AND THE WINNER IS—Titus O’Neil raises his arms in victory after winning a match on Smackdown. (Photo courtesy of WWE)
by Abdul Al-Nakhli
For New Pittsburgh Courier
This past December, World Wrestling Entertainment held their yearly awards show, the Slammys, on Monday Night RAW.
During the show, they award their superstars with distinct honors such as Match of the Year, Superstar of the Year, and Best catchphrase. That night, the latter category went to WWE Superstar Ryback for his phrase, “Feed Me More!”
This didn’t sit well with Titus O’Neil, a WWE superstar and one half of the tag-team, The Primetyme Players,who felt his catchphrase, “Millions of Dollars, Billions of Dollars,” which wasn’t even nominated, was much more impactful with a stronger message.
“One day me and my partner (Darren Young) were riding in his car on our way to a show, and he was driving pretty fast. Because of that I told him, ‘Hey you gotta slow this down, you know what’s sitting beside you right? Millions of Dollars!’”
“With that said, we said hey let’s use it the next time we’re on TV, and its stuck ever since. I feel it’s a powerful phrase and it (the phrase) can be used by anyone. Everyone should feel they are worthy and no matter what they do, should believe they are the best and worth millions,” said O’Neil.
This sentiment symbolizes everything O’Neil strives for. The former University of Florida linebacker desires to become one of WWE’s high market draws. He believes in becoming one of the best, and striving for excellence in every area of life.
O’Neil signed with the company to a developmental deal in 2008, and appeared on WWE’s NXT in 2010, a show designated for the “rookies” on the roster to seek guidance from a current WWE superstar.
After his time on NXT, O’Neil started teaming with Darren Young, making appearances starting last spring on RAW and Smackdown. Paired with former manager Abraham Washington, they were in contention numerous occasions for the WWE tag team championships, and once were the No. 1 contenders for the titles.
The duo, in O’Neil’s opinion, has helped bring a fresh and unique dynamic to the tag team division.
“I definitely, while we (O’Neil and Darren) can’t take full credit for the new life in tag team wrestling in WWE,” he said. “We definitely feel we bring something to the table. We truly believe there isn’t a team more qualified for a shot at the tag team titles than us.
“Even as a bad guy team, we still get a great reaction from the crowd, whether they cheer or boo us, most of the time more cheers. To me that means a lot to see the fans appreciate what we do and are excited for us, because they want to see good tag team wrestling in the WWE again.”
During the summer of 2012, the group had a slight setback when Washington, after making controversial remarks regarding Kobe Bryant’s infamous sexual assault case on a live broadcast, was promptly released from his contract from WWE.
Without Washington as part of the pact, O’Neil felt empowered to take his career by the reigns.
“We loved working with him (Washington), and when he was released it did set us back somewhat, but it was also an opportunity for us to prove to ourselves and the world what we could really do,” said O’Neil, “It forced us to take our careers and take charge to ensure we would reach the goals we set out for ourselves.”
This time last year, O’Neil set a goal between himself and Young to be on the card of the company’s four major pay-per-view broadcasts. With Wrestlemania 29, WWE’s major show, on the horizon, O’Neil is close to realizing his goal.
“I made a goal between myself and Young that I wanted to compete on what we call the Big 4, and so far we have done that,” O’Neil said. “We competed at Summerslam, was on the card for Survivor Series, and I was in the Royal Rumble match. Now we want to compete on the grandest stage of them all, and we hope to challenge Team Hell No! (WWE superstars Kane and Daniel Bryan) for the tag team title.”
This year’s Wrestlemania, taking place April 7 from Metlife Stadium in New York, is set to be electric, as WWE Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson defends the WWE Championship against John Cena, in a rematch tagged as, “Greatness vs. Redemption.”
O’Neil, not ignoring how immense this rematch is, has his own predictions on who will leave Metlife Stadium as champion.
“It’s a match most never thought would ever happen again, let alone the first time, which goes to show anything can and will happen in the WWE,” he said.
“With that said, I’m not sure if he (Rock) is as prepared for the fight he is getting, and with that said, I think this time Cena is going to redeem the loss from last year and once again become champion.”
For O’Neil, having a long legacy in WWE is the ultimate goal, and being remembered as one of the elites.
“I want to be remembered as one of the guys that gave it his all every night, and entertained the fans in the process. I have a long career ahead of me and I’m ready for the ride.”
(To contact Abdul Al-Nakhli, he can be reached at 412-320-6008, via email at email@example.com, or by following him on twitter at twitter.com/mrspadez.)