During a time when there isn’t an audience to gauge fan reactions, Otis might arguably be the most over WWE superstar right now. Topping the WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre, Universal Champion, Braun Strowman, and even the demented Bray Wyatt with his Firefly Fun House isn’t enough to capture television spotlight as much as Otis in 2020. What better way to toy with fan emotions and set up a major character development than to turn Otis heel.
Before I get into the specifics, let’s put this into perspective. In a matter of 5 months, Otis has turned into the main babyface for the company. Yes, you read right. Not even the WWE Champion is more liked right now than Otis. And that is telling from the company’s standpoint. The Drew McIntyre story will be saved for another day, but no way should Drew be a babyface champion in this crowd less era of wrestling. Drew’s good guy attitude seems so forced, it’s bordering phony. But Drew is for another editorial. I digress…
The rise to main event status is being able to captivate an entire audience …
Towards the end of 2019, we saw Otis start to excel outside the tag team division and really start to separate himself from Tucker. To me, Otis and Tucker are the Enzo and Cass of 2020. While Tucker is good, Otis is the main attraction and this team will certainly end sooner than later – and that is a good thing.
His connection with Mandy Rose is exactly the chemistry you’d expect from the two lovebirds. It’s almost like they were meant to be paired with one another. At no point has their story over the last few months felt fake. Because of this, Otis has become a believable character, distant from his over the top comedic personality he was trending to be typecast into.
His believability has been raw emotion. The working man doing everything to make things work out his way. Being nice and kind, or funny and admirable, and still winning over the hot girl who is typically reserved for those opposite of him. Winning Money in the Bank in 2020, solidified Otis as a working man doing everything right but also being at the right place at the right time.
But his shtick will only get him so far. The likability of the Otis character can only be presented in a way that makes people like him because they feel bad for him, not because he deserves it. The road for Otis has to end in either two ways: 1) he cashes in AND wins the main title, or 2) he cashes in AND loses. The build for him will be that he cashes in, and we can all expect him to do so. But once he wins (or for that matter, loses) his opportunity, what good will come from it? Otis winning the main title from either Strowman or McIntyre makes absolutely no sense. Why? Because all three men are babyface characters, and someone will need to be the heel.
“Alright, so, let’s turn Strowman or McIntyre heel”.
That will be a huge problem. A heel Strowman or McIntyre makes them even more dominant. No chance anyone gets in either man’s way unless they’re Cena or Lesnar. Otis wouldn’t stand a chance, and the believability would be lost in the shuffle of comedy gimmicks eventually.
This is why it would only make sense for Otis to turn heel to go after the title. But it has to happen NOW.
Here’s how it would work.
The Working Man storyline
First, we need to dive into two potential character paths. For Otis to become a heel, he has to have a really compelling reason to become this changed man. What worked for his character was the raw emotion of being a blue-collar worker. The audience could relate to that, and his working from behind, getting the girl and winning the briefcase, is a feel-good story that people need right now. So, let’s reverse that philosophy. How could someone be hated for standing up for the average person?
The white-collar promotion (Looking down at the blue-collar worker)
Otis winning Money in the Bank was like a laborer being offering a promotion to management. Sticking to the theme of this year’s MITB where it was about “climbing the corporate ladder”, Otis was the blue-collar laborer who once fought for the everyday man and women, but now looks past that to a management role. He’s taken himself seriously, and now that he’s got the girl, he can settle into a more secure role as an upper-class citizen.
He spits on the faces of everyone who goes out and works hard because he knows, in order to get anywhere in life, it’s not about working hard, it’s about knowing who you know and thinking only of oneself. He won MITB because he was at the right place at the right time, but also because he believes he deserves his promotion to the better class.
The snobby new Otis would sport a well-dressed suit and tie, and clean shave, going away from his hair that made him look dirty and a hard worker.
This look also helps his case against Strowman, where Strowman can be the likable one in their feud (if it were to go there). Strowman would now be the real “man’s man”, giving it a good story to tell until Summerslam.
Paired with Mandy, she gives that extra edge that only the bad guys or the promoted (richer guys) really get the girl in the end.
But there has to be another option. What if Otis stood for another type of working man …
Labor Extremist (Union representation who’s against the corporate structure)
This time, Otis isn’t a management wannabe. Instead, he’s the exact opposite. He despises corporate greed and the structure it’s built around. The foundation of a union is what fuels America, not climbing some political ladder.
In this, think a mixture of Jimmy Hoffa and Right to Censor from the Attitude Era. Otis would be the leader of a kayfabe union in professional wrestling. Disrupting decisions from McMahon or HHH, and challenging referee decisions in his and other heel matches. Even further, Otis would fight for equal representation, pushing for mid-card talent to get equal time on TV (obviously only the heels).
Otis never needed to climb the Corporate Greed Ladder, he won his opportunity because he deserved it after working hard for so long.