Back at the end of May, the Inquisitr reported that Triple H had a broad blueprint he wanted WWE officials to implement whenever an NXT star was called up to the main roster. Hunter’s vision included the writing team plotting out six months worth of creative plans for the likes of Baron Corbin, The Vaudevillains, Enzo & Cass, and Apollo Crews when they arrived on Monday Night RAW or Smackdown.
All those superstars mentioned made their main roster debuts in April, the week of WrestleMania. Corbin was actually on the show, winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Enzo & Cass and Apollo Crews appeared the night after on RAW with Gotch & English’s debut being saved for Smackdown. It’s hard to imagine that, perhaps with the exception of Amore and Big Cass, six months worth of feuds were set up in advance for the rookies, especially considering how things have played out since.
At the time, Vince McMahon only seemed to have eyes for Corbin and Big Cass, mainly due to their impressive sizes. He didn’t understand the gimmicks of the two new tag teams together, but he has since come around on Enzo & Cass as they’ve clearly become one of the most over acts on the roster. As for Apollo Crews, initial returns are not positive.
According to a report from Daily Wrestling News, there has been quite a bit of heat on Apollo Crews, stemming all the way back to his original promotion. Vince and other WWE officials seemed to sour on Crews rather quickly, and the new superstar hasn’t been able to get out of the doghouse in the ensuing months. Crews wasn’t aware he was getting called-up until WrestleMania weekend. Was the writing staff aware before then?
Either, six months of creative for Apollo Crews wasn’t scripted, or those plans were scrapped quickly. In the three months since his arrival, Crews has competed in one pay-per-view match. And though his singles bout with Sheamus at Money In The Bank went down on the main show, it was originally slated for the kickoff show, which was not the most ringing endorsement for a wrestler still trying to establish himself and not get lost in the shuffle.
The feud looked to be continuing beyond MITB, but lately, it appears Sheamus is transitioning into a program with Alberto Del Rio rather than resuming anything further with Apollo. The Celtic Warrior and Del Rio used to be a part of the League of Nations, and the group’s break-up never really resulted in anything significant. Something substantial might finally come to fruition, but it feels like it’s a little late in the game to rehash. Crews’ development seemed more important than recycling a Sheamus-Del Rio angle.
The company seemed to want to rely on the incredible athleticism of Apollo Crews in establishing him in his first year. As many before him could attest to, that type of push has a short shelf-life and can only go so far. His character has yet to evolve, and whether that’s the fault of the superstar or the creative team, Crews has heat on himself because of it. Several botched moves during a match with Chris Jericho in May did not help things as he was heavily criticized with the blame being placed solely on Apollo.
Not a whole lot should be made of the Fourth of July episode of RAW as it’s largely a throwaway show with ratings expected to dip to historic lows. And although Apollo Crews was technically in the show’s main event (Team USA vs The Multinational Alliance), he was eliminated mid-way through thanks to a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. You’d have to think that the way Crews has been used so far, Triple H would have preferred to keep him in NXT. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe have certainly overstayed their welcome and are more than ready for a call-up. Apollo certainly could have benefited from more time in NXT as well.
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