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Big E Beats Apollo Crews, Retains Intercontinental Title at WWE Fastlane 2021

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Big E defeated Apollo Crews at WWE Fastlane on Sunday night to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

The titleholder secured a quick pinfall on the challenger, but he was laid out in the middle of the ring once the match concluded. Crews took his frustrations out on the champion after falling short.

WWE @WWE

A quick victory for @WWEBigE means @WWEApollo is NOT pleased. #WWEFastlane https://t.co/JcQStTOnqS

WWE Network @WWENetwork

STATEMENT. MADE. #WWEFastlane @WWEApollo https://t.co/VGynJ8mbLg

What started as a friendly rivalry between Big E and Crews has escalated in a significant way in recent weeks, leading to a Crews heel turn and attempts to injure the solo New Day member.

Big E successfully defended the IC title against Crews on numerous occasions, but when the champion refused to give his rival another title shot and told him to go to the back of the line, Crews snapped and showed a different side of himself.

It started on the Feb. 19 edition of SmackDown when Crews attacked Shinsuke Nakamura after losing to him. Big E came to The Artist's aid, only for Crews to hit him with steel steps from behind.

When the referee told Crews to put the steps down and stop what he was doing, he dropped them onto Big E outside the ring, resulting in The New Day member missing a couple of weeks because of injury.

While Big E was gone, Crews altered his attitude and character significantly. He came to the ring with a pair of guards flanking him and insisted he was done pretending and trying to be something he wasn't.

Crews, who was speaking with a Nigerian accent, said he was the descendant of Nigerian royalty and was ready to embrace his roots. With his new presentation in tow, he scored a huge win over Nakamura.

Big E made his return to SmackDown on the second-to-last episode before Fastlane, beating Sami Zayn to retain the Intercontinental Championship.

Not surprisingly, Crews took the opportunity to get a jump on Big E, as he attacked him again and injected some serious doubt into whether the champion would be able to stave him off at Fastlane.

Crews has established himself as a threat over the past year, even beating Andrade for the United States Championship on Raw in 2020, but it is fair to say he is more dangerous and legitimate than ever since turning heel.

Big E was able to avoid dropping the IC title despite that fact, but given how heated their rivalry is, a rematch at WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11 could be in the cards.

                         

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