Before Big E was one-third of New Day and before he was slapping AJ Lee in the chest, he was pinning foes for a count of five in FCW and NXT.
Speaking on A Future WWE: The FCW Story, Big E discussed the five-count gimmick including how it came about and when it started to click.
"The Five-Count was incredible for me. We stole it, ripped it from King Kong Bundy. It was cool, we got to go back and forth a bit on Twitter. I don't remember if I asked for his blessing. I think it was Dusty [Rhodes] who had the idea to give me the five-count. At the time, we still trained in Tampa. When NXT first started, we were making the trek, before the Performance Center, to Full Sail. We did a pilot episode that never aired. [Xavier] Woods and I were the very first match in that building. It was a few months where I was kinda sitting around. I felt like I was ready. I felt like I was unique and had something to offer."
Big E continued, discussing the original thought behind the gimmick and how it changed and grew. "It was supposed to be a heel gimmick that got booed. 'One, two, three,' I'd look at the ref, 'I demand a five-count' and I'd count the four and the five. And people started coming with the five count. I would go to walk away and they would chant 'One more time!' We didn't exactly know how to play it, 'Should we listen to them? Should we walk away and get booed?' After talking to Dusty and people in creative, we leaned into it. [Adam Rose] told me it felt like an event. That always stuck with me. Having that energy. I would come out and walk down the aisle and people are already chanting for the 'Five-Count,' looking around with this maniacal look on my face with the Five up, I'd go in and that was when I felt like I had something special and unique. The New Day run has been incredible, I'm grateful for the stuff with Dolph, but as far as pure energy and that reaction from people, there was nothing like that for my career. I gotta thank the people at Full Sail because if that didn't catch on, I wouldn't be where I'm at now."
The five-count gimmick was dropped when Big E was moved to the main roster as Dolph Ziggler's enforcer in 2012.
A Future WWE: The FCW Story premieres on WWE Network on Sunday.
If you use any of the quotes above, please give a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.