Much has changed in regards to NXT over the years as it's developed from a TV show into a full-blown brand with an accompanying TV show. Titus O'Neil was around for the first incarnation of NXT in which he was a rookie under his WWE pro, Zack Ryder.
O'Neil talked about the evolution of NXT since then when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"Obviously, where it was when I was coming up to where it is now is light years different. It's more of its own brand now, a traveling brand and some of our most decorated Superstars have come out of NXT. I'm very proud of all the guys and young ladies who have come out of that system," said O'Neil.
"But I'll always be biased to my NXT because I always felt like we had it a lot different and a lot rougher. Very unexpected and we didn't know what we were dealing with when we came to school. Looking back, that made us all realize that we're really working in a wacky business. We appreciate it more and we appreciate the Superstars coming up in NXT the way it is now. We want them to appreciate it."
O'Neil praised all of the trainers and coaches down at the WWE Performance Center and called it first class.
"Everybody has zero excuse for why you're not coming on the road prepared because they prepare people in every way," O'Neil said of those that join the main roster after NXT.
O'Neil has a new book titled There's No Such Thing As A Bad Kid that was recently published and discusses some very personal things from his childhood. He revealed what the most difficult parts to write about were.
"I've shared my story about my mom being sexually assaulted at 11 and having me at 12. With the WWE Network and YouTube, she did a 'My Son's a WWE Superstar Now.' It was an eye-opening experience for me because it was my first time seeing my mom sit down and open up about what happened to her," stated O'Neil.
"So for my next book, I wanna write it in conjunction with my mother."
He then talked about his best friend's dad, who was a drug dealer, being murdered and how hard it is to relive that stuff and frame it in a positive way. O'Neil doesn't condone selling drugs, but he understood why his friend's dad did what he did and also stresses that he was a man who took care of people.
"He fed people. He paid for kids to play sports who couldn't afford it. He made sure kids in the neighborhood had something for Christmas. He just chose the wrong line of work and I didn't wanna damper his dad's legacy as far as being a dad. I just wouldn't have chose his profession," said O'Neil.
When getting back to the topic of what his mother went through, O'Neil shared how his mom reacted to him sharing their story.
"She's been around for several different speaking engagements and was at my Ted Talk. It wasn't the first time that she had heard me talk about it so it wasn't like, 'wow I didn't know this!' I had talked to her before I had even started the process of writing the book because I wanted her to know what I wanted to do after the book was done," said O'Neil.
Titus' new book There's No Such Thing As A Bad Kid: How I Went From Stereotype To Prototype is out now. To purchase it via Amazon visit https://amzn.to/2Tvr6jW.
Titus' full interview with Wrestling Inc. aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post.