Apollo Crews says when he first got on to the main roster, he would not have had the ability to perform the character that he is today.
Recently, Apollo Crews has undergone a transformation on Friday Night SmackDown. Leaving behind the athletic Babyface persona and embracing his heritage to allow himself to show a new edge on television.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Crews explains why now is the right time for this exploration and why it simply could not have happened sooner.
“It was so different on the indies,” Crews says. “I did these cool, awesome things in the ring, and my work carried me. At the time, I thought that would take me where I wanted. I got to NXT, and I had the chance to be me.
“Then I struggled to find myself in a new environment [on Raw and SmackDown]. That’s how it’s always been for me. I’m naturally shy and it takes me some time to get familiar with a new situation. That led to me being a generic guy, so people weren’t sure about me. I noticed that when we did live shows. People weren’t connecting with me, so I’ve really worked to build that connection and reaction from the fans.”
Apollo says that now is the right time for exploration and that he's happy that people either love his current character or hate it because the last thing you would want is people to be ambivalent towards what is being put out on television.
“This is the right point in my career for character exploration,” Crews says. “Five years ago, as a performer, I couldn’t have done this, with the character or the accent, or any of it. Now I can. And look at the reactions. People hate it, people love it. That’s pretty cool. I don’t want anyone in the middle.”