Apollo Crews was called up to the WWE main roster from NXT in April 2016, but struggled to find his footing for four years.
In 2020, Crews had his breakout on WWE Raw during his feud with The Hurt Business. He captured the United States Title during the feud and became a regular every week on Raw before moving to SmackDown.
Speaking on WWE After The Bell, Crews reflected on his journey and early struggles on the main roster.
"When I first got to the main roster, John Cena was still working. He always pulled me aside and was like, 'Who is Apollo Crews? We have to figure this out. Who is Apollo Crews?' At the time, I was the most generic -- it's so embarrassing -- I was like, 'I work hard...' He's like, 'Everyone works hard. Who are you?' I couldn't answer him to save my life. It literally took me six years to figure out 'who is Apollo Crews?' I felt so embarrassed, to the point where I would avoid trying to have conversations with him because I knew he was going to ask me again and I didn't have an answer. It's John Cena asking this question and I can't come up with an answer. It's pretty ridiculous. I realized it's not always about what you do in the ring. It's 'what drives this person? who are you?'" said Crews.
Crews has continued to show more personality on SmackDown, recently turning heel and going back to his roots, declaring himself Nigerian royalty on the February 26 episode of WWE SmackDown.
Speaking about his new gimmick, Crews said, "Now, we found something that is more than just smiles and cool moves. Now, I have a purpose and something people can get behind. It took me this long, but I get it. I have such a better understanding of things and can explain it to other people. I'm excited to show what I know I'm capable of and not just be athletic and do cool stuff. I can really be a top player and I'm ready to show that. I feel like this is different and isn't a start-stop moment. There is depth."
Following the debut of his new gimmick, Crews picked up a victory over Shinsuke Nakamura.
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