Over the last few weeks Big E and Apollo Crews have gone from tag partners having each other’s backs, to bitter rivals with Crews gunning for Big E’s Intercontinental Title. Big E retained his title in two matches vs. Crews on the Jan. 8 episode of SmackDown – one via draw and one via pinfall – but they will square off for the third time on tongiht’s SmackDown.

Big E talked about his upcoming opponent and why he doesn’t need to just beat Crews, but demolish him heading into the Royal Rumble when he joined Busted Open.

“I think Apollo is incredibly talented. I think he’s a great athlete. I think his combination of skill and athleticism is off the charts. He’s a guy who should’ve been doing more for a long time, but man, I’m eight years deep in this main roster run,” said Big E.

“To me, I need to nerf Apollo. I need to run through Apollo. That’s what I need to do. That’s not a shot at him at all, but where I need to be headed is well beyond Apollo. I’m eyeing winning the Rumble, headlining WrestleMania. That is where my interjectory needs to be.

“You got to have that within you. I’m not here to say, ‘Man, I think Apollo is incredible. He should beat me.’ No, man, I need to steamroll Apollo. That is what I need to do.

“We’re on this road from here until April 11th. That needs to be my mindset, is running through Apollo, winning the Rumble. That’s how you make a statement. That’s how you etch your legacy in wrestling, in WWE.”

As a former Division I football player and powerlifting champion prior to stepping into a ring, Big E has an uncanny mix of athleticism and agility. He does things in a ring – including a split at nearly 300 pounds – that others simply can’t do.

He is well aware of that and he makes it a point to stand out from the crowd. Big E talked about the desire to wowing people in the ring and the feeling that no other WWE Superstar can replace him.

“Whatever the package of me is, I feel like no one can replace me. No one can just be me. As good as Apollo is, or Keith Lee, or anyone else you want to put out, I don’t feel – and that’s not a shot at any of them – I feel like no one can do exactly what I do,” said Big E.

“That’s my biggest thing. When you watch me, I want you to think, ‘Oh, what is this fool going to do?’, when it comes to promos or backstages, or when you see a match like, ‘Why does a man his size move like that? Why does he hit like that?’

“So, I want to keep being different, being unique. I don’t want when you see me on screen, you think, ‘I’ve seen this before. I know what to expect.’ I think if I keep bringing that dynamic package and try to be as entertaining as possible, that’s going to carry me through. That’s been my perspective as of late.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.