Despite their rivalry, Big E enjoys that Apollo Crews has stepped up his game.
For the majority of 2021, Big E has been fighting Apollo Crews. What started out as friendly competition has morphed into a genuine rivalry for both men and a scenario that has allowed both to show new elements of their personality.
Speaking with Uproxx, Big E put over Apollo for making the necessary changes to his character in order to take his work to the next level.
“As much as we butt heads lately, I have to give him a ton of credit because he stepped his game up and he’s a guy who always could get it done in the ring,” Big E says. “He’s an incredible performer and has been for quite some time. He just needed that opportunity and it’s good to see him step out and show a different side. Too often guys like that, people will say when it’s all said and done, ‘Ah, what could have been with that really talented guy, who was a good in-ring performer.’ But now, I feel like you’re seeing some of the promise of that potential with Apollo Crews.”
Big E also put over the status of the Intercontinental Championship and the character work of the man whom he defeated for that Intercontinental Championship, Sami Zayn.
“Some really tremendous performers have held the title,” Big E says. “As much flack as I would give Sami Zayn, he’s a guy who has had an incredible career. He’s had some ups and downs of course, but to see again, he’s a guy who reinvented himself and the stuff he was doing with the IC title, being really crafty, I thought really worked and was so unique. You’re seeing so many guys who were former world champions or future world champions hold the Intercontinental championship.
“I love that it’s become a bit of the premiere title in many ways,” he continues. “In the past, we might’ve had some performers who were not full-time performers with the world championship and you don’t see them every week. So the Intercontinental championship is the only male singles title, at times, that you’d see on a weekly basis. The title, as we all know, has such an incredible history and it deserves to have that lineage carried on in the proper way. So that’s my goal, is to do my best, to make sure that title remains elevated and continues to be even more elevated than it is.”
With WrestleMania only 2 weeks away, perhaps Big E will find his position on that card on tonight's episode of SmackDown. Fightful will have live coverage.