In part two of our interview with Titus O’Neil, he speaks a bit about his love for Christian hip-hop, faith behind the scenes of the WWE, and being more than a stereotypical black man on TV.
Last week Titus said when his WWE contract is over, he’ll be done with pro wrestling for good. However, there is still a few things he hopes to accomplish.
Titus knows it's not necessarily up to him as far as his WWE path is concerned, but he'd love to "carry the torch" of the WWE world champion. He wouldn’t mind a run at the Intercontinental and United States Champion belts either.
"Anytime you're labeled a champion you're considered one of the best,” he said. "I came here to be the best, and compete with the best."
He also wishes to corporately help the company in setting up amazing opportunities outside the ring to assist in building communities and relationships with people who need it.
O’Neil contends that if none of this happens, "It wasn't a lifelong dream [WWE], but it's been a dream.”
He continued, “We all set goals. Some of them we reach and some we don't for various reasons. I would not consider myself a failure because I wasn't supposed to be here in a lot of people's eyes. Now I'm in the history books as a former tag team champion, and clearly one of the greatest ambassadors on our roster when it comes to philanthropy and being a man of character.”
As far as character development is concerned, Titus would love to see that evolve.
“I do have a past, and a legitimate story to tell, and if they wanted to tell it on television to justify any situation whether heel or baby face, I look forward to displaying those things more on a consistent basis,” he admitted. "At the end of the day I'm paid to entertain, but I also feel like I'm paid by God to be the greatest ambassador to Him that I can possibly be.”
Titus said he’s always been very adamant about not being a "stereotypical character." He's a man of the masses and enjoys having fun whether on screen or off screen. He said "playing the angry black man" role would go against his nature as a person. He believes he has more to offer than that. “I have nothing to be upset about, I have a beautiful home and a beautiful family, and a college education. I'm cool with being an entertainer. All good ones have layers to them.”
He continued, “I take pride in what many people call a ‘great man’. There are great performers that have no integrity, they have no desire to do anything outside of making as much money as they possibly can so they can go buy all the things they want to buy. They have no concept of community, they have no concept of teamwork. It's all about them. I'm the complete opposite.”
“Everything I get in life is an opportunity for me to bless other people, and I'll continue to be blessed,” he shared.
This is a message he wishes to impart to his two young sons. "I'll tell my children, the color of your skin has nothing to do with the content of your character.”
Titus knows his faith, just like anything, is a work in progress. He said he tries to “sharpen iron” with fellow believers in the company. They may not all meet for Bible studies, but people such as Scott Armstrong, Road Dogg, and Fit Finley share emails of faith that contain a word of the day.
On his end, Titus tries to get up early every morning to share a verse and encouragement on social media. This is something he has always done, which is contrary to what many media outlets reported when they said scripture was his first response to the suspension.
At the end of the day, he said temptation is the same everywhere. It’s the same battle for all the believers in the company, both the guys and the Divas. “It's tough to put the armor on sometimes.”
"I'm not running around claiming to be a perfect person. I'm just operating in the perfect will of God,” he said. “I unapologetically love God and Christ and what He's done for me and my family's life.”
O’Neil keeps his faith strong by getting in the zone with music. He said he listens to Lecrae and is a huge fan of Bizzle. Some other favorites are Tye Tribbett and Kirk Franklin, but really, he's a listener of all music whether it be Shekinah Glory Ministry, Robert McDowell, Israel Houghton, or Tasha Cobbs.
“I may work out to Tupac one day and work out to Lecrae the next,” he said with a laugh.
Out of all the music he listens to, Bizzle would be the guy he would pick to bump as his entrance music.
Bizzle’s music is known for its unashamed faith and powerful message. This is something that Titus has a conviction towards.
When asked about speaking words of encouragement to someone who is distressed about what they see on the news or are bombarded with on social media, the wrestler had some wise words.
“The media is a very powerful influence one way or another. I don't vote based on party lines. The best thing we can all do as an individual is to go out with the mindset of making our communities better ourselves,” Titus said. “That's the reason I do what I do. I want to make those people around me better. I want them to be able to see past race, past color, past religion. I always say I’m not a religious person. I'm a man of faith. I believe in God, I believe in Christ, but there are people that are Muslim and I respect their faith, I respect Catholics, I respect nondenominationals, I respect an Atheist. I think at the end of the day if people took more time on focusing on the thing we're all bound by, which is love, it overcomes any and everything.”
Titus said he’d never compare himself to great black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., but said he looked up to him and Muhammed Ali. He strived to emulate them because they did great things for the sake of doing the “right thing.”
“People need to concentrate more on the character of their communities. How do you want your neighborhoods and schools to look? Do you want them to be the best or the worst?”
In closing, Titus said he is “clearly not bitter” about this whole WWE situation. He views all the great things that happened in between as a blessing.
“When you think about it, WWE didn't break the story. It got announced by Fox Sports news,” he said. “Outlets that had nothing to do with wrestling took this story and the fans responded. If I were a problematic person, or cancer in the locker room, or a repeated jerk, I could definitely see the reasoning behind the length of the suspension.”
“At the end of the day it all stems from my actions, whether it was an act of gesture or a jovial playful situation, it was deemed inappropriate, I just deal with it.”
To read part one with Titus O’Neil, click here.
What do you think of O’Neil’s outlook on this suspension? Did he gain your respect for being a man of character?