Montez Ford Talks WWE SummerSlam, The Rock, Bianca Belair and More in B/R Interview

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2022

Photo credit: C4 Energy

Ahead of what he calls "bar none the most important match ever in my WWE career" against The Usos at SummerSlam, Montez Ford of The Street Profits is hard at work in preparation and isn't looking too far ahead despite speculation regarding an eventual singles run.

On July 30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, Ford and Angelo Dawkins will take on The Usos with the undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships on the line.

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Ford explained why the match and the chance to be featured on a huge card mean so much to him.

"This is a huge opportunity for us. I feel like this is as big as it gets," he said. "For some people, SummerSlam is just as big—if not bigger—than WrestleMania, so to do it on such a historic stage against a very historic tag team like [The Usos], this is it.

"And then you add on to the fact the undisputed Tag Team Championships with regaining the SmackDown, but also regaining the Raw Tag Team Championships, which we never even lost because we went to the draft and got switched, so there's so much emphasis going into this.

"And also the possibility to be the first time of having a victory over The Usos instead of being DQ'ed or counted out or whatever it is, so there's a lot of factors going into this, and I'd say the focus has always been intact, but now it's just different."

The Street Profits came agonizingly close to knocking off The Usos earlier this month at Money in the Bank in what was the match of the night and a match of the year contender, but it ended in controversy when Ford's shoulder was up during The Usos' winning pinfall.

As a result, The Street Profits were given a rematch at one of the biggest premium live events on the WWE calendar, and the chance to win titles for the first time in nearly two years and do something The Street Profits have never done before are two things that are driving Ford.

"That's what makes this match so big. We have done it all. We have won the NXT Tag Team Championships. We won the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championships, but we have not become the undisputed tag team champions," Ford said. "And as much as those accolades and everything we've done so far is so precious and sound beautiful, there's still one thing that we have left to accomplish.

"Whether people feel like we've reached our peak or we're at the end, it's like, 'No, we haven't even done everything that we wanted to do,' and that's to win the undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships. That's just something that has not happened, and I think that's why this hunger is happening because we haven't been champions for a while, we haven't been champions for years, and now we have the opportunity to do something that we have not done yet. That's become undisputed WWE tag team champions, and we will. We will, most definitely."

It is difficult to argue with the notion that The Usos are the best tag team in WWE given that they have been the SmackDown tag team champions for over a year and added the Raw tag team titles to their list of accolades during that time as well.

The Street Profits proved they could perform with them at a high level at Money in the Bank, though, and Ford explained what is pushing him to meet or exceed the Money in the Bank performance at SummerSlam:

"Just being hungry. Just being extremely, extremely hungry. ... It's not even trying to sound cocky or brash, but I feel like if you're not here trying to be the featured tag team, be the ones in the conversation, be world heavyweight champion, be in the world heavyweight championship contendership conversations, what's the passion? What are you here for? Granted, you gotta make your money no matter what, but what are you trying to initially prove? I'm not really trying to be complacent here ever, and I feel like now I've been hungrier than ever to not only just win and advance and to make a name, but to become champion once again."

One added element to the SummerSlam match compared to Money in the Bank is the insertion of a special guest referee in WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, who is a Tennessee native.

Ford laughed as he revealed that he "found out the same time as everything else, when everybody else found out," regarding Jarrett's involvement in the match, but expressed his belief that it should be a "good vibe," given Jarrett's status as a hometown hero.

While Ford can't control Jarrett's impact on the match, one thing he can control is his preparation, and he gave some insight into what his training has been like leading up to SummerSlam.

"All the training is pretty much for bulk, the bulking phase," he said. "So, not only can I keep up with them athletically, but I also wanna have that strength and endurance as well, and also have size because we've reached that point in our rivalry now where we're just ready to just throw hands. So, you wanna make sure you have some meat behind those punches when I'm giving it to The Usos."

Ford also divulged that using C4 Energy has been part of his regimen dating back to his time in the military before WWE, and he may have finally ended the longstanding mystery of what is inside The Street Profits' red plastic cups, saying: "Now everybody kind of knows what's in the cup sometimes. C4 Energy."

While Ford has always been in remarkable physical condition and capable of doing things athletically that few others in WWE can, a hot topic of conversation among fans and even the WWE announce team lately has been the transformation of his body.

Ford has noticeably added muscle, and that isn't by accident, as the 32-year-old veteran is doing everything he can to put himself in WWE's upper echelon.

"I just started looking around, and obviously the top guys, the guys who are in the main event of WrestleMania, the guys who are getting these world heavyweight championship opportunities, guys like Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre and of course Roman Reigns, these guys are fairly large, decent-sized, built men," he said.

"I wanna be WWE champion. I feel like everyone that's here either wants to be the tag team or wants to be the man eventually, and I just felt like I should start serving what was around me. ... That's just pretty much what I've been doing the past few months, is just putting on a very, very good weight, maintaining a very strict regimen, sticking to the regimen and just being consistent."

Although Ford has been a tag team specialist for the entirety of his WWE career, observers have taken notice of the changes he has made to his look, and he has always been lauded for his speaking ability, charisma and in-ring chops.

Because of that, his name has been brought up often as someone who may be ready to transition into the singles scene and go for a world title, but Ford isn't focused on that despite his desire to be WWE champion in the future.

"Right now, to be honest, I haven't really paid attention to any noise of branching off and becoming a singles competitor because when my music hits, I'm out there with my brother, I'm out there with Angelo Dawkins," he said. "I feel like sometimes if I start paying attention to whatever noise is out there, now I'm losing focus of the task at hand. ...

"I have a chance to become undisputed tag team champions with my brother, and if I'm putting more attention to the fact that, 'Oh, everyone thinks you can be a singles wrestler, a singles competitor,' I'm taking off a possible advance mission and goal that I have right here, and I've just been pretty much doing that my whole life, whatever goal and task that's in front of me, handle that and then you keep moving on and keep pushing to the next one."

Even so, it is difficult to ignore Ford's potential, and it is made even more difficult to turn a blind eye to the possibility of him becoming a top singles star when one of the most famous people in the world heaps praise on him.

WWE legend and Hollywood acting star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the most respected voices in the world of wrestling, and he recently gave a thumbs up to Ford, calling him the "whole package" and discussing his love for Ford's energy and work ethic in an interview with Entertainment Tonight this month.

Ford explained why The Rock's kind words mean so much to him and how they help motivate him to keep striving for more.

"Oh man, it's the greatest. ... I went through a lot of changes when I was younger, and I remember wrestling being an escape for me" he said. "And at the time when I was watching professional wrestling, The Rock was the one that I watched, idolized, mimicked, all the way down to the signature. I just am grateful to him and the lord that he provided me an escape of all the things that I was going through.

"He brought me through a lot of tough times in my young childhood, so now that's why I have the motivation of me doing what I do now with the passion and everything because you never know who you truly are inspiring out there, what they're going through and how you putting your best into whether it's entertaining or trying to win a championship can not only provide an escape to someone else, but also help them through troubling times. ... That's my extra motivation because I know what The Rock did for me."

Tez may not have any immediate plans to break away from Dawkins and dip his toe into the singles-division waters, but someone very close to Ford already has, and she continues to cement herself as one of the biggest stars in sports entertainment.

Ford's wife, Bianca Belair, is the reigning Raw women's champion, and she has been on one of the biggest hot streaks in all of wrestling over the past year-and-a-half.

Belair won the 2021 women's Royal Rumble match, defeated Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women's Championship in the main event of Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 and beat Becky Lynch for the Raw women's title at WrestleMania 38 in April.

Ford takes great pride in seeing all Belair has accomplished in such short order, saying, "It's so beautiful to see a beautiful person do beautiful things, and to love it and to have so much passion for it.

"The stuff she does motivates me because it gets me motivated to see how hungry and passionate she is about this stuff. She's very emotional and loves this stuff. I remember she used to talk about how she was just gaining more and more love for it, being around it so much.

"I have pride for it because I'm just happy for her. I'm happy that she's doing well. I don't take ownership of anything because I just want to be like she's been to me, just a positive influence so that she can keep succeeding and doing more and more great things. I'm so happy for her, so proud of her, and there's nothing more she can do to make me happy but just keep doing what she's doing."

Like Ford, Belair will compete in one of the biggest matches of her career at SummerSlam, taking on Lynch with the Raw Women's Championship hanging in the balance.

Lynch made her surprise return to the ring last year at SummerSlam after more than a year away and beat Belair for the SmackDown women's title in 26 seconds after hitting her with a cheap shot. That sent Belair down a path of redemption, and she got her revenge on Big Time Becks at WrestleMania.

SummerSlam may mark the end of their story arc, and Ford is anticipating them pulling off something special.

"Another stellar performance. They know each other so well, and this is one of those types of rivalries that's just personal," she said. "You can tell they kind of understand and respect each other because they're both trying to obtain the same thing, which is the Raw Women's Championship.

"They have that mutual respect for each other, but also knowing that, 'Hey, this person is in my way of that, so they're gonna have to catch it.' I love watching everything they do because they know each other so well, but they also want the same common thing and that's what makes them so great for each other, and it's gonna be another stellar performance. I can't wait to watch it."

If all goes well, both Ford and Belair could leave Nashville with championship gold in tow, which would mark the first time they have ever held titles simultaneously.

No matter the result of their matches, however, they will both have a significant hand in ensuring that SummerSlam delivers and entertains the WWE Universe.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.