O'Neil in April 2015
|Birth name||Thaddeus Michael Bullard|
April 29, 1977 |
Boynton Beach, Florida, U.S.
|Residence||Tampa, Florida, U.S.|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Rufus Patterson
|Billed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Billed weight||270 lb (120 kg)|
|Billed from||Live Oak, Florida
|Trained by||Florida Championship Wrestling|
Thaddeus Michael Bullard Sr. (born April 29, 1977) is an American professional wrestler and retired American football player. He is signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Titus O'Neil. Bullard played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter played in the Arena Football League (AFL). His 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. He is a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion as part of The Prime Time Players with Darren Young.
- 1 Background
- 2 Football career
- 3 Professional wrestling career
- 4 Charity work
- 5 Personal life
- 6 In wrestling
- 7 Championships and accomplishments
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Bullard was born in Boynton Beach, Florida. In 2014, he revealed that he was conceived when his mother was raped at age 11. 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 and Parade magazine as a high school All-American as a senior in 1995.
|Date of birth:||April 29, 1977|
|Place of birth:||Boynton Beach, Florida|
|Height:||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight:||270 lb (122 kg)|
|High school:||Suwannee High School|
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 44 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 Carolina Cobras.
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
Developmental territories (2009–2012)
Bullard signed a developmental deal with WWE 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. On the January 16 episode of Raw, O'Neil would face Big E for the New Day's spot in the Royal Rumble match, which Big E won. On the March 13 episode of Raw, O'Neil challenged Big Show, this led to a match between the two, which Big Show won after three chokeslams. In April, Apollo Crews caught the attention of O'Neil's new "Titus Brand" after being drafted to Raw, with WWE essentially reviving what was a failed previous gimmick for O'Neil's ex-manager, Abraham Washington.
Bullard is heavily involved in charity work with various nonprofit groups in the Tampa Bay region. He has helped more than 245 student athletes across the Tampa Bay area get into college, lead corporate volunteers in reading books to children in after-school programs, used his story to inspire employees from all types of companies to volunteer, and taken part in United Way's Walking School Bus program in at-risk neighborhoods by escorting children to school on foot to make sure they get there on time and can gain access to a healthy breakfast. Bullard hosts an annual Joy of Giving event, where he hands out toys to more than 1,000 children. He also visits children with cancer in the hospital.
Bullard became the 261st Lightning Community Hero in 2012 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $13.2 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. In 2017, the founders announced that the Community Hero program will give away another $10 million over the next five seasons.
Bullard has two sons named Thaddeus Jr. ("TJ") and Titus. He resides in Tampa, Florida, and is a Christian. He won the 2015 MEGA Dad Award for "Celebrity Dad of the Year". He is a good friend of Dave Bautista, who defended Bullard during his suspension from WWE in early 2016.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Big boot
- Body avalanche
- Fallaway slam, with theatrics
- Inverted front powerslam
- Multiple rib breakers followed by tossing the opponent aside
- Running low-angle shoulder block, after an opponent has been Irish whipped off of adjacent ropes – adopted from Monty Brown
- "The Big/Real Deal"
- "The Gator"
- Entrance themes
- "Radio" by Watt White (June 8, 2010 - June 22, 2010; used as a rookie to Zack Ryder)
- "He's Ma Da" by Jim Johnston (May 16, 2011 - January 18, 2012; used as a rookie to Hornswoggle)
- "Move (Get it In)" by Woo Child (September 21, 2011 – November 30, 2012)
- "Making Moves" by Sugar Tongue Slim (December 3, 2012 – January 31, 2014; February 16, 2015 – present)
- "Let Me Show You How" by CFO$ (February 3, 2014 – February 12, 2015)
- "Slater-Gator" by Jim Johnston (September 22, 2014 – February 12, 2015; used while teaming with Heath Slater)
Championships and accomplishments
- Florida Championship Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Rolling Stone
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- MEGA Dad Awards
- MEGA Celebrity Dad of the Year (2015)
- Florida Gators football, 1990–99
- List of Omega Psi Phi brothers
- List of University of Florida alumni
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