he was, as far as storylines go, a plot device. He was used mainly to build up the feud between Styles and Dean Ambrose and had gone over because Ambrose had blatantly helped him to victory, all in an effort to troll the “Phenomenal” Styles and spite him ahead of their expected title match at Survivor Series. As such, Ellsworth is still very much a jobber, and he is also not an official, full-time WWE talent. Does that mean we won’t be seeing him anymore, now that he’s helped Dean Ambrose get into AJ Styles’ head by picking up two fluke wins?
Speaking to CBS Local Sports‘ Chuck Carroll on Monday, James Ellsworth opened up about his future in the WWE, and what might follow after his title match with Styles on Tuesday’s SmackDown Live. Ellsworth said that he isn’t quite sure what will happen next, but he still believes he might be back for more matches in the future. He admitted to not knowing what’s going to happen next until he turns up for shows, but Ellsworth added that he has “a little hint” that there might be more matches to follow.
Aside from speculating about his chances of future opportunities in WWE, Ellsworth told Carroll about how he had patiently tried to break in with the company prior to 2016, even appearing alongside Strowman (in quite an ironic note) as one of former WWE talent Adam Rose’s hard-partying “Rosebuds” in 2014. He also talked about his relationship with WWE veteran Chris Jericho, whom he had grown up idolizing as a young boy. About two decades later, Jericho has become a James Ellsworth fan himself, assisting him in every step of his unlikely, yet exhilarating stint in the company.
“That is definitely 100 percent Chris Jericho,” said Ellsworth, telling Carroll about the first person to show him the ropes in WWE. “The day after I did the match with Braun Strowman, he contacted me on Twitter and wanted me on his podcast (Talk Is Jericho). I went in and did the podcast with him the next time I was at TV. Ever since then we text all the time. He gives me advice and helps me out. He’s just an outstanding human being.”
All told, Ellsworth isn’t a hundred percent certain that Tuesday’s SmackDown appearance will be his last. But if that’s the end of his WWE run, it would still be a huge accomplishment for the 31-year-old wrestler, who has spent most of his decade-plus career in smaller independent promotions.
“I’m just trying to stay levelheaded and cool. I will say this. If nothing else were to happen after Tuesday, man, I did more than I thought I would ever do, and I’m very happy and blessed with how my wrestling career has winded up.”
What does the future hold for a father of two daughters who’s waited a good 14 years for his big break in the world’s largest wrestling promotion? Not even James Ellsworth knows for sure, but it would be a shame if he quietly disappears from programming now that he might be done helping Dean Ambrose mess with AJ Styles.
[Featured Image by WWE.com]