After taking the WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E out of action following his wild ambush just two weeks ago, Apollo Crews has finally embraced the man he believes he is supposed to be. This week on Talking Smack, Crews joined panelists Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman to discuss his true identity and where he sees himself going with it.

“It felt fantastic. This is who I am,” Crews replied. “This is always who I have been, but I had to hide it for so long as a kid. I was always embarrassed to represent my roots because people would make fun of me. They would tease me and call me things — call me names. They never embraced me. And for that reason, I would not embrace my own history, my own roots. But now, it feels good to be who I am. I love it.

“I want to get to the point. Big E, he’s at home nursing his injuries. It’d be smart for him to stay home. But I want him to come back. He has to come back because he has something that I want: the Intercontinental Championship. I wouldn’t mind facing him again. It’s my birthright. My great ancestors were warriors. And I’m a great warrior, too. I’m going to live up to that greatness. And I will start by taking that Intercontinental Championship.”

With Big E making his return back on SmackDown next week, Crews warns that he’ll be waiting. This time, he hopes he’ll be able to redeem himself in a rematch with the IC Champion and not repeat the same shortcomings he had previously against the champ. But before he revealed his strategy on how he’ll go about facing Big E, Crews made sure to correct Kayla Braxton by noting that he never failed when he lost to Big E in the past. Instead, they were lessons learned that transformed him into who he is now.

“I have never failed. I never look at my experiences as a failure,” he corrected. “You want to know the difference? The difference is now to look at who I am. You see, he does not want to come back and face me because he knows exactly what I’m capable of. The whole world knows what exactly I’m capable of. He will learn again.

“We are six days away from Big E’s return, and I promise you that I will be waiting for him right here. I promise you that. And I will show the whole wide world just as good, as a matter of fact, how great I really am. They will see.”

You can watch Apollo Crews’ interview on the WWE Network. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talking Smack with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.