Thaddeus Michael Bullard Sr. (born April 29, 1977) is an American professional wrestler and retired professional American football player. He is signed to WWE on the Raw brand under the ring name Titus O'Neil. Bullard played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally in the Arena Football League (AFL). Bullard's career as a professional wrestler began when he was part of the second season of NXT, and also competed in the show's fifth season, NXT Redemption.
Thaddeus Bullard was born in Boynton Beach, Florida. He grew up in Live Oak, Florida, where he attended Suwannee High School. He was a standout player for the Suwannee Bulldogs high school football, and was recognized by USA Today, SuperPrep, and Parade magazine as a high school All-American as a senior in 1995.
Bullard accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and played for coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football team from 1997 to 2000. He redshirted during the Gators' 1996 national championship season. Bullard lettered the next four seasons, playing in forty-four regular season games with three starts. He was elected student body vice president in April 2000, and graduated in August 2000. While he was an undergraduate, he was initiated as a brother of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
After college, Bullard played in the Arena Football League from 2003 to 2007 with the Utah Blaze, Tampa Bay Storm, Las Vegas Gladiators and the Carolina Cobras.
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
Developmental territories (2009–2012)
Bullard signed a developmental deal with World Wrestling Entertainment in mid-2009 and began training with their development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. He made his television debut on the January 16, 2010 episode of FCW's show on Bright House Sports Network as Titus O'Neil in a tag team match with Skip Sheffield, losing to the team of Vance Archer and Alex Riley. On December 3, O'Neil teamed with Damien Sandow to win the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship after defeating Xavier Woods and Mason Ryan in a match for the vacant championship. The pair lost the championship to Seth Rollins and Richie Steamboat on March 25, 2011.
O'Neil competed in the second season of WWE NXT, with Zack Ryder as his mentor. He debuted on June 8, teaming with Ryder to lose to John Morrison and Eli Cottonwood. During and after the bout the two argued. The following week the two made up. Two weeks later, O'Neil was the first person eliminated from the second season of NXT, and gave a farewell speech before leaving the arena. O'Neil returned for the season finale on August 31, joining the other eliminated rookies in attacking the winner, Kaval.
In March 2011, O'Neil was selected as one of the six former NXT contestants to return to the show in its fifth season, NXT Redemption, being mentored by Hornswoggle. In the season premiere, O'Neil defeated Lucky Cannon in the main event. The two also feuded with Darren Young and his pro, Hornswoggle's old nemesis, Chavo Guerrerro. Following Lucky Cannon's elimination on the May 14, 2011 episode of NXT Redemption, O'Neil lead the fans in a rendition of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, as a tribute to the recently retired Edge. On the June 21 episode of NXT Redemption, O'Neil's pro from season two, Zack Ryder, returned for one night only to face and defeat O'Neil. On the July 12, 2011 episode of NXT, he faced off against Darren Young and Derrick Bateman in a triple threat elimination match, which saw him lose to Bateman. 8 days later, O'Neil teamed up with NXT host Matt Striker in a winning effort against Darren Young and Derrick Bateman after Young was pinned by O'Neil.
On the September 8 episode of WWE Superstars, O'Neil teamed with Percy Watson in a losing effort against Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. O'Neil and Watson defeated Derrick Bateman and Tyson Kidd, as well as Bateman and JTG, but lost to Darren Young and JTG.
On the November 16, 2011 episode of NXT, O'Neil was assaulted by a returning Darren Young. Young was then able to get the better of O'Neil twice in tag team matches. The conclusion to O'Neil's feud with Young came when O'Neil defeated Young in a no disqualifications match on the January 18 episode of NXT. O'Neil then turned heel after the match, verbally ripping on the audience, his former pro Hornswoggle, and NXT itself.
O'Neil later urged his friend Percy Watson to also turn his back on the fans on the January 25, 2012 episode of NXT. When Watson refused, O'Neil shoved him and a match between the two was booked, leading to O'Neil defeating Watson. O'Neil continued to attack Watson after the match, leading to Alex Riley saving Watson. O'Neil then formed an alliance with former enemy Darren Young, and the duo teamed up to defeat Watson and Riley on the February 1 and 29 episodes of NXT. O'Neil also faced and defeated Riley on the February 22 episode of NXT. On the March 7 episode of NXT, Watson received his rematch against O'Neil and defeated O'Neil. O'Neil and Young then moved on to feud with The Usos.
The Prime Time Players (2012–2014)
On the April 18 episode of NXT, it was announced that O'Neil, along with Darren Young, had been moved to the main roster. The team made their debut on the April 20 episode of SmackDown with a victory over The Usos. They began a winning streak before their streak was ended on the May 18 episode of SmackDownby WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth.
At the No Way Out pay-per-view, O'Neil and Young won a fatal-four way tag team match to become #1 contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship after A.W. turned on his clients Primo & Epico. On the July 16 episode of Raw, O'Neil and Young unsuccessfully challenged Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championship. On the August 10 episode of SmackDown, they defeated Primo & Epico in a #1 contenders match by disqualification when A.W. provoked Kingston and R-Truth, who were on commentary, into interfering in the match. That same day, A.W. was released from his contract. Despite losing A.W, the Prime Time Players received a title shot at SummerSlam, but were again defeated by Kingston and R-Truth. On the September 7 episode of SmackDown, The Prime Time Players defeated Primo and Epico and The Usos in a triple threat tag team match to earn another shot at the title. On Raw three days later, the Prime Time Players lost their title shot to the team of Kane and Daniel Bryan. At Survivor Series, O'Neil took part in a 10-man elimination tag team match, but was eliminated by Tyson Kidd.
At the 2013 Royal Rumble, O'Neil entered the Royal Rumble match at number 7 but was eliminated by Sheamus. On the March 18 episode of Raw, O'Neil played a new character called Rufus Patterson, his "uncle", accompanying Darren Young in his match against John Cena, in which Young was defeated.
On the August 19, 2013 episode of Raw, the Prime Time Players turned face in a winning effort against The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger), a week after O'Neil's tag-team partner Darren Young's (legitimate) coming out, which received mainstream media coverage. On the Night of Champions pre-show, O'Neil and Young won a tag team turmoil upon entering last, for the opportunity to face The Shield for the WWE Tag Team Championship but lost to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns on the pay-per-view. Furthering their face turn, the duo were amongst those who saved Daniel Bryan from being injured by Randy Orton. The Prime Time Players would be forced into a 3 on 1 handicap gauntlet match against The Shield as ordered by the COO, Triple H, the same as Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Rob Van Dam.
On the January 31, 2014 episode of SmackDown, O'Neil allowed Curtis Axel to pin Young during a tag-team match. After the match, O'Neil attacked Young to turn heel and disbanded the Prime Time Players. O'Neil defeated Young at Elimination Chamber.
O'Neil lost a rematch to Young on the February 26 episode of Main Event. Following this loss, O'Neil began a losing streak to the likes of Big Show, Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. From mid-April to mid-June, O'Neil commonly appeared on Superstars, where he suffered many losses to Kofi Kingston and Big E. He was also unsuccessful in winning four battle royals: the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, a battle royal for the WWE United States Championship in May, a Money in the Bank qualifying battle royal in June and a battle royal for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Battleground.
In July, O'Neil formed a tag team with Heath Slater, later known as Slater-Gator. In July and August, they wrestled on Main Event and Superstars. Despite wins over the likes of Zack Ryder and Sin Cara and Gold and Stardust, they suffered losses to El Torito and Hornswoggle and Big E and Kofi Kingston. In September, Slater-Gator lost multiple matches to Adam Rose and to the team of Rose and The Bunny. O'Neil entered the Royal Rumble, being eliminated by Dean Ambrose and eventual winner Roman Reigns in 4 seconds.
PTP reunion (2015–2016)
On the February 16 episode of Raw, O'Neil turned face by saving his former tag team partner Darren Young from an attack from The Ascension, disbanding Slater-Gator. To acknowledge this breakup, Slater announced on social media that he is going to 'focus on himself'. Then on the February 23 episode of Raw, The Prime Time Players officially reunited to battle The Ascension, with Young picking up the victory. O'Neil participated in the 2nd Annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31, before being eliminated by Ryback. At Elimination Chamber, the Prime Time Players participated in the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, however they were the last team to be eliminated by the winners and defending champions The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods). At Money in the Bank, O'Neil and Young defeated The New Day to win the Tag Team Championship, their first titles in WWE. The Prime Time Players dropped the WWE Tag Team Championships back to The New Day at SummerSlam in a fatal–four way match, also involving The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores. O'Neil and Young would invoke their championship rematch clause for the September 14 episode of Raw, which they ended up losing against New Day.
On the November 9 episode of Raw, O'Neil would enter the 16-man tournament to crown the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, losing to Kevin Owens in the first round. On the Survivor Series kick-off show, O'Neil participated in a five-on-five elimination tag team match, teaming with The Dudley Boyz, Neville and Goldust to defeat Stardust, The Ascension, The Miz and Bo Dallas.
At the 2016 Royal Rumble, O'Neil competed in the titular match as the number 11 entrant, eliminating Goldust before being eliminated by Big Show. O'Neil and Young appeared as a team on January 15, 2016 at a house show on WWE's India tour. On the February 2, 2016 taping of Main Event, the duo returned to team with The Usos to defeat The Ascension, Stardust and Tyler Breeze. On the February 8, 2016 episode of Raw, O'Neil had what was described as a "playful, physical" altercation with Vince McMahon as the show was going off the air while the two were on stage during Daniel Bryan's retirement celebration. The following day, O'Neil was suspended for unprofessional conduct relating to the incident, with the suspension reportedly lasting up to 90 days. It was later confirmed that he would be suspended for 60 days.
The Titus Brand (2016−present)
On the May 2 episode of Raw, O'Neil would return from suspension, where he would participate in a battle royal to determine the #1 contender to the WWE United States Championship, which he lost. On the May 26 episode of SmackDown, O'Neil entered a feud with United States Champion Rusev. This set up a match between O'Neil and Rusev for the United States Championship at Money in the Bank, which he lost. After the match, Rusev would taunt and disrespect O'Neil's children. The following night on Raw, a rematch was scheduled but O'Neil attacked Rusev before the match began. On the July 4 episode of Raw, O'Neil lost in another title match to Rusev, ending the feud.
In the 2016 WWE draft, O'Neil was drafted to Raw. On the August 1 episode of Raw, O'Neil started a slow heel turn when he questioned his former tag team partner Darren Young on his motives on being "great again". Later that night, he defeated Young by pinning him while grabbing Young's tights. Afterwards, O'Neil got into a backstage altercation with Young's manager Bob Backlund, ending in Young coming to Backlund's defense by attacking O'Neil. The week after on Raw, Young defeated O'Neil by pinning him while grabbing O'Neil's tights, mimicking the way O'Neil defeated him. On the August 15 episode of Raw, O'Neil and Young reconciled and were placed in a match against The Shining Stars. During the match, O'Neil attacked Young with a Clash of the Titus, cementing O'Neil's heel turn. Starting from September 2016, he began a losing streak whilst debuting a new gimmick known as "The Titus Brand". On the October 31 episode of Raw, O'Neil competed in a battle royal to determinate who would join Team Raw at the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view against Team SmackDown, but was eliminated by Sami Zayn.
On the January 2, 2017 episode of Raw, O'Neil interrupted The New Day during their New Years resolutions, asking to join the stable, only to be mocked by them. He then challenged Xavier Woods to a match, claiming him to be the "weak link" of the group, before losing to Woods. The following week on Raw, the New Day gave O'Neil a chance to redeem himself by doing the Keg Carry challenge that O'Neil failed from his time as a contestant on NXT almost 7 years ago. Although O'Neil completed the challenge in the time, he dropped the keg before crossing the line, leading to O'Neil angrily pushing Kofi Kingston. This led to a match between the two, which Kingston won. The week after that, O'Neil lost to Big E in a match for a spot in the Royal Rumble.
Bullard has two sons: Thaddeus "TJ" Jr. and Titus Bullard. He is a Christian. Bullard is a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He was nominated for the MEGA Dad Awards 2015 "Celebrity Dad of the Year" and on May 28 was announced the winner. He is good friends and next door neighbors with Dave Bautista aka former WWE superstar Batista who spoke out during his suspension in early 2016.
- Finishing moves
- Clash of the Titus (Sitout spinebuster)
- Million Dollar Slam (Pumphandle powerslam) – 2015; used as a signature move thereafter
- Signature moves
- Big boot
- Body avalanche
- Fallaway slam, with theatrics
- Inverted front powerslam
- Multiple rib breakers followed by tossing the opponent aside
- Running low-angle shoulder block, after an opponent has been Irish whipped off of adjacent ropes – adopted from Monty Brown
- A. W.
- Zack Ryder
- "The Big/Real Deal"
- "The Gator"
- Entrance themes
- "Radio" by Watt White (June 8, 2010 - June 22, 2010; used as a rookie to Zack Ryder)
- "He's Ma Da" by Jim Johnston (May 16, 2011 - January 18, 2012; used as a rookie to Hornswoggle)
- "Move (Get it In)" by Woo Child (September 21, 2011 – November 30, 2012)
- "Making Moves" by Sugar Tongue Slim (December 3, 2012 – January 31, 2014; February 16, 2015 – present)
- "Let Me Show You How" by CFO$ (February 3, 2014 – February 12, 2015)
- "Slater-Gator" by Jim Johnston (September 22, 2014 – February 12, 2015; used while teaming with Heath Slater)
- Caldwell, James (March 22, 2011). "Caldwell's WWE NXT results 3/22: Complete "virtual time" coverage of NXT Season 5, Week 3, Tucker's Instant Reaction". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Stephens, David (September 2, 2013). "WWE Raw Results – 9/2/13 (Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan)". wrestleview.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- ^ Howell, Nolan. "WWE Main Event: Cesaro looks to regroup against Kingston". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- ^ Howell, Nolan. "WWE Main Event: R-Truth dukes it out against Wade Barrett". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE Main Event report: Big Show thins out the locker room; Gabriel vs. O'Neil; and more". PWInsider. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE Superstars report: It's Party Time; 3MB's Last Stand; and more". pwinsider.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Mike, Tedesco (June 1, 2015). "WWE RAW Results - 6/1/15 (Reigns competes three times)". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
- Dustin, Holland (June 4, 2015). "WWE Smackdown Results - 6/4/15 (Reigns vs. Sheamus". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
- ^ Cox, James. "WWE Superstars TV Report: Big E vs. Titus O'Neil, RybAxel vs. Xavier/Truth". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- ^ Tedesco, Mike. "WWE Smackdown results – 8/15/14 (Reigns vs. the Miz)". wrestleview.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- ^ James, Justin. "James's WWE NXT report 11/7 – Week 40: Bateman-Curtis-Maxine triangle adds new player, Showtime & Titus, Usos vs. Hawkins & Reks". PWTorch.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Tedesco, Mike. "WWE Raw results – 6/23/14 (4-on-3 handicap main event)". wrestleview.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Tedesco, Mike. "WWE SmackDown results – 11/1/13 (John Cena appears)". wrestleview.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- ^ James, Justin. "James's WWE NXT report 8/16: NXT Week 24 review, Which happens first – Season 5 ends or Season 5 Pro Chavo turns up in TNA?". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Tedesco, Mike. "WWE SmackDown results – 10/11/13 (tag team main event)". wrestleview.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- James, Justin. "James's WWE Superstars report 4/10: Kofi vs. Titus main event, Ziggler loses to Ryback". PWTorch.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "WWE RAW Results (1/16): The Beast Brock Lesnar is Unleashed, Tag Titles on the Line, Huge Six-Man Main Event! - Page 6 of 9 - Wrestlezone". January 16, 2017.
- "WWE RAW REPORT: DID THE UNDERTAKER APPEAR?, WHAT DID SHAWN MICHAELS HAVE TO SAY?, A HANDICAP MATCH FOR THE UNITED STATES TITLE, DID YOU WANT MORE FROM THE NEW DAY AND TITUS O'NEIL?, AND MORE — PWInsider.com".
- "The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/09/17". January 10, 2017.
- Aiken, Chris. "WWE Main Event TV report: Tuesday, 05 August 2014 19:41". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Brown, Monty. "Monty Brown's Twitter Account". Twitter. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- James, Justin. "James's WWE NXT report 5/24: Alt. perspective review of NXT Week 12, overall show Reax". PWTorch.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE.com NXT Redemption Report: A Love Triangle?; Remembering That Tamina Was Once With The Usos; Tyson Kidd In Action". pwinsider.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "Titus O'Neil def. Darren Young". WWE.com. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Clapp, John (July 20, 2012). "Meet the hit maker in The Prime Time Players' corner". WWE. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- "Making Moves". iTunes. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- "Let Me Show You How". iTunes. Retrieved February 21, 2014.|
- WWE (October 1, 2014). "Slater-Gator Entrance Video" – via YouTube.
Championships and accomplishments
- Florida Championship Wrestling
- FCW Florida Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Damien Sandow
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him No. 82 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2013
- Rolling Stone
- Most Deserved Push (2015) As a member of The Prime Time Players
- WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Darren Young
Other awards and honors
- MEGA Dad Awards
- MEGA Celebrity Dad of the Year (2015)
- "Media Alerts: December 3, 2010: ***Breaking news from Plant City, Fl***". Florida Championship Wrestling. December 3, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2013". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
- "WWE Wrestler of the Year (So Far)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 1, 2015.