The man who battled Braun: What was he thinking?

The man who battled Braun: What was he thinking?

“Any man with two hands has a fighting chance.”

Unless, of course, you’re fighting another man capable of ripping those very hands from your body and clapping them in celebration of the dismemberment. That was the  disturbing possibility facing James Ellsworth, the wrestler who uttered those words and proved courageous enough to set foot in the ring with Braun Strowman on the July 25th edition of Monday Night Raw. Since then, the WWE Universe has been abuzz regarding Ellsworth and his performance, such as it was. caught up with Ellsworth during his lunch break in Baltimore, Maryland, where he has worked the last eight years as a jobs coach, helping people with mental and physical disabilities find employment.

WWE.COM: How was it facing Braun Strowman?

JAMES ELLSWORTH: I’ve been wrestling 14 years with various promotions on the East Coast and faced numerous big men, but none as big or scary or tough. Everything that encompasses the word “monster,” he truly is. It was definitely scary.

WWE.COM: You had some heartfelt words for the WWE Universe prior to the match. What was that like?

ELLSWORTH: I was excited at the opportunity because I like to cut promos. I wrestle every week, and usually, any time I have a match on the indies, I’ll cut a promo just because I like to do it. So, when I realized I was going to get the chance to speak, I was probably the happiest guy in the WWE Universe. It was probably the coolest thing that could have happened because I love to do it.

WWE.COM: How long have you been a fan of WWE?

ELLSWORTH: My whole life. I’m 31 years old, and ever since I can remember, I’ve been watching wrestling. I’ve watched every episode of Raw since it debuted in January of 1993. And to actually get to perform on Raw was a dream come true.

WWE.COM: What did you think of the reaction on social media?

ELLSWORTH: I was shocked. I just figured I would go in the ring, do my job and fade away. Next thing I know, I get on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, and I see all these memes with my face on them. I think it’s because I’m a different looking guy. I’m shocked. I’m overwhelmed. I’m appreciative of all the love and support I’ve been receiving from all the fans on social media.

WWE.COM: How do you feel about some of the less-than-flattering criticism?

ELLSWORTH: I don’t pay attention to the negativity. I just smile, you know? Negativity brings more negativity, so I don’t ever let it bother me. I just try to be positive, be humble and just keep smiling.

WWE.COM: Talk about that Offspring tattoo you’re sporting.

ELLSWORTH: Yeah, they're my favorite band. I've seen them in concert six times. My favorite song by them is "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid.” They inspired me to be “Pretty Fly For A White Guy.”

WWE.COM: What do you hope might come from all of the attention you’ve received?

ELLSWORTH: Another opportunity. Obviously, everyone’s dream is to be a contracted performer at WWE. If somehow, some way, that’s what happens, that’d be a dream come true as well. I would hope that’s the goal for everyone who’s a wrestler. WWE is the place to be.

WWE.COM: If you could face anybody on the current roster, who would it be?

ELLSWORTH: Wow. There are so many guys on the roster that are just amazing. [pause] I think Kevin Owens. To me, in my humble opinion, he’s the all-around best performer: Charisma, working the ring... He’s the total package, as far as I’m concerned.

WWE.COM: What would you say to anyone who harbors the dream of WWE?

ELLSWORTH: Keep showing up. If anyone asks me advice about wrestling, for whatever reason, I always say, “Just keep showing up. You never know what might happen.” Nothing will happen if you’re just sitting on the couch at home. Go to shows, perform as much as you can and, again, just keep showing up. It’s like I said on Raw, “Any man with two hands has a fighting chance.”

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