How WWE Made The Titus Brand Work
It's time to get on the Titus Brand bandwagon, before WWE run it into the ground.
In the world of pro wrestling it is often hard to determine which gimmicks will work and which will not. Often an idea may seem great on paper, but once executed in front of a live audience the entire thing can become a complete bomb. In some instances keeping up with the same gimmick and really believing in it can turn people’s opinions around completely. A perfect example of this would be Matt Hardy, who delivered his Broken gimmick to what at first seemed to be a very negative response. But with time and persistence the character grew and fans were completely drawn in by it.
Right now in WWE there are a couple of gimmicks falling into this exact category. One is being done over on Smackdown Live with Breezango, who have managed to get the audience behind their often silly yet fun Fashion Police segments. The other one may not currently have the full backing of the WWE Universe, but it has struck a tremendous chord with me. I am referring to the Titus Brand, a gimmick brought on by Titus O’Neil that at first seemed like it was just another complete throw away. But with time things are starting to turn around for Titus O’Neil and for the Titus Brand in general.
The Titus Brand itself got off to a bit of a rocky start, having Titus placed in segments with Rusev, The New Day, and former tag team partner Darren Young. These segments were just not hitting fans as something we cared to get behind. I think most of the problem was that as fans we enjoy Rusev and The New Day, and when it comes to Darren Young there was just not enough there to take the Titus Brand to the levels it needed to go. The question then became what WWE could do, if anything, to turn around Titus O’Neil.
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The Superstar Shakeup then saw a young promising talent in the form of Apollo Crews come over from Smackdown Live to Monday Night Raw, where fans of Apollo were worried that much like most of his run with the main roster he would be forgotten about. That of course would be a real shame, as Apollo Crews has all the in ring tools and the look of a true superstar in the industry. The only things truly holding Apollo back had been a lack of real motivation for his character – that and the fact that he seems way too happy all the time. Apollo was in desperate need of a solid angle for him to work so the WWE Universe could have a reason to either love or hate his character.
Titus O’Neil then inserted himself into a role as a motivator for Crews. I will be a straight shooter here: at first I feared this would just end up being another toss away like previous Titus Brand segments were. To my surprise though, the awkward relationship between Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews started to work for both individuals. It was the Raw segment where Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews came out for a one on one encounter between Apollo and Enzo that the gimmick really started to click, especially for me.
Titus O’Neil owned the segment that night, as he brilliantly worked the mic and put Enzo Amore in his place. The segment then turned out to be Big Cass taking on Titus O’Neil, who was dressed in a suit, and it was a whole new level of fun I had not seen from Titus O’Neil since his arrival in the WWE. Apollo, while trying to keep up the act that he is still the same old smiling Apollo, then showed a side to himself we have not seen ever in his run with WWE or NXT. At the end of the match Apollo knocked Enzo out and protected his new mentor. This side of Apollo added more depth to his character, and quite possibly like myself woke up most fans to the idea that this is something that could truly work.
The next week on Raw Apollo lost his match against Kalisto due to being distracted by Titus O’Neil barking orders from outside of the ring. I was a little puzzled by the choice to have Apollo eat a loss in this match, but I was prepared to give it time and see where it could go. On the most recent episode of Raw it started to make perfect sense again when Titus O’Neil challenged Kalisto to a match so he could show Apollo exactly how to get the job done. Titus O’Neil picked up a win by using his weight advantage and a tug of the tights to pick up the win. This allowed Apollo to argue with Titus about his dirty tactics in order to obtain a win over Kalisto.
I could only imagine this is going to lead to a rematch between Kalisto and Apollo Crews, and for all we know it could happen as early as this Sunday during the kick off show for Extreme Rules. No matter when it happens though, I would venture a guess that Apollo is going to get some much needed assistance from Titus O’Neil to pick up the win. The win will likely incite frustration from Kalisto, who will begin to get red hot with Apollo for allowing himself to be part of the Titus Brand.
This, I feel, will be when we see the really angry side of Apollo Crews finally awaken and he will attack Kalisto with absolute malice. The kids will cry, the sinister die hard fans will chant thank you Apollo, and all the while we will see both Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews escalated in the right direction. These two have all the skills that any true Superstar should and it was only a matter of time before they found the right gimmick that worked for them. I believe they have found that in working together under the Titus Brand.
The Titus Brand could hopefully move on from this, and the possibility of maybe even seeing Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews team up together in the tag team division is a really refreshing idea. Titus O’Neil is already a former Tag Team Champion and a veteran of tag team wrestling, and pairing him with Apollo Crews as they seek out Championship gold could help to elevate both of their careers at this point. There are so many tag teams right now who are on the verge of separation, so a new injection of life in to the division would certainly be a nice change of pace. I for one could really see myself getting on board with the Titus Brand Tag Team Championship run over on Raw.
Not every single fan is going to agree with what I am saying here. There is still a large portion of the WWE Universe who seemingly do not yet want to get behind the Titus Brand, but give it time and those fans opinions could easily be changed. Just like any good gimmick it can take time, patience, and understanding for it to reach the heights it needs to. The Titus Brand is off to an excellent start and I feel it is going to something to keep an eye on as 2017 progresses.
I am now going to put it all on the line here and ask the man himself, Titus O’Neil, to give this article the Titus Brand stamp of approval.