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 simply equaled by his need to entertain.
Born in Chicago, Crawford was hailed as a observe star at Anson Excessive College after shifting to North Carolina and it was there that he was named athlete of the yr in 2007. “I ran in highschool, from my freshman all over to my senior yr,” 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 operating my whole life (laughs).”
Straight out of highschool, Crawford joined the navy. “There you go, as soon as once more, operating,” says the charismatic athlete. “And coaching, on simply learn how to go 100%. It was simply go, go, go on a regular basis, in order that’s the place the inspiration of my bodily health comes from.” The athlete says that he discovered serving his nation to have parallels along with his observe profession.
“There’s zero room for error,” he shares. “It’s ready me loads for [the pressures of] stay TV. In observe, you actually don’t have a lot room for error if you a operating a race, and it’s the identical factor with the navy, there’s no room for error within the totally different duties which are occurring there. I really feel like they each helped to shape me for WWE, with reference to stay TV programming. Thank God I did have that coaching! [laughs].”
Crawford was at all times inquisitive about 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 important springboard for a wrestling profession, he discovered studying the ropes to be considered one of his hardest challenges.
“The loopy factor about it, lots of people don’t know, I truly had two tryouts,” he says. “I had one on 2013, and one in 2014, and at last bought signed on the second tryout, so I didn’t actually begin till mid 2015. Probably the most tough issues I bear in mind was that it’s fully totally different watching wrestling, to really doing skilled wrestling. The artwork and craft that goes into the sequences. In doing it, you understand 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 several methods as properly.
“Like, in observe, or basketball, you have got your common fastened actions. In observe, it’s straight forward, or in basketball you’ll have to change side-to-side, and in soccer it’s a must to use agility, however in wrestling you utilize each side. 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 alternative ways to make use of your agility.”
Kenneth Crawford excelled on the mat and adopted Montez Ford as his WWE ring title. Throughout his time with the NXT model, Ford met his future real-life spouse, Bianca (Blair) Belair and his Road Income tag-team companion, Angelo Dorkins.
Quick-forward to immediately, and The Road Income at the moment are considered one of WWE’s most celebrated groups having garnered the NXT, Uncooked, and SmackDown tag-team titles. However that might all change on Oct. 1, when WWE begins its subsequent draft — a cross-brand WWE famous person shake-up that might see wrestlers shifting to totally different exhibits.
It’s an unpredictable time of yr, as a result of the expertise discovers their future on stay tv, leaving little time to arrange for a distinct touring schedule that might serve to separate them from buddies, companions, and family members. Montez Ford is staying constructive although. “The draft is without doubt one of the most fun instances of the yr,” he says. “We’ve spoken about it earlier than, and there may be at all times the opportunity of 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 crew, but in addition leaving my partner, so it’s a type of issues the place it’s bittersweet, however you try to put together for it, and it’s a really thrilling time, there shall be so many contemporary faces, rivalries, and contemporary competitors.”
Happily, The Road Income and Bianca Belair have a particular bond that can not 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 in a position to 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 gentle a fireplace when it comes to his personal need to predominant occasion WrestleMania.
“Not solely was it an important, and only a landmark second for the EST of WWE, however it was additionally motivating for myself as properly,” says Ford. “You already know, seeing her in that place, seeing her not solely do properly, however succeeding clearly by profitable the title and being the primary occasion, its inspiring that I can do the identical factor and in order that sooner or later, finally, Bianca can come and rejoice with me as properly.”
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 large canine. Earlier this month, he battled Roman Reigns in an exhilarating main-event that confirmed the potential of the 6’1″, 230-plus pounder. It was an enormous strain take a look at that he handed with flying colours. “I felt comfy afterwards, understanding that I did it,” says Ford. “Once you come by means of one thing like that, and succeed, it lets you realize that when that point comes again round, you may be even higher. Not solely was I grateful and blessed that I used to be in a position to hold in there with arguably the best in-ring performer proper now on this planet, Roman Reigns, however I additionally stay 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 characterize.