WWE has a main-event angle and with a top-flight talent in its ranks, just waiting for the opportunity to shine at the top of the card.
Say hello to Titus O’Neil and his titular stable, Titus Worldwide.
The Titus Brand is indeed going worldwide through pro and college sports. At the most recent episode of Raw, NBA veteran Vince Carter pledged his allegiance to Titus Worldwide.
O’Neil paid a visit to UCLA football earlier this spring, prior to a speaking engagement at the university.
— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) May 16, 2017
“He was one heckuva good guy. Fun to have around,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said of O’Neil, adding a reference to the latter’s college playing career. “I asked him if he had any snaps left in him.”
O’Neil hasn’t played football in some time, and he hadn’t wrestled on TV in several months when Titus Worldwide debuted. The Titus Brand gave a naturally charismatic talent a chance to shine, and provide storylines for talented wrestlers feeling out their place on the show, Apollo Crews and Akira Tozawa.
Along the way, however something organic has started to build. An excellent performer in the ring but not an English speaker, Tozawa needed a representative who could help his character connect with fans. The skits leading up to Tozawa’s signing with Titus Worldwide entertaining, and Tozawa’s ascent into the main event of the cruiserweight division
WWE has something special in Titus Worldwide, and is only beginning to scratch the surface.
O’Neil’s long been tailor-made for stardom: Born Thaddeus Bullard, he was a defensive lineman for a national championship-winning college football program, much in the same vein as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Bullard plied his trade further north in the Sunshine State at the University of Florida, earning a ring with the 1997 Gators.
Titus Worldwide may well have an honorary member in Steve Spurrier, a friend of wrestling great Ric Flair.
If those two Hall of Fame connections weren’t enough, Bullard — in his current incarnation as O’Neil — has been known to make stops to visit future College Hall of Famer and friend Urban Meyer’s office.
It’s no secret WWE has long sought mainstream attention through avenues of legitimate sport. Muhammad Ali appeared at inaugural WrestleMania, and NFL players actually wrestled at the event’s second installment, setting the precedent for Lawrence Taylor’s main event against Bam Bam Bigelow in 1995.
Bob Uecker provided guest commentary for two WrestleManias, Pete Rose subjected himself to Tombstone Piledrivers twice in the late ’90s, and Floyd Mayweather faced the Big Show (former Wichita State basketball player Paul Wight!) at WrestleMania XXIV.
In more recent years, the Rose Bowl-winning Michigan State Spartans’ chants of YES! helped solidify Daniel Bryan as a main-event player.
The sports world could — and should — elevate Titus Worldwide to similar heights.
But Bullard’s ties to sports don’t cover the extent of the top-level potential for Titus O’Neil’s brand. O’Neil owns his role as the eloquent, energetic agent, displaying an infectious charisma that makes getting behind his clients easy — as evidenced in the growing fan support for Tozawa.
The character Titus O’Neil shines naturally because it’s Thaddeus Bullard turned up to another level. He gives Tedx Talks on improving communities.
An award-winner for his humanitarian work and accomplishments as a father, the likability O’Neil exudes in character comes from a genuine place. And the best wrestling angles often come from authentic roots.
What’s more, Titus Worldwide feels organically fresh and connected to modern themes. The growth of Big Baller Brand — given an outlet on WWE Raw — offers a real-world parallel.
Titus Worldwide is a main-event potential angle that simply needs its main-event wrestler. If only there was someone WWE wanted to present as a cheered hero, but who needs a charismatic spokesman to bridge the gap between his great in-ring and connection with the fans…Say a guy who, like O’Neil, played defensive line at a prominent college football program…