When you tune in to watch Night Two of WrestleMania 37 this Sunday on Peacock, don't expect to see a technical masterpiece when Big E and Apollo Crews enter the ring. Headlocks, waist-locks, and hammerlocks? It would be a good idea to forget all of those in-ring maneuvers. Sunday's Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Championship is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. That seems to be the goal anyway, according to Big E.
Big E told Sportskeeda Wrestling this week that the rivalry between him and Crews has grown to an extreme level of aggression. The reigning Intercontinental Champion is preparing to go to war this weekend. But if Big E wants to successfully defend his title, he first needs to find out what most of us have been wondering — what exactly is a Nigerian Drum Fight?
"If I'm being honest, I don't know what a Nigerian Drum Match is. I don't know, but I can tell you this, I'm gonna do some research. I'm gonna reach out to some historians. I'm going to hit the Google machine very hard. I might have to learn on the fly, because no one has explained this to me. I can assure you though, I'm sure it will be brutal. There'll be some violence, I'm sure. But, yeah, I wish I had an answer for you."
During the build-up to this match at WrestleMania 37, Big E has delivered on what a loud minority of fans have been clamoring for, and that's for him to showcase a more serious side of his personality. The Powerhouse of Positivity has flipped the script in recent weeks and promised Apollo Crews a beating at the Showcase of the Immortals equal to the Wrath of God in the Old Testament.
Big E has always said that when the time was right, his more serious side would emerge. Well, Crews' recent actions have certainly awoken a sleeping giant, and it all started when he dropped the steel ring steps on the Intercontinental Champion a few weeks back on SmackDown.
"August of 2009 was when I got signed (to WWE) and I've been here ever since. This is the very first time, really in a singles rivalry, that I've had someone bring this kind of wrath and anger out of me, you know? He's a guy who I've always thought was extremely talented in the ring, but never really got the same opportunities to show his stuff."
"And for me, iron sharpens iron. I don't want to be in the ring with someone that people don't care about, that has no momentum, that clearly isn't up to my ability level. I want to be in the ring with the best and I want to see guys step up their game. Like if you're gonna challenge for the title, bring me your very best, because my intention is to beat you at your very best."
If Big E is looking for someone at their very best, look no further than Apollo Crews. His record in recent title matches has been less than stellar. But ever since calling upon his Nigerian roots, Crews has showcased a sense of confidence and viciousness that the WWE Universe has never seen from him before.
He has poured a lot of energy into this new persona and is dead set on winning the Intercontinental Championship. Big E, meanwhile, is ready for everything Crews is set to dish out this Sunday.
"I might not know the rules of a Nigerian Drum Fight, but I can tell you there's going to be some aggression in there. And I look forward to that. As much as I love entertaining people and being jovial and fun, there's also a part of me that is... if bloodlust is on your mind, then that's what I'm gonna bring."
While Big E may be behind the eight ball when it comes to the rules of the match, he does have one big thing going for him — the fans.
Big E has a chance to secure his WrestleMania moment on home turf
For the first time in over a year, WWE superstars will wrestle in front of a live audience instead of LED screens. WWE is hoping to have 25,000 screaming fans in attendance during both nights of this year's WrestleMania event, inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Having a live audience is something the entire WWE locker room has been waiting for since March 2020, and Big E told Sportskeeda Wrestling that he cannot wait to feed off the energy of a crowd again.
"I think the larger the crowd, the easier it is for me as a performer. Cause that's our goal, is to go out there and have a packed crowd who's cheering for you and is excited for you. Like those are the moments where a crowd can almost carry you. Where you feel like, not that you're on autopilot, but like everything just flows more when you have a crowd there. And hopefully after a year our hope is that they're screaming their heads off. They're as excited about it as we are. So man, we're hyped."
"It's hard to believe that it's been over a year, but we're excited to get back to being in front of our fans. That's what we do. The crowd, the fans... they're as important to making a great match as the performers in the ring."
Big E continued by saying it's the crowd reactions that really make a WrestleMania moment. When fans lost their minds for Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX and when The New Day received a flood of videos of people crying over Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship victory, that in Big E's opinion, is what made those moments truly special.
When Big E puts his Intercontinental Championship on the line this Sunday, he's hoping to harness the power of his hometown crowd in Tampa Bay to produce a magical moment of his own.
"That's the same stadium I played my high school football All-star Game in what, 2003? This is my city. I was born and raised here and I still live here. So it's a dream, honestly, to be able to have WrestleMania at home. It's incredible. So I'm excited about that. I'll look back 10, 15, 30 years from now, and I'll still fondly remember being able to do this at home."
There's no question that if Big E were to hang up his boots tomorrow, he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer alongside his New Day brethren. Astonishingly, a win for Big E this Sunday would be his first-ever victory at WrestleMania. That's a stat he was not even aware of until we brought it up to him. Again, Big E, we apologize.
It's a stat he hopes to rectify against Apollo Crews, who is coincidentally also searching for his first win on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Between these two stars, who will come out on top? You'll have to tune in Sunday night on Peacock to find out.
Make sure to check out PART ONE of our conversation with Big E in the video above. Also, make sure to subscribe to the Sportskeeda Wrestling YouTube Channel so you can keep an eye out for PART TWO when it drops later this week.