Titus O’Neil is one of the most physically gifted Rookies NXT has ever produced. But the WWE Universe almost never got to realize this after his performance on the show’s second season. Despite having the successful Zack Ryder as his Pro, the former University of Florida football star was the first person eliminated from competition.
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Luckily for O’Neil, he was afforded an opportunity of redemption when he was announced as a Rookie for season five of NXT. Promising to show more of the true Titus O’Neil this time around, the 270-pound mammoth has proven he has what it takes to be WWE’s next breakout star, thanks in large part to the strong leadership skills of his Pro, Hornswoggle. Along the way, he has laid waste to fellow Rookies Lucky Cannon and Darren Young, as well as JTG.
February 12, 2016 – Don’t cross the boss.
That seems to be the message Vince McMahon is sending to his roster in a bizarre decision about one of his Superstars.
Titus O’Neil was originally suspended 90 days for an incident involving WWE CEO Vince McMahon at the very end of Daniel Bryan’s retirement ceremony Monday night on Raw.
O’Neil grabbed McMahon’s arm as Vince passed by to exit the stage, drawing in McMahon for a face-to-face moment. It’s unclear what Titus’s motivation was for grabbing McMahon’s arm. McMahon was caught off-guard as he spun around, but everyone around them seemed to take it as good-natured fun. But, McMahon was angered by it, prompting the suspension.
However, the New York Post reported late Wednesday that the Stamford-based organization had scaled back the ban to 60 days.
There was backlash the suspension was racially motivated. WWE denied that to the Post.
“The suspension of Titus O’Neil had nothing to do with race and everything to do with unprofessional conduct,” WWE said in a statement.
The Post added that WWE claims O’Neil “acknowledged the gravity of his mistake” in a text message.
“I feel like sh** now so if you have to let me go, I understand. Stupid mistake,” he wrote, according to WWE.
O’Neil was going to be fired over the issue by McMahon. However, both Triple H and Joey Mercury talked him out of terminating his contract, which is why the suspension was so high originally.