Former WWE Tag Team Champion Titus O’Neil has admitted that he wanted to pattern his WWE career on NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Titus O’Neil is best known these days as a WWE ambassador, spreading the company’s message and doing his bit to help the charitable causes associated with the promotion. O’Neil has not stepped in a wrestling ring since losing a WWE US Title match to Bobby Lashley in November 2020 but he did appear on-screen to co-host WrestleMania 37 alongside Hulk Hogan.
Speaking on The Dad Edge podcast, O’Neil revealed that he took his inspiration for his WWE career, not from another wrestling star, but from basketball great, Shaquille O’Neal:
“My youngest son’s name is Titus and Shaquille O’Neal is my fraternity brother, and he’s also one of my favorite all-time sports entertainers, he did more than just play basketball. He was rapping, he was in movies, in every other commercial you could name, pushing every product you could name. I felt that I wanted to be the Shaquille O’Neal of WWE where I didn’t want to just be known as a professional wrestler, I wanted to be a superstar that could do anything and everything.”
“Put me in a movie, put me on the red carpet, put me at a football game, commentate, do whatever and I’d be just fine. That’s how I came up with Titus O’Neil. Of course, somebody thought that I should be Irish so they took the A out and put an I in.”
Shaquille O’Neal made his official WWE debut at WrestleMania 32 when he was a part of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Shaq competed in AEW in March 2021 when he teamed with the debuting Jade Cargill to defeat Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet.