TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – WWE Superstar Big E, who is a Tampa native and still lives here, made quite the splash among locals at WrestleMania, appearing in ring gear bearing the logo of Feeding Tampa Bay, along with the nonprofit’s colors.
Big E, whose real name is Ettore Ewen, appeared during the two-night WrestleMania event on Sunday, losing his intercontinental championship to Apollo Crews.
During his entrance and match itself, Big E rocked the Feeding Tampa Bay-inspired to raise awareness for food insecurity in his hometown.
During a chat with 8 On Your Side on Thursday, Big E said he loves the ability for wrestlers to express their interests with their ring gear.
For him, on the “grandest stage of them all” at WrestleMania, that interest for Big E was to give back to those going through food insecurity.
“I think for me, it was really learning about just the toll that pandemic had taken on so many families. I think I watched this TBS Sunday morning piece on food insecurity and what Feeding America has been doing to tackle that. I learned more about what Feeding Tampa Bay has been doing locally and I just believe so much in the cause,” Big E explained.
He said it felt like the right thing to do for his hometown.
“I feel like so much of the community is ingrained in me and I feel like this community has really blessed me and it’s a huge part of me… so much of my journey is tied to this city and I felt a need to do something to give back to my city as well,” Big E said of the Tampa Bay area.
After the match, the Superstar announced on Twitter that the gear would be auctioned off on eBay with all proceeds going back to the Feeding Tampa Bay organization.
He said the auctions will start with his jacket, then his singlet and finally, the Feeding Tampa Bay-inspired wrestling boots.
“I think for me, it felt important to not just wear it, but to give as well,” the WWE Superstar said about the auction. “I think there’s one thing to getting the word out, to sending a tweet or sending a post, but I think there’s also for me, I felt the need to directly give and I wanted to encourage others to give as well.”
Big E said he understands not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on ring-worn gear, but he said if a fan was moved by this statement, to find their local Feeding American affiliate to give back.
He said he wanted to keep the conversation rolling about food insecurity over a year in to the pandemic.
“Often times, you’ll have a larger news piece and then we move on, just with the nature of the news cycle and our lives, we just kind of move on. I wanted to make sure that we’re continuing to have these conversations because millions of households in this country and so many people in our community suffer with food insecurity and those things are not quickly solved,” he said.
The auction runs through Friday, the current big for Big E’s Feeding Tampa Bay jacket is $1,006 for a piece of ring-worn history to benefit a great cause.