At the age of 36—and having spent the last two years in a tag team that largely disappointed—it is safe to say that Titus O'Neil is in the last chance saloon with the WWE.
O'Neil made his WWE TV debut in NXT back in 2010before returning in NXT Redemption a year later. Despite never being the most exciting or high-profile guy on the roster, he always seemed to have something about him.
It could have been that distinctive dog bark that separated him from the rest. There was certainly something that prompted the WWE to move him to the main roster alongside Darren Young, another NXT protege.
Despite a strong start, the Prime Time Players never actually managed to capture gold as a tag team. That seems particularly bizarre given how threadbare the WWE tag division has been over the past few years. They looked to be on a bit of a roll when they were under the management of Abraham Washington; however, his ill-judged comments cost him his job with the WWE and almost knocked Titus and Darren back a few paces, too.
It came as a bit of a surprise when they split as a team a few weeks back on SmackDown, but it almost feels like the WWE did the breakup in just about the right manner.
Let's examine the main features of O'Neil. He is a giant of a man, both in terms of height and physical build. That alone meets the primary credentials for a good heel character. And when you throw in his ability on the microphone, you have a Superstar with plenty of potential.
O'Neil's few promos as a singles competitor so far have been pretty decent. Indeed, his recent commentary on Darren Young's victory over Damien Sandow, a former tag partner of O'Neil's, was just as impressive. Despite his age—although, if you're in top condition, age almost becomes irrelevant—there does seem to be something for Titus O'Neil to work with moving forward.
His brief foray as Rufus "Pancake" Patterson was bizarre, but it really showed what he can do with a microphone in his hand. He even managed to raise a cheer or two from the crowd when he cut a nice angle on John Cena—something that doesn't happen very often.
If he does manage to beat Darren Young, it would be nice to see the WWE give him a chance to go forward with gusto. Perhaps a shot at either the United States or Intercontinental Championship belts could be a possible target for O'Neil—after all, they are being chronically underused at this moment in time.
Members of stale tag teams can often find new direction from singles competition. This is by no way a direct comparison of the two, but Shawn Michaels had won nothing as part of The Rockers and was going nowhere; he ended up as one of the greatest stars of a generation.
Jeff Hardy thrived from a singles push, winning multiple world championships in several different promotions. Even wrestlers from the best tag teams can hit greater heights after a split, as Edge would perhaps be a perfect testimony to.
The WWE has signaled its intentions to try and make something out of Titus O'Neil, especially with how the promotion had him initiate the split and adopt a dominant heel persona. It is now time to let him do what he does best—wrestle. He is pretty handy in the ring, and a singles push would see him elevated to greater heights than ever before.
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