Big E reflects on what was a very important WrestleMania for him.
After several years competing at WrestleMania, Big E finally got to have a WrestleMania moment as a singles Superstar. For Big E, this WrestleMania was a homecoming for him taking place in Tampa, the city where he grew up and still currently lives.
Speaking on a special audio diary version of WWE After The Bell, E reflected on his match with Apollo Crews, saying that he is so proud of where Apollo has come because there was a time where he was worried that Apollo Crews may just be released and forever be remembered as “what might have been.”
"I feel good, man. If we did that for 25 minutes, your boy would be hurting. But, I feel alright, man. He was wearing my ass out with that Kendo stick for real. Right before he put me on the table, I was curling up like a ball to protect myself because those kendo sticks, when people ask, ‘Hey, how does it feel?’ There is no getting used to it, I've been hit with a Kendo stick plenty of times, but the thing stings, man. There's nothing like it in what we do.
"I take my hat off to him because he steps it up. People like that, when they bring it, they force you to bring it. Those are the kind of people I want to be in the ring with. Guys that bring their very best, bring that intensity and you don't have to say, 'c'mon, man, pick it up.' He is one of those guys and in many ways, I'm proud of him for what he's done. He could have easily been underutilized forever and he gets let go or whatever and he's one of those guys like, 'what could have been.' Now he's not and I'm proud of him for that. I love seeing that now. That's one of the things I really enjoy. I don't necessarily feel like I'm an elder statesman per se, but in some ways I am. The locker room changes so quickly and I look around Heather so many younger guys and I think, it's rewarding to go out there and get yourself over and get the pops and get the adulation, but it's also really rewarding to be in there with someone we feel like now, they've stepped up to a certain level and they rose to the occasion and you're across the ring from them. So, I love that out of him. I'm proud of him to see him step up like that.”
He continued, “For what we were given, I feel like we did our thing. I feel like we brought the intensity. It's one of those things where you always wish it would be great to be the main event and to have 25 minutes and just massacre it, and put on a classic that people wouldn't be able to stop talking about. But, I feel like we did our jobs. I really feel like we did our jobs. We brought it and I feel good about it. It's funny, I talked to Kofi and Woods, I've had so many ‘Manias where I've had this sinking feeling afterward. kind of just let me down. I always talk about the time we hosted WrestleMania as one of the moments that wasn't like that, where I walked away with this really good feeling and feeling like, ‘Man, we were part of something cool.’ This Mania for me, I feel like, for many reasons, feels like that too.”
Big E also took some time to reflect on his concerns that he may not be as popular without Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods by his side and he was glad to have those fears quelled with the live crowd behind him in Raymond James Stadium
"It's also, as much as I have no doubts that I can go out there and be cheered, per se, but one of the things you worry about with breaking away from the group is, ‘Hey, is it the group that's over, is it just Kofi and Woods that are liked?’ To go out there on your own and the people are behind you and want to see you do your thing, I think it's rewarding but it's like I said, there's so many things. It's Wale, a friend, a good friend of mine, one of my favorite rappers, it's Tampa, like, everything we keep saying, but it's real. It's really real. This is where I grew up, this is where I live now. To have an opportunity to do this at WrestleMania at home, with all the ups and downs, they told us, ‘Hey, we might have a storm roll through mid-match. This was like 20 minutes before. I guess there was something approaching. So now we're thinking, ‘Hey what if we're out there and our match gets stopped?’ There's so many obstacles for this WrestleMania, but we're here, we made it and it feels good.”
Apollo Crews will defend his newly won Intercontinental Championship on tonight's episode of Friday Night SmackDown. Learn more here.
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