Former WWE United States Champion Apollo Crews has revealed the motivation John Cena would give him upon his call-up to the main roster in 2016.
Crews, a stand-out performer in NXT, would soon find himself “moved up” to the main roster, but initially struggled to have a major impact despite his obvious abundance of ability when it comes to physical and athletic ability.
However, Crews found a friend and mentor on Monday Night Raw in the form of John Cena, who taught the star that he would need more than just his in-ring ability inside the ropes to succeed.
Speaking to WWE’s After The Bell with Corey Graves, Crews unveiled the motivation the former WWE Champion gave him to succeed:
“When I first got to the main roster, John Cena was still working and he’d always pull me aside and be like ‘Who is Apollo Crews?’ At the time, I’m like the most generic [wrestler], so embarrassing when I even think about it and it’s like ‘I’m this guy, I work hard and ….’ and he’s like ‘Everybody works hard, but who are you?’ I couldn’t answer to save my life, and it literally took me six years.
I’m trying to figure out who is Apollo Crews and I didn’t know. I felt so embarrassed to the point where I’d almost avoid trying to have conversations with him because I know he’s going to ask me again today and I don’t have an answer for him. You got John Cena asking you these questions and I’m sitting here like I can’t come up [with an answer], it’s pretty ridiculous. I realized it’s not always about how good you are in the ring, it’s like what drives this person, who are you.”
Currently, Crews plies his trade on Friday Night SmackDown where a much-needed heel turn has seen him transform from the bubbly, smiley athlete whose flips keep everyone entertained into the descendant of Nigerian royalty. His turn came as a result of advice from both Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns.
Credit for the interview: WWE’s After The Bell
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.