WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil is this week’s guest on Turnbuckle Weekly with Chuck Carroll.
Make no mistake about it — Slater Gator is not a tag team.
Titus O’Neil and Heath Slater may be racking up a few wins of late, but the former Prime Time Player says they were just randomly thrown together when WWE was short-staffed because much of the roster was touring Japan.
“Heath seems to be a thorn in my side more so than he is a partner to me,” he said. “Slater Gator was something he literally put together because his name is Slater and I’m a former Florida Gator.”
Of course that didn’t stop him from getting all excited when his “not a tag team” tag team partner scored a huge victory over Mr. Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins, on RAW recently.
O’Neil has been flying solo since WWE writers decided to have him split from his on-camera tag partner Darren Young earlier this year. The splintering came shortly after Young’s popularity skyrocketed when he became the first active wrestler in the company’s history to disclose that he was gay.
O’Neil had mixed feelings about the breakup.
“[It was] bad because I didn’t feel we accomplished anywhere near the success I felt we could accomplish as a team,” O’Neil said. “At the same token, it was good because I didn’t get into this to be a tag team wrestler. I got into this to be a WWE main event superstar.”
Although his eyes are firmly planted on winning the WWE Championship as a singles competitor, he says he’s still happy to be working (unofficially) with Slater and will take on any challenge given to him by the company.
As for Young, he said he still considers the other half of the Prime Time Players to be one of his best friends in real life.
O’Neil is also very active in a host of charitable organizations and was recently featured in the “Take Time To Be a Dad Today” campaign. The PSA featured a number of WWE Superstars spending time with their children to highlight the critical role fathers play in a child’s life.
I caught up with O’Neil as WWE prepares to roll into Seattle for Smackdown Tuesday night at the Key Arena. Naturally, with Washington being Daniel Bryan territory, we talked about the Yes! man as well.
Here is a look at everything we covered:
- Slater Gator: The odd pairing that surprisingly works
- Their roll at SummerSlam
- Will Slater Gator be in WWE 2K15?
- Was he a comedian when he played college and pro football?
- Best wrestlers on the microphone
- His reaction when WWE told him Prime Time Players were being split up
- His relationship with Darren Young
- Darren Young’s injury update
- Reaction to Daniel Bryan chasing down a burglar
And now a few highlights:
Daniel Bryan chasing down a burglar
“I have a lot respect for him anyway. He is, obviously, dealing with some neck issues. So, my first concern would be are there any ramifications or health issues coming from that? I want him back just like the rest of the WWE Universe wants him back. He’s a very fun person to watch and he’s a really really good person and performer. He’s different. And unless you get a chance to be around him on a daily basis, you won’t understand and be able to appreciate how great his differences are to most people.”
Darren Young rehab update
“It’s coming along excellent… I talked to him last week because a couple of my friends went to a concert with him and his partner, Nicky. It was a Maxwell concert. He’s doing well and he’ll comeback, I’m sure, very motivated. Hell, he may even come try to beat me and Heath’s (butt) for partnering up. We might have to have the Prime Time Players rejoin.”
Best wrestlers ever on the mic
“My favorites would probably be Stone Cold Steve Austin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson… They come from a football atmosphere so there’s an attitude that comes with that. But there’s also an understanding of chemistry and being able to be who you are and knowing how to have swagger and confidence. Those things will always come out at the end of the day regardless of lack of experience in certain fields.”
The full interview can be heard at the top of the page.
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @TheChuckCarroll.