While most sporting events are temporarily being put on hold during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, WWE’s Money in The Bank offers a rare opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy their favourite athletes perform! Here, Tara Pilkington talks to Otis about training for this event, and how sport can be used as a form of much-needed escapism during these stressful times.
WWE’s popular ‘Money in the Bank’ event is headlined by a ‘Ladder Match’ where competitors have to ‘climb the corporate ladder’ to win a contract which will allow them to challenge for a WWE Title of their choosing whenever they want!
Tara: Can you talk a bit about your preparation for this event, and how this may have changed during the current climate?
Otis: To be honest I’m very afraid of heights but if there is a mountain ahead of you’ve gotta climb it. The strategy right now is to stay on that ladder and not come down and I’m kinda scared, I’m 365lbs I don’t know if that ladder can carry me, I’m hoping it does.
The strategy is just try to get in there and get that briefcase. It’s going to be a crazy match. I don’t even know what’s going to go on when we get in there, it’s going to be at the headquarters, I hope we don’t break anything too expensive in there but what can you do when you’ve got six men out there going for that contract. The game plan is to climb that ladder but I’m a little nervous about it!
Tara: How important do you think sport is in terms of escapism at the moment?
Otis: Huge, we’re lucky enough to be able to do it. Obviously we miss the crowd so bad, every time we’re in the ring it’s like ‘what’s that thing missing’, it’s the people in those beautiful stands but to continue being able to do what we do is awesome!
I’m glad to be able to get that escape from reality because out there it’s a pandemic, things are getting juicy, you’ve got to think twice before you go out in public, you’ve got to think about the safety of yourself. The safety of us travelling couldn’t be any cleaner, they clean those planes all the time they smell like the spray they use all the time so I know it’s clean.
We’ve got to do our job, get checked up and we’re just blessed to keep it going. The way things are going that’s what we miss, the crowd, but hopefully they will come back slower and slower.
Tara: How do you think the world of sport will adapt and change in the coming months?
Otis: The change is going to be huge, there are always loaded domes and arenas all the time, basketball games, so hopefully by July we’ll start seeing sports going on.
Right now the world without sports is definitely bad for most men because we all enjoy having a cold one, watching a good game, cooking up dinner and just spending time with family. It’s a family thing, sport brings families together and WWE does the same, it brings them together and people need that, they need an escape and right now the only escapism is streaming on Netflix or WWE or Hulu.
We need that live, everything is better live in my opinion. You watch them on TV but if you see it live that’s where the magic in!
Tara: Finally, do you have any advice for people that are channelling their energy through sport at the moment?
Otis: Keep cool, obviously now the public gyms are closed so you can’t go to a gym but make sure you get those home workouts in, lucky for me I live next to Chad Gable so I go over and we get a workout done.
Training is good, training has never stopped but what we miss is having a full schedule which we used to have, coming in 4/5 days a week and constantly entertaining the crowd. It’s going to take some time to get back in the flow of things but I’m sure everyone that is sitting at home right now is going to give us their best performance when it comes to it, we’re living it out every Friday, every pay-per-view, but actually some of guys have been sitting here for 4-5 months and there’s going to be a lot of energy coming out of them.
For the first time ever, Money in the Bank is not being held in a WWE ring, but instead at WWE HQ in the US, with the WWE Superstars having to risk it all if they want to win.
There will no doubt be more unexpected results, and more astonishing moments as WWE Superstars gear up to climb the corporate ladder at Money in the Bank this Sunday evening on the WWE Network.
- WWE Money In The Bank is taking place on Sunday 11 May, 12AM BST.
- Viewers in the UK can watch by subscribing to the WWE Network for £9.99 a month or get their first month free with access to a library including hundreds of thousands of hours of WWE