Money in the Bank winner Otis says WWE operating safely amid COVID-19, revisits his 'crazy' ladder match
“It was crazy!” said WWE wrestler Otis reflecting on his experience of competing in this year's unique Money in the Bank ladder match.
The WWE keeps giving us underdog stories to relish, one pay-per-view after another.
At Wrestlemania 36, the last pay-per-view, it was Drew McIntyre, who vanquished the legendary Brock Lesnar to lift the WWE title.
More recently, at the Money in the Bank (MITB), history repeated itself as Otis, quite unexpectedly, outlasted five competitors (including the likes of AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio and Daniel Bryan) to win the men’s ladder match.
Otis, however, did not experience hooting by his fans as the WWE — in wake of the coronavirus pandemic — hosted its second pay-per-view (after Wrestlemania) without a live audience. Still, wrestling, being a contact sport, raises a pertinent question regarding the health of the competing wrestlers and other involved officials. When asked about the same, the 330-pounder assured the WWE is taking the necessary precautions.
“The company is checking upon us regularly, conducting all sorts of tests. It’s a crazy time in the world right now with COVID-19. Fortunately, we’re still entertaining guys throughout the world. We’re checking everything, making sure everything is clean before we get to compete in that squared circle. For us, even travelling is the safest it’s ever been since there are only a select few flights and only a few people in the airplane. The precautions are full too and as a result, I don’t see any risk working at this time. Bringing you guys some entertainment gives us a good time too and we’re doing just that,” Otis told Firstpost in a conference call.
Notably, Otis’ MITB ladder match was unlike any other in WWE’s history. The wrestlers battled all the way from the ground floor to the roof of the WWE Headquarters in Connecticut. Also, it was the first time that the men’s and women’s MITB ladder matches were held simultaneously.
“It was crazy!” said the 28-year-old reflecting on his experience of competing in such a unique match.
“You had 12 competitors (six each for the men’s and women’s match) in one bout and all of them competing for two different briefcases. It was crazy, everything was completely new to us. I just felt honoured to have competed in that first-of-its-kind match.”
Besides, Otis admitted his fear of heights and felt the moment he climbed to the top of the roof was one to remember.
“My favourite part of the match was climbing to the top of the roof because that’s a lot higher than what people think. That’s scary stuff. On top of that, I have a fear of heights. I am very comfortable when both my feet are planted and I’m running through somebody. But overcoming my fear of my heights and winning the Money in the Bank… that’s something I’ll look back at when I grow old and go ‘Man, I’ve done some real good stuff’.”
Some might call Otis’ victory a fluke since he didn’t have to climb a ladder to win the MITB briefcase. Instead, the briefcase fell straight into his waiting arms, thanks to AJ Styles who accidentally dropped it from the top of the ladder while fighting King Corbin. Regardless, the Money in the Bank contract assures him a guaranteed shot at any title of his liking, and thus, the entire Smackdown roster will be wary of his presence.
Although Otis did not reveal the title he was after, the American promised that he will cash in the contract only when a wrestler is “fresh”, something that is rarely seen.
“That’s the fun part about being Mr MITB. I could either cash in the contract for the tag team championship alongside Tucky (Tucker Knight) or it could be the world championship or even the universal championship. You never know what’s coming next baby.”
“But as a good man, I am not going to do it as some people have done it in the past, like when a guy is down and out and he can’t go anymore. I am going to do it when a guy is fresh,” a spirited Otis said.
When asked about the WWE superstars he looked up to while growing up, the Heavy Machinery member mentioned Hulk Hogan, Macho Man and Scotty 2 Hotty.
“I have gotta say Hulk Hogan or Macho Man because when you watch their matches, when they made their entry, the crowd went crazy. They were larger than life figures. It was like superheroes walking towards the ring. Scotty to Hotty was inspirational as well and I was blessed to have him as my coach at the Performance Centre.”
(Watch Otis in action every Saturday live on WWE SmackDown on Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 channels from 5.30 am IST and other WWE Blockbusters daily at 8 pm)
The health minister chaired a meeting with key experts and officials on COVID-19 and vaccination situation in the country on Thursday
The main finding — 19.8 million COVID-19 deaths were prevented — is based on estimates of how many more deaths than usual occurred during the time period. Using only reported COVID-19 deaths, the same model yielded 14.4 million deaths averted by vaccines
As fans again fill stadiums this summer, a string of Covid-19 cases in major events suggest it is too early to cheer pandemic-free sport.