Big E returned to SmackDown on March 12th with a point to prove. Having been taken out by Apollo Crews two weeks previously the Intercontinental Champion marched to the ring with a purpose and delivered one of the most intense promos of his career.
After calling out Crews, Big E issued an open challenge for his Intercontinental Championship. The challenge was eventually answered by Sami Zayn, and he was dispatched, before the former World Tag Team Champion was again ambushed by Crews.
Appearing on Talking Smack alongside Paul Heyman, the Special Council to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Big E declared that he had big plans for the year ahead.
The Intercontinental Champion questioned whether Heyman was behind the attack from Crews, but the former owner of ECW refused to shoulder any of the blame.
“If you’re going to ask me a direct question, I respect you enough as a man to give you a straight answer,” Heyman began. “No, it’s not what I wanted. But it’s exactly what I told you your life was going to be like. I never offered you a prediction of what your life is going to be like as the Intercontinental Champion. I offered you a spoiler. You’re a champion. What did you think your life was going to be like?
“What you’re learning now is life at the top. It’s what Roman Reigns has to deal with. There are no friends. There are no allies. Nobody is truly happy for your success. They are all jealous and or envious because they all want to be in the position that you have worked your ass off to earn. They want to take what you have earned. Apollo Crews is the first of many. This is the life that you lead because of the sacrifices you’ve made.”
“This is why this morning I mentioned to you [that] if you’re tired of it and want to protect that championship reign, services are available,”
Unsurprisingly Big E wasn’t in the mood to take Heyman up on his offer, he instead took the opportunity to set out his stall for the year ahead.
“I hear you. And you know, I have learned a lot from you,” Big E replied. “I’ve learned how shark-infested these waters really are. But you see, this is my Intercontinental Championship. I’m going to beat Apollo Crews. I’m going to decimate Apollo Crews. I’m going to walk into WrestleMania, and I’m going to defend his Intercontinental Championship. And then, I’m going to defend this title for a whole calendar year.
“Then, I’ll come back in 2022 at WrestleMania, and I will stand there, deserving beyond a shadow of a doubt, deserving that Universal Championship opportunity. I’ll deserve it more than anyone. If Roman Reigns still holds that title, that will be my match. When I walk out of WrestleMania 2022 as double champ, and I beat Roman Reigns, or whoever has that title then, we’ll talk.”
Following their clash on SmackDown, it has since been announced that Big E will defend his Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews at Fastlane.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.