Titus O’Neil sees himself in many roles as a WWE Superstar, but chief among them is being a storyteller.
In an interview with the Leader-Post in Regina, Saskatchewan, O’Neil says that the core responsibility of his job and that of his colleagues is quite simple—they tell stories that people enjoy watching:
Our job is to either put smiles on people's faces or frowns, one way or the other. It's like going to a movie. People spend millions of dollars a year going to movies to be entertained, and it's good versus evil—especially action movies. Everybody loves a good feel-good story, and that's kind of what we do. We tell stories. We just do it at car-crash speed.
But there's also more to O'Neil, as he says in the interview. He says he considers himself more than just an athlete.
He points to his personal history, which includes an undergraduate degree in criminology from the University of Florida and a deep, abiding interest in administration that has landed him work on two political campaigns:
There's so much more to me. I'm a father of two sons. I mentor kids in my community. I'm very active in my community, as well as traveling around the world with underwear, boots and baby oil. I think I have one of the most diverse resumes as far as an entertainer is concerned at this moment.
The former college football star who dreamed of a long pro career tells the newspaper he never would have considered a career in professional wrestling. But a friend and neighbor persuaded him to give it a try, and O’Neil credits that person with getting him to the point where he is today.
That friend and neighbor’s name is Dave Batista.
O’Neil has enjoyed a certain level of success in WWE since breaking into the ranks four years ago. He currently teams with Darren Young to form the Prime Time Players, and they always are among major contenders for tag team gold.
While O’Neil is enjoying his time in WWE, he says in the interview that he also is proud of what he accomplished as a member of the Florida Gators. He often acknowledges his college roots by demonstrating the Florida “Gator chomp” in the ring.
He tells the newspaper that one of his fondest college memories came in 1997, when he recorded the first sack of his career in a game against Tennessee. You may have heard of the person on the receiving end of that sack—Peyton Manning.
“That was awesome,” O'Neil says in the interview. “I was just talking to someone about that a few days ago, because someone sent a picture of me and Peyton shaking hands after the game, after we beat them at The Swamp. Peyton Manning was actually one of my hosts when I was being recruited out of high school.”
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.