So Far, So Good: The Metamorphosis of Otis

The metamorphosis – or metamorphOtis – is complete. Otis, formerly the happy-go-lucky, if not dim, blue-collar chaser of Mandy Rose, has become something entirely different. No longer a stuttering, affable oath who endeared himself to all, he is now a straight up killer with little care for the opinion of the masses. Chad Gable, head honcho of Alpha Academy and most responsible for Otis’ change in character, has led Otis down an exciting, new, dangerous path. As demonstrated against Cesaro last night, who Otis seriously winded with a single punch in a backstage segment, New Otis means business and the rest of the SmackDown roster needs to pay attention to this threateningly dangerous man.

A New Threat on SmackDown

We all knew that Otis was a dangerous competitor. How could he not be? Though not one of the tallest guys on the roster, he weighs in at well over 300 lbs of pure, power-lifter type muscle. After all, this is a man who drew attention for completing 46 reps of a 225 lbs bench press – a truly freakish feat of strength. He is, without a doubt, a contender for title of strongest man in the WWE – in the absence of Mark Henry, of course. Despite his clear lifting prowess and achievements, you might not have recognized his strength during his Heavy Machinery days – at least on the main roster. He was always a laid-back, lovable babyface interested in one thing only: Mandy Rose. What Gable has done is get Otis focused; now more than ever, Otis looks like someone who should be chasing singles title glory. At Money in the Bank, just one year ago, he won the event to become the holder of the briefcase, but lost it to The Miz in a feud which demonstrated just how oafish Otis was. It is clear that the more focused, current incarnation of Otis would not fall victim to any similarly heinous ruse.

What is the limit for such a character? Can a heel Otis ever be world champion? Not currently, of course, because Roman Reigns as the Tribal Chief is a whole other level of heel. However, one day, that has to be seen as the main ambition for Otis. It might surprise some to learn that Otis is still only 29 years of age; he has plenty of time to be capturing world titles. In the meantime, establishing himself as a solid, upper-midcard act by winning the Intercontinental Championship would show everyone just how capable he is. Chad Gable, as Otis’ “coach” (or manager), is also doing a tremendous job in the role. He is a long-time overlooked star (remember Shorty G?) well deserving of his elevated role on SmackDown and with Otis, he makes up one-half of an increasingly formidable team. One must think that it won’t be long before Alpha Academy starts collecting some gold.

From Cartoon Dusty Rhodes to Ivan Drago

On last night’s SmackDown, the first to take place in front of a live crowd in well over a year, Otis went toe-to-toe with Cesaro – who only recently was challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. A few months ago, Otis would not be deemed a worthy contender for the current Cesaro. This Otis, however, is more than a worthy contender; he is a threat. Not just to Cesaro, either, but to all who stand up to his bully-like ways. Credit goes to Otis, also, for committing to his character development. He shaved off his formerly long, lower-back length hair into a more mature, shortened do. His previously out of control beard is gone; leaving behind a clearly visible, angry man with a chip on his shoulder. Chad Gable has effectively transformed Otis into a killing, heavy machine. He has turned a far more cartoony, Dusty Rhodes like working-man into an American Ivan Drago.

Credit, also, must go to SmackDown’s creative for allowing this change to happen. Whereas it was initially a very unpopular decision, it was necessary. Otis was hugely popular with the WWE universe prior to the loss of a live audience, but that does not mean he would have returned to being similarly popular upon its return. Sixteen months of no crowds and ThunderDomes is a long time and Otis, though painful to admit, had grown quite stale and out of place on SmackDown. It was brave to turn him and it would only work if creative commits to it and keeps pushing him as the monstrous threat to the roster he can be. So far, so good. Let’s hope it continues.

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