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Apollo Crews Beats Big E, Wins Intercontinental Title at WWE WrestleMania 37

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Apollo Crews beat Big E in a Nigerian Drum Fight on Night 2 of WrestleMania 37 on Sunday to win the Intercontinental Championship for the first time in his career.

With the former New Day man looking set to retain via the Big Ending, a mysterious interloper (who looked suspiciously like Dabba-Kato) arrived to make the save and allow Crews to seal the win.

The Show of Shows was perhaps the culmination of a rivalry that has gotten quite personal over the past several weeks and led to the transformation of Crews from a beloved babyface into a hated heel.

It started when he was denied another title shot by Big E after coming up short on a couple of occasions. Following a subsequent loss to Shinsuke Nakamura, Crews snapped and attacked The Artist and then did the same to Big E when he tried to intervene.

Crews took Big E out with the steel steps and then dropped them on top of him from the inside of the ring to the floor, resulting in the former New Day man missing a couple of weeks of action.

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During Big E's absence, Crews started dressing in the colors of the Nigerian flag and speaking with a Nigerian accent. He claimed he was the descendant of royalty in the West African country and said he was done hiding who he really was.

Crews established himself with a win over Nakamura, and by the time Big E returned, he was once again in line for an Intercontinental Championship match, which happened at Fastlane on March 21.

Big E won and retained, but it didn't come without controversy, as there was some question about whose shoulders were on the mat during the pinning combination that the referee counted in the champion's favor.

Despite losing to the titleholder yet again, Crews earned yet another shot when he, Otis and Chad Gable beat Big E and The Street Profits in a six-man tag team match on SmackDown.

Crews won the match for his team with an Angle Slam and subsequent pinning of Big E, which gave him some much-needed momentum entering WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 37 marked the first-ever one-on-one singles match for both Big E and Crews at The Showcase of the Immortals, giving them added incentive to perform at a high level.

They did precisely that, and it was Crews who finally prevailed and provided a significant boost to his heel run in the process.

        

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