In a recent interview, Apollo Crews thanked former Monday Night Raw executive director Paul Heyman for giving him the biggest push of his career, one that has seen him win the United States Championship and rise up the ranks on the red brand’s programming.
Speaking to Newsweek in an interview that was published on Wednesday, Crews looked back on his four-year WWE career, discussing several topics that covered his brief stint in NXT, as well as his mostly lower mid-card runs on Raw and SmackDown. Specifically, he said that he now wishes he wasn’t rushed to the main roster so quickly, as staying longer as part of the black-and-gold brand would have allowed him to fully develop his character and be more than just the “guy who comes out smiling and does flips and other cool stuff.”
When asked about his current push, Crews said he was glad he got another opportunity to succeed after he qualified for this year’s men’s Money in the Bank match, but got removed due to a storyline injury. This second chance saw the 32-year-old win the United States title — his first championship thus far.
As Crews recalled, Heyman had a lot to do with his surprising success in 2020.
“Working with Heyman was fantastic. He was so hands-on with me and he helped me a lot. He was one of the main reasons for me getting this opportunity and I’m very thankful for everything he’s done for me and helped me with.”
With Heyman now back to his previous role as an on-air personality after spending a year as Raw‘s executive director, Crews expressed optimism that he won’t be affected by the changes to the red brand’s creative team. He said he’s “looking forward” to working with Heyman’s replacement, Bruce Prichard, and teased that the two of them will “make magic together” now that WWE has seen what he can do if given a chance to hold a singles title.
— WWE (@WWE) July 7, 2020
In addition, Crews also discussed his upcoming championship defense against MVP on Sunday at WWE’s The Horror Show at Extreme Rules pay-per-view. While he said that he hopes his youth will give him the edge against the veteran grappler, it remains to be seen whether the company will allow him to continue his reign.
As reported earlier this month by Forbes, Prichard has stood out as someone who prefers to push established superstars, as opposed to Heyman, who frequently gave opportunities to Crews and other young and/or up-and-coming talents during his stint as executive director.