Why Otis Is The Hero We All Need

Is Otis the closest to a ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan everyman we’ve had in ages? Paul Benson believes so.


Photo Credit: WWE

He doesn’t look like a superstar, he doesn’t sound like a superstar. He doesn’t really even act like a superstar…But a superstar he might well be. As he prepares to take part in WWE’s most unique Money In The Bank match ‘tonight’, Otis is a man with a very big future in WWE and could well be the guy that everyone in any given arena (ahem….) can get behind. Let’s have a look why.

Otis and Tucker came together to compete in the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament in NXT. After a first round loss to Roderick Strong and Austin Aries, the duo settled into the NXT midcard. A reliable presence to help the heel teams such as The Authors Of Pain and Undisputed Era get over. It wasn’t a classic tag team run but they served a purpose and had a unique look.

When they made their main roster debut on Smackdown in January 2019, it was with little fanfare. The best term to describe their run would likely be content indifference. Similar to NXT, they played a nice role on the card without troubling NXT. But pretty soon, the rumblings started.

It began with some choice facial expressions and an XXL version of The Worm. People were starting to notice the tag team. In particular, they were noticing Otis. It wasn’t a tsunami of praise or a sudden and enormous crowd backing but something was certainly happening. The big guy was getting over in the old fashioned sense of the word. It’s easy to see why. He had a natural charisma that was easy to root for and relate to. Something that can’t be taught. Natural charm and warmth. Let’s be honest as well, he has a look that we can all get behind. Nobody is getting particularly jealous of how Otis looks….Or more bluntly, nobody is getting jealous of how their girlfriend/boyfriend looks at Otis!

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Before long, WWE clearly started to capitalise on Otis’s new found popularity by beginning an onscreen story between him and Mandy Rose. It was easy to imagine where this was going. The manipulative Rose would use her looks to convince the loveable and lovestruck Otis to do her bidding while all the while laughing at him behind his back until finally, he wised up and took his anger out on whatever tight buttocked beau that Rose was really in cahoots with. Not a bad story but a well trodden one.

But that’s not where we went. It was a slowly, well handled story but it soon became obvious that Mandy actually appreciated her nervous suitor and wasn’t using him like we all thought. Obviously it wouldn’t be WWE without any soap opera so enter stage right, Dolph Ziggler and the phantom texter Sonya Deville who worked to try to derail this budding love story.

As we all know, that didn’t quite work and Dolph Ziggler came into Otis’s crosshairs before taking a beating at WrestleMania where the former temptress finally kissed Otis and stopped him from shaking. It was a genuinely heartwarming moment and one that would have brought the house down….If there had have been a house to bring down…..

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And where does that leave Otis. Well, a made man quite frankly. WWE crafted the perfect story to allow us to root for the guy while also giving him a genuine moment of triumph by getting the girl. We were all delighted for him, not resentful in any way like we might have been had it been a more….chiselled babyface locking lips with Rose. Otis is truly a man of the people and WWE have something on their hands they haven’t had for a while. A larger than life character, beloved by all demographics of their audience from kids to the most hardcore of workrate fans. Who doesn’t love Otis?

In a way, he reminds us of a throwback to a character like ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. A guy with far less in ring talent than Otis but a similar huge amount of genuine likability and a warm connection with everyone in the audience. People didn’t watch Ol’ Hacksaw for his crisp execution. They watched it because it made them genuinely happy when he won and earnestly worried when a heel would give him a proper pasting. It’s a type of character that has been largely forgotten. A babyface tough enough to be a genuine threat in the upper midcard but vulnerable enough both physically and emotionally to elicit genuine sadness when a villain hurts them. Ask yourself….When was the last time we got a character like that? Maybe Daniel Bryan but really, not quite because he was clearly a once in a generation wrestling talent who got over initially by being exceptional in ring.

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And do you know what….I’m sure Otis would give his hind teeth for half the career of Duggan. A man remembered fondly all these years on (Let’s forget the WCW years, shall we?) and a wrestler of the type that can be a hugely useful addition to the card but so hard to get right nowadays.

So in closing, well done Otis. We at Hooked On Wrestling are big fans. He embodies our ‘It’s Wrestling….Enjoy It’ mantra to a tee and we can’t wait to see if he can continue to enjoy the success and fan support he so richly deserves.

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