Backstage News on Otis’ Push on SmackDown

Otis of Heavy Machinery has found great support from the WWE Universe with his unique and charming personality and quickly became a fan favorite along with his buddy Tucker. Otis has recently ventured into the singles division, taking on Dolph Ziggler and earned himself a spot in the MITB ladder match.

Otis’ push comes largely because WWE CEO Vince McMahon is a major fan of the character. McMahon is known to give preference to meaty men on the main roster, which makes this less of a surprise. Mandy Rose, who is currently dating Otis in kayfabe, spoke with Sports Illustrated about how this storyline actually came into being.

“It’s hard to get in Vince’s office, but I finally got in and I pitched this story. He loved it, he had some ideas, and then Sonya and I had a lot of say in the creative, which was really cool. We were able to write a lot of it. We all worked together, and that’s one of the reasons it’s worked so well. Everyone’s been really passionate about it.”

This storyline also involves Dolph Ziggler, who is trying to win back Rose, and Sonya Deville, who feels overshadowed by Rose’s presence. The writing behind this story has been quite solid, and former WWE writer Andrea Listenberger was credited for writing most of the stories in this rivalry.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Vince McMahon indeed had a major role to play in this storyline, mostly because he is a fan of Otis’ character. It was also noted that Listenberger had a part to play in this feud, but not to a major extent. She was said to be a good writer and could have stayed if SmackDown creative stood up for her, but it seems like no one batted for her backstage.

Listenberger was part of a company-wide mega layoff that saw several wrestlers, producers, and referees being released or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Otis and Rose still have business with Ziggler and Deville, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming weeks.