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Apollo Crews: WWE NXT transition 'almost like a breath of fresh air'

Crews talked to Denise Salcedo about his main roster Nigerian royalty character and what he's doing now.

Signed with WWE since 2015, Apollo Crews was moved from the main roster to NXT in June -- an unexpected move that also led to a new character.

Ahead of tonight's WWE NXT Halloween Havoc, I talked with Crews about the move, his Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal match with Grayson Waller, and more.

You can watch the full interview on YouTube above.

Reigniting the fire

Crews said that he was very excited to join the NXT brand because he wasn't really doing much on the main roster at the time and was stuck in a rut. Even though he was drafted to Raw, he was mainly on WWE Main Event and wanted to do more but that it "didn't seem like anything was gonna happen."

He admitted he become complacent with his role, but still wanted to contribute more and was ready to take the new challenge of NXT.

"I felt like it was an opportunity for me: a fresh start, a new beginning kind of, which not a lot of people get that opportunity in life in general. It's nice to be able to come down and have that fresh start and do something different and actually be involved on a regular basis. It’s very nice. It’s a nice change of pace, almost like a breath of fresh air," he explained

As WWE NXT is filled with young talents barely getting their start in the business, he pointed out that their hunger and passion for the business ended up inspiring him. He said he's become a fan again and his fire has been reignited.

"It’s nice to have that fire, for that light to be reignited and become a fan again of the sport as well. I was very excited about the opportunity and I am still excited about the opportunity," he said.

While Crews had been part of the NXT from 2014-2016, he "didn't get to develop that much the first time around."

Nigerian royalty character and the accent

Prior to his NXT return, he had donned a new main roster persona focused on being Nigerian royalty. He would walk out draped in white and green, was provided guards, props, and even the seven-foot Commander Azeez who would accompany him. On top of the over-the-top presentation, he was to speak with an accent. 

Crews said that he was hesitant to do the accent in front of live crowds and on TV, but that he had a job to do and decided to go all in and accomplish the task at hand.

However, now in NXT, his character is a little bit more darker. He has been shown having visions in vignettes, writing in a notebook, and even heavily bleeding from one eye -- a much more different approach to the Nigerian prince he was portraying before.

He spoke about how this new character came about through a collaborative approach with the NXT writing team. 

"I was just known for my in-ring work and I don't think people really got to see that side of me -- that depth and character -- or really got to know who I was as a person which is what I feel is a big part of a WWE superstar's presentation."