The year is close to being wrapped up as fans state who has been the best breakout star of the year. That tagline has been associated often with NXT, the developmental show WWE debuted nearly two years ago.
In the five seasons of the show in that time, there have been a handful of big names to stick out from those shows. One of those names is David Otunga.
The A-lister had a lot of promise in the original season, but was the runner-up to Wade Barrett. Barrett has gone on to be the leader of two factions, hold singles gold, come close to a world championship and is now feuding with Randy Orton.
Otunga's career hasn't gone in the same path just yet. While he has won championships in WWE, his success has not come consistently, which has some of his fans worried. There is no reason to worry, however, because David Otunga is slated for a great career in WWE.
Before the bandwagon gets going on Otunga, here are 10 reasons to jump on now while there are still seats.
Otunga now has a gimmick of being a legal adviser in WWE. In his personal life, Otunga did attend Harvard Law School and, outside of Tough Enough alum Christopher Nowinski, is the only Harvard-educated man that I have ever known of in WWE history.
The vest, bow tie and coffee in a thermos might look silly to some, but this is a character that none of us have seen before.
During the proposed walkout of talent from RAW, Otunga seemed like he would be a crucial part of a storyline. He didn't end up being as huge as I thought he might be, but don't sleep on this gimmick making him a significant superstar. This also has the makings of a great managerial gimmick for Otunga.
Critics of Otunga's in-ring ability can look at the live Smackdown Holiday Special a week and a half ago and say that Otunga's street fight against Randy Orton was a big test to see what Otunga's future was going to be.
Live on TV, we almost knew for certain that Otunga would be beaten badly by The Apex Predator, but Otunga held his own. Otunga was only in a handful of matches since being a tag champion with Michael McGIllicutty that ring rust was a thought that popped into heads.
Despite the loss in the fight, Otunga looked pretty good. Even immediately, friends of mine on Twitter praised Otunga for his sell of Orton's RKO finisher. It is one thing to teach a wrestler how to fight and another thing entirely to teach a wrestler how to sell. Before you can dish out the moves, you need to know how to take them. That is a great sign for Otunga's future.
Just look at this picture for example. John Cena has worked for almost a decade to become adored by fans and all his attire has to show for it is a rainbow of color schemes, jean shorts, and underwear sticking out above the jean shorts. Yuck.
Otunga, on the other hand, is still a relative newcomer, but can get a hair cut, put on a vest and some sunglasses and look like he belongs. Even on the first season of NXT, Otunga stuck out like a sore thumb, if only because he seemed like the only rookie who wasn't deathly afraid of speaking on the microphone.
Earlier this March, I ran a March Madness-style bracket with all male NXT rookies involved, called NXT Madness. Otunga was ranked by me as the 7th seed, but ran into a strong 10th seed in Brodus Clay. Afterwards, Otunga was one of the names that came up as a name that deserved to be featured further on. Even with these declarations by fans of Otunga, he was still voted Most Overrated in the tournament by the fans.
I would be curious to see how that voted goes nine months later, but the point is still valid. Some love him and some hate him, but everyone has an opinion on David Otunga. That may not sound like popularity to you, but if people are talking about him, that can't all be bad. There's no such thing as bad publicity.
This is likely what brought Otunga to FCW, then to NXT, and now onto the WWE roster. Otunga has the muscles for the job, which might not matter to too many wrestling fans. However, to those who give out the pushes and the good gimmicks, this matters very often. Otunga has that look of a pretty strong powerhouse. He isn't as strong as a guy like John Cena or Ezekiel Jackson, but would be a solid strong man in the mid-card to start. Expert wrestling ability has been wasted in promotions in the past because the wrestler failed to look the part. The pieces are there for Otunga, which is something that cannot be taught.
This might sound like a bad thing, but it actually is a good thing in the long run. Otunga is a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion. His first reign came alongside of John Cena, a rival at the time with Cena feuding with Nexus. Otunga would gather the belts one more time, alongside of Michael McGillicutty. Otunga and McGillicutty held the titles for 13 weeks before losing them to Air Boom, the current champions.
Otunga sits at 27th all-time in number of days with the tag titles, who date back to 2002. Ranked even higher than him are The Miz and Chris Jericho, two arrogant superstars who have rarely had alliances with many superstars. Even look at a guy like Randy Orton, who has been a tag team champion just once. John Cena is a four-time tag team champion, but has been in a feud with every tag team partner he has ever held gold with. The moral of the story: you don't need to have an ally to make it big in this company.
Face it. How often have you seen someone like David Otunga in WWE? He doesn't have a radical look, but he has a fresh face. Mason Ryan gets compared constantly to Batista. Even Alex Riley has a Rocky Maivia-type personality to him. Otunga really does stand apart as his own man. To be honest, it is kind of refreshing. The fact that he came to the ring wearing hoodies was different too. Even though some have made it a trademark, it used to be a common ring attire, but no longer. You may not believe it, but David Otunga is breathing fresh air into WWE with his entire package.
WWE loves publicity, but everybody already knows that. Otunga is engaged to recording artist Jennifer Hudson. He has already been featured on Access Hollywood and was on Lopez Tonight when WWE sent multiple talents onto that show. Also, don't forget that Otunga was also a contestant on "I Love New York 2", a VH1 reality show. The whole "reality show contestant turned WWE superstar" worked out well for The Miz as well.
I cannot begin to tell you how many superstars have lost their pushes from not being able to talk well on the microphone. It is a crucial part of the business, one that wasn't as major of a problem back when managers were common in wrestling. Otunga can at least hold his own with his speaking, especially because that has mostly been what he is doing since adopting the legal advisor gimmick. If Otunga improves his promo skills in the way that a guy like Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler has in the past few months, Otunga can be a big-time player in WWE.
Here is all you need to know about David Otunga. He is in his 30s, doesn't have as much wrestling experience as other people he has worked with, but has more potential than most of them. He was one of the original NXT rookies, yet Otunga is toward the top of the list among the best graduates still in WWE. Want a fresh-faced company guy to latch onto for improvement in 2012? Look no further than David Otunga. Otunga was the PWI Rookie of the Year in 2010 and he can only improve from where he is now.