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'The Sky's The Limit For Alpha Academy': Otis Talks His Team's Trajectory In Exclusive Interview
The former Money in the Bank winner also had words for Logan Paul!
It seems like an eternity ago when Otis won the unforgettable 2020 Money in the Bank match, doesn’t it? Who can forget that ending: The briefcase slipping out of AJ Styles' grasp and landing literally into Otis’ hands, anointing him as worthy of a future WWE title opportunity.
For most Money in the Bank winners, a title reign is almost guaranteed. After all, being able to cash in the contract at literally any moment puts the briefcase holder in a massive advantage, and the champion usually gets steamrolled en route to losing the gold.
But as we all know, Otis never got the chance to go after the championship. In fact, he never even came close. After his Heavy Machinery tag team partner Tucker turned on him during a match against the Miz with the briefcase on the line, that future title shot slipped out of his hands as easily as it landed in them.
Fast forward to today.
Otis has found a new tag team partner in Chad Gable, as the two of them have combined their extensive amateur wrestling background to make Alpha Academy, a team that at times feels like the second coming of the Hart Foundation — with Otis in the Jim Neidhart role and Gable in the Bret Hart role. As one of the top tag teams currently on Monday Night RAW, they’ve been embroiled in feuds with some of the greatest teams on the roster.
USA Insider sat down with Otis recently to talk about his career arc, his ambitions, and his relationship with his tag team partner, Chad Gable. Not surprisingly, Otis had a lot to say, revealing a candid side that is a far cry from his over-the-top persona frequently shown on WWE television. Right off the bat, he addressed the immediate plans for himself and his tag team partner.
“The sky’s the limit for Alpha Academy,” he said. “The tag team division is stacked right now, so we’re expanding our storylines, branching out into singles competition and testing the waters. But we’re a team, if Chad Gable is out there in a singles match, I’m out there. If I’m in a match, he’s out there coaching me through my movements, through my strategies ... so even though we haven’t been as busy as usual in the tag division, we’re keeping busy, like with Matt Riddle on Monday.”
The evolution of Otis as a performer has been a vital part of his development, as in recent years he has (mostly) let go of the sometimes-wacky persona that made him famous. Nevertheless, during the Halloween-themed RAW just a few weeks back, he turned back the clock for the WWE Universe.
“It was fun revisiting that old Otis character ... during the Trick or Street Fight match last month, but at the same time, I want to make it clear: I’m still a machine, still a beast, and I get things done in the ring,” he said.
Speaking of getting it done in the ring, Otis recently squared off with Braun Strowman and nearly pulled off the upset. He told us that he wasn’t surprised that he fared so well against a larger opponent; after all, he’s been doing it his entire career.
“In the amateur wrestling world, I was always the short heavyweight. I remember competing at the Pan-American Games in San Paulo, Brazil and walking into the weigh-ins — I was the only one in the room who spoke English — and I remember walking in ... I’m only 5’8, and everybody else was six-foot-plus, and they were just like, ‘Who’s this little guy?’” he said. “But I’ve always had that leverage where I can get under a guy so easily, I’m like a missile or a bullet. So I always go for the underhook to really get a guy off balance. So you know, I’m sure Braun was surprised himself to see me come at him the way I did. But he’s a monster, he’s not a normal man, and I knew he’d come back at me and damn it, he got me at the end with that damn powerbomb. That Braun is a son of a gun.”
Although he and Chad Gable have been mixing it up in both the tag ranks and the singles division, Otis admitted that he definitely has a preference.
“Oh, nothing beats being on the road with your partner. That’s why I prefer being in a tag team. Especially with Chad,” he said. “You know, in the ring, he’s the best. He’s a technician, he’s one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. And then there’s me, the tree trunk of a brawler. But traveling together, my wild side comes out. You have to entertain yourself on the road, right? It’s like Chris Farley and David Spade in a car together — it’s just fun. We argue over the radio; he loves this techno music. Lucky for him it puts me to sleep every time. But he’s always got his hand on the heater; it would be nice to have the air conditioning on one of these times.”
(We didn’t know how much we wanted to see Otis and Chad Gable act out scenes from "Tommy Boy" on a regular basis until right then and there — WWE’s YouTube team, make it happen!)
Otis didn’t shy away from his thoughts on Logan Paul, revealing that his respect towards Paul “isn’t quite there yet,” but it’s getting there. Otis also couldn’t help himself but take a shot at Paul’s knee injury he suffered at Crown Jewel.
“He’s an entertaining guy, but he definitely found out that sports entertainment is no joke, it’s no ballet. So you gotta build that body more calloused there, buddy,” he cautioned the rookie.
Looking ahead into 2023, Otis revealed his best-case scenario for himself career-wise, and it involves going after gold on the grandest stage of them all.
“Just off the top of my head, I’ll call it now: Triple Threat tag team match at WrestleMania,” he said confidently. “Alpha Academy as challengers, the Street Profits as challengers, and the Usos defending as the champions. And we win the tag team championships, of course — that’s the best part.”
Not a bad goal to have, if you ask us! Here’s hoping that Otis’ prediction comes true.
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