Kenneth Crawford is now recognized to thousands and thousands of professional wrestling followers as Montez Ford and was seemingly born to compete. The 31-year-old’s journey to WWE has been a bodily one, however his love of intense competitors is just equaled by his need to entertain.
Born in Chicago, Crawford was hailed as a monitor star at Anson Excessive Faculty after transferring to North Carolina and it was there that he was named athlete of the 12 months in 2007. “I ran in highschool, from my freshman during to my senior 12 months,” he says. “I ran the 400m and the 200m, each of their relays. I additionally ran cross-country to keep my endurance up, and I used to be a member of the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Coaching Corps) in highschool. So, I’ve simply been working my whole life (laughs).”
Straight out of highschool, Crawford joined the navy. “There you go, as soon as once more, working,” says the charismatic athlete. “And coaching, on simply go 100%. It was simply go, go, go on a regular basis, in order that’s the place the muse of my bodily health comes from.” The athlete says that he discovered serving his nation to have parallels along with his monitor profession.
“There’s zero room for error,” he shares. “It’s ready me so much for [the pressures of] dwell TV. In monitor, you actually don’t have a lot room for error whenever you a working a race, and it’s the identical factor with the navy, there’s no room for error within the completely different duties which are occurring there. I really feel like they each helped to shape me for WWE, with reference to dwell TV programming. Thank God I did have that coaching! [laughs].”
Crawford was at all times occupied with professional wrestling, and after his particulars had been submitted to its recruitment website, he was invited by WWE for a tryout. Whereas his sporting background proved to be an excellent springboard for a wrestling profession, he discovered studying the ropes to be certainly one of his hardest challenges.
“The loopy factor about it, lots of people don’t know, I really had two tryouts,” he says. “I had one on 2013, and one in 2014, and eventually acquired signed on the second tryout, so I didn’t actually begin till mid 2015. One of the troublesome issues I bear in mind was that it’s utterly completely different watching wrestling, to truly doing skilled wrestling. The artwork and craft that goes into the sequences. In doing it, you notice there’s an artwork to it. You need to look ahead to sure moments, or pause right here, or decelerate there, simply maneuvering your physique in numerous methods as nicely.
“Like, in monitor, or basketball, you’ve got your common fastened actions. In monitor, it’s straight forward, or in basketball you will have to modify side-to-side, and in soccer it’s important to use agility, however in wrestling you utilize each facet. Whether or not it’s leaping out of the ring or touchdown on a small area on the apron, or climbing a ladder (laughs), there are such a lot of other ways to make use of your agility.”
Kenneth Crawford excelled on the mat and adopted Montez Ford as his WWE ring identify. Throughout his time with the NXT model, Ford met his future real-life spouse, Bianca (Blair) Belair and his Road Income tag-team associate, Angelo Dorkins.
Quick-forward to at present, and The Road Income are actually certainly one of WWE’s most celebrated groups having garnered the NXT, Uncooked, and SmackDown tag-team titles. However that would all change on Oct. 1, when WWE begins its subsequent draft — a cross-brand WWE famous person shake-up that would see wrestlers transferring to completely different reveals.
It’s an unpredictable time of 12 months, as a result of the expertise discovers their future on dwell tv, leaving little time to arrange for a special touring schedule that would serve to separate them from buddies, companions, and family members. Montez Ford is staying optimistic although. “The draft is without doubt one of the most enjoyable instances of the 12 months,” he says. “We’ve spoken about it earlier than, and there may be at all times the potential for us being cut up up (by the draft). We’ve had previous success on all three manufacturers together with NXT, Uncooked, and SmackDown, so with reference to that truly occurring, we’re ready for it.”
He provides: “In my case it wouldn’t simply imply leaving my group, but additionally leaving my partner, so it’s a kind of issues the place it’s bittersweet, however you try to put together for it, and it’s a really thrilling time, there can be so many recent faces, rivalries, and recent competitors.”
Happily, The Road Income and Bianca Belair have a particular bond that can’t be damaged by a WWE Draft. Ford and Belair had been married in 2018, and at WrestleMania 37: Night time One, the 2 had been capable of rejoice within the ring after the “EST” of WWE defeated Sasha Banks for the SmackDown girls’s championship. And, whereas Ford was overcome with delight for his wife’s accomplishments, it additionally helped to mild a fireplace when it comes to his personal need to primary occasion WrestleMania.
“Not solely was it an excellent, and only a landmark second for the EST of WWE, however it was additionally motivating for myself as nicely,” says Ford. “You understand, seeing her in that place, seeing her not solely do nicely, however succeeding clearly by successful the title and being the principle occasion, its inspiring that I can do the identical factor and in order that someday, finally, Bianca can come and rejoice with me as nicely.”
When it comes to singles competitors, Ford, who can do an impressive vertical jump of 64 inches, has already proven that he has what it takes to hold with the massive canine. Earlier this month, he battled Roman Reigns in an exciting main-event that confirmed the potential of the 6’1″, 230-plus pounder. It was an enormous strain check that he handed with flying colours. “I felt comfy afterwards, understanding that I did it,” says Ford. “Once you come by way of one thing like that, and succeed, it lets you realize that when that point comes again round, you can be even higher. Not solely was I grateful and blessed that I used to be capable of cling in there with arguably the best in-ring performer proper now on this planet, Roman Reigns, however I additionally sit up for doing it once more, very quickly.”
Tune into the WWE Draft, starting on Oct. 1, throughout SmackDown to search out out the destiny of Montez Ford, Bianca Belair, and Angelo Dorkins as pertains to which model they are going to be assigned to symbolize.