Titus O’Neil’s Suspension is WWE’s Latest Self-Inflicted Embarrassment


Titus O’Neil’s suspension for “unprofessional conduct” is yet another blemish for WWE.

At the end of Daniel Bryan’s retirement celebration on WWE Raw, there seemed to be something that happened on stage with Vince McMahon. It turned out to be Titus O’Neil, who grabbed the Chairman in what PW Insider described was a “playful, physical way”. This resulted in the suspension of O’Neil, which was first reported to be 90 days. Wrestle Zone’s Justin Labar later hinted that it may be reduced to 60 days.

As he states in the tweet above, a 60-day suspension is what a repeat offender for drugs warrants. So for O’Neil to get the same length as this for something insignificant is mind-boggling.

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We live in the world of Vince McMahon’s WWE. That goes for not only the fans but the Superstars and Divas on the main roster. They have had to go through the bizarre backstage politics that hurts them on TV. Tyler Breeze was the latest victim, as he reportedly asked to leave a recent taping early. It led to McMahon being frustrated, leading to him ending Prince Pretty’s push (h/t 411 Mania).

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On the other side, there are Vince’s “guys” in Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. He has plans for both men to be top stars, as the former Shield man is likely to headline WrestleMania for a second straight year while the Wyatt Family member was supposed to face The Undertaker. This was until fan backlash caused plans to be altered. They have not had their pushes changed, especially Reigns, who hasn’t received the fan support that upper management has hoped for. Plans seem to be to go through with his win on Apr. 3, though.

Then there are foolish situations like the one that happened on Raw. Should O’Neil have grabbed his boss? Probably not because it wasn’t the right time with Daniel Bryan having just presented his tearful retirement speech. Should that warrant a lengthy suspension, though?

No way.

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What this could be is McMahon felt embarrassed since this happened on live TV, probably a reason why it was edited out of the footage on YouTube and the WWE Network. Suspending O’Neil for making a fool out of Vince for a few seconds seems excessive, especially given how much terrific public relations this man brings to a company that has been riddled with steroid accusations for decades.

Speaking of steroids, with O’Neil’s suspension of either 60 or 90 days, he officially is being made out to be on the same level as someone who violates WWE’s Wellness Policy. In some cases, it makes what he did look worse because a first-time offender under the company policy is 30 days. Titus is getting at least double and possibly triple that number. How can you relay the message going forward that taking drugs is not as bad as joking around with the Boss? That’s unjust on many levels.

Remember how O’Neil was nominated for the MEGA Dad Awards 2015 “Celebrity Dad of the Year”? WWE made a big deal out of this on their programming, bringing it up on multiple occasions. He eventually won the award, beating out names like Ashton Kutcher, Stephen Amell and David Beckham. O’Neil also was featured in WWE’s “Take Time to Be a Dad” public service announcements and their “Be a STAR” campaigns.

His other positive accolades can be listed for pages, but you get the point—the man is a public relation firm’s dream.

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Taking him off TV for 60 days or more is not going to damage O’Neil’s image, but WWE’s. Titus could walk out of the company for this if he really wanted to and not collect his pay. Given all that he has done for the past few years, corporations would be happy to have him on board as a spokesperson. WWE should be lucky to have his presence, even if he is not the biggest singles Superstar they have.

To risk losing your best positive media figure over a playful grab is not worth it. A sit down conversation maybe could have done the trick. I guess as the old saying goes, “Don’t cross the boss”.