Apollo Crews, who joined the WWE roster earlier in 2016, has potential to be one of the year’s breakout talents. (WWE.com)
At the moment, Apollo Crews’ future within the WWE is rather unclear. The 28-year-old wrestler joined the main roster back in April, but since then, he has not had nearly as much to do as most of his peers, other than a feud with Sheamus that didn’t seem to make much of a splash.
But it’s highly possible that he will receive a much bigger push as the year goes on, as he’s the kind of athlete who could make for a WWE superstar if given the right storylines. Crews, whose real name is Sesugh Uhaa, was born on August 22, 1987 in Sacramento, California; he’s 6’1 and weighs in at 240 pounds. He is of Nigerian descent, with his father being from Benué State. He also has a sister who is currently in the U.S. Army.
Here’s everything you need to know about the WWE’s Apollo Crews.
1. He Went to a Military High School
Crews said he initially got into sports as a way to escape from his day-to-day life. (Twitter/Apollo Crews)
Crews did not exactly have it easy growing up; he went to a military high school, and because things were so difficult there, he threw himself into the world of sports as an escape. He excelled in soccer, football, track and field, and, of course, wrestling.
“Sports were my outlet and a way to get away from military life,” he said. “I wanted to play all year long. Athletics have always been my life. I didn’t want any point in time where I wasn’t doing something.”
Crews also has a background in gymnastics, which he said has stayed with him over the years and which influences his wrestling style a bit. He was interested in wrestling from a young age, but he did not pursue it seriously when he was growing up because he had difficulty finding the time to train.
2. He Was First Signed to Dragon Gate USA
Crews got his start in Dragon Gate, in particular catching on when he traveled to Japan. (Twitter/Apollo Crews)
Crews’ first big break in wrestling was in 2011 when he participated in tryouts held by Dragon Gate USA, a Philadelphia-based wrestling promotion. He was immediately signed and began performing for them and their parent company and affiliates, Dragon Gate, Evolve and Full Impact Pro.
Two months into his Dragon Gate run, he made his debut in Japan, during an event in which he defeated Kotoka and became a Blood Warrior. Crews credits this Japan trip with helping to launch his career and to make him well-known in wrestling circles.
“By the time I left, I was completely different; I wrestled completely different,” he said. “Japan was definitely the place that helped me fine-tune my skills.”
After Dragon Gate Japan, Crews began performing all over the world, in England, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, and the United States. And at the end of 2011, he was named by Dragon Gate their best newcomer of the year.
3. He Performed At NXT For One Year
Apollo Crews spent a relatively short amount of time at NXT before joining the WWE main roster. (Twitter/Apollo Crews)
After leaving Dragon Gate, Apollo Crews participated in the WWE’s tryout camp in October 2014. A few months later, it was announced that he would be officially joining NXT. Crews made his debut on an episode of NXT broadcast on May 6, 2015.
In his first televised match, Crews defeated Tye Dillinger at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. His first major rivalry was with Baron Corbin, who attacked Crews after Crews had eliminated him during a battle royal. This lead up to a match in which Corbin defeated Crews.
Another feud he had at NXT was with Elias Samson, although this time Crews was able to emerge victorious in their match.
4. When Offered a WWE Contract, He Thought It Was a Joke
Being offered a WWE contract was an extremely surreal experience for Crews, to the point that he quite literally did not believe it. (Twitter/Apollo Crews)
Being offered a WWE contract must be a surreal experience for any wrestler, and when Crews was offered his, he was pretty sure someone was playing a practical joke on him.
It didn’t help that, as Crews explained, he got the call on April Fool’s Day.
“I thought it was a joke,” Crews said. “But when it really hit me and I realized what was going on I just started breaking down crying tears of happiness. It was cool for me because I don’t remember the last time I shed a tear of any kind of emotion. So it was cool just to see my dreams come true…It’s the most satisfying feeling ever.”
5. He Was Inspired by Stone Cold and The Rock
Like many modern WWE stars, Apollo Crews grew up on The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin – and apparently, based on this t-shirt, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well. (Twitter/Apollo Crews)
When asked about some of his wrestling inspirations, Crews named Stone Cold Steve Austin, saying that he was the guy that everyone could relate to.
“He was the guy coming to work and beating up on his boss, which everybody who works a regular job can relate to,” he said. “What people loved about him so much is the fact that he was doing what they just dreamed of doing.”
Crews also pointed to The Rock, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero as people he looked up to. Ultimately, though, he says he hopes to develop his own persona and stand out from those who came before him.
“After I started doing it for long, I moved away from trying to wrestle like certain guys and I developed my own style,” he said. “It took some time, but I think I figured it out after a while.”