Features

Looking to the Future: Apollo Crews by Howie Mandella

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded athlete than WWE Superstar Apollo Crews. He’s fun to watch in the ring, packing a repertoire of moves that showcases both his speed and power. Just a few years ago, I remember checking him out on YouTube after constantly seeing his name pop up in discussions about emerging indy standouts.

I was initially intrigued by the name Uhaa Nation. I’ll be honest and say I expected to see a faction, but I found out it was only one man. A One Man Nation. The match was against AR Fox, and it made me a fan of both talents. There are many agile big men in wrestling these days; yet, few manuever as crisp and fluid as Crews. Having only seven years of wrestling under his his belt, Crews is now in WWE to truly hone his craft.

It’s easy to see why he didn’t spend long in NXT. For one, the main roster is in need of more talent going forward. The Brand Extension will bring both RAW and SmackDown distinct rosters, and a hungry young superstar like Crews would fit into either show perfectly. Also, his look is extremely believable, and he’s an incredibly versatile performer. However, there seems to be some reluctance from many fans to embrace the Apollo Crews character. All too often have we seen the “just-happy-to-be-here” types debut the very same way. A lot of times, we never really get a chance to peel back many layers of their personality. Character development is something I, as a writer, long for in this world of pro-wrestling that I’m so obsessed with. Sure, I love just watching an amazing match; where the competitors are giving it there all, putting their bodies on the line. But even as a kid, the thing that captivated me about wrestling the most was the evolution of characters.

The best example I can give from my time is Edge. I saw Edge go from an comedic tag team wrestler with Christian, to someone getting the best of Kurt Angle and even making him go bald (he’s also responsible for the “You Suck” chant Angle always got during his entrance). As I got older, Edge had turned villain and became a much more vile, and serious character. I’ll never forget how disgusted I was at Lita and Edge during the infamous angle with Matt Hardy. Three of the main superstars who pulled me into this business were at a very different point in their careers.

2178193_orig

Layers had been peeled back, and you could see more and more depth in these characters. The brand split, in fact, was a major contributor to the evolution of Edge’s character (and so many others), so imagine what this new iteration could do for someone such as Apollo Crews.

When I see people immediately pass him off as un-charismatic, it frustrates me. It took years for Edge to go from Gangrel’s Brood lackey to the Rated-R Superstar. It took years for Rocky Maivia to become The Rock. It took years for Triple H to go from the Greenwich Snob (or even Terra Ryzing) to The Game. Just like it could take years for Crews to become everything he’s destined to be. I’d even argue that he’s starting out with more tools in the shed than the aforementioned. He has all of the talent in the world, and perhaps an even more interesting personality that could currently be quelled by the scripts.

I don’t see the harm in sitting back and waiting to see how things will play out for Crews. Patience is a virtue. Let’s watch how the character develops and evolves, while remembering that there’s no certified formula to getting over.

For some guys, they immediately capture the intrigue of fans. For others, it takes a few years of trying and failing before they finally find that one thing that sticks. Right now Apollo Crews is involved in a conflict with Sheamus, whom I think has already started to help bring more life out of the character. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion is someone who I believe can wipe the smile off of Crews’ face so he can really show us what he’s made of. Coming off the heels of a decent match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, the issues between Sheamus and Crews seem to be just beginning. I’m excited to see where it goes.

5759d3d53f0e9-538777--0bcb5293359113add9515d304c6db1fa

What are you guys’ thoughts on Apollo Crews and his transition from NXT to the main roster? Do you guys see a bright future for him, or will he end up being just another body? Personally, I think it’s too early to tell either way. That aside, there’s no excuse as to why Crews can’t be a major player on either RAW or SmackDown in the future. The man is too talented, with a lot of untapped oil wells to be wasted away or not really featured. Who knows what the future has in store, but it’s still fun to predict anyways.