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 want 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 right through 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 working my complete life (laughs).”
Straight out of highschool, Crawford joined the army. “There you go, as soon as once more, working,” says the charismatic athlete. “And coaching, on simply easy methods 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 together with his observe profession.
“There’s zero room for error,” he shares. “It’s ready me loads for [the pressures of] reside TV. In observe, you actually don’t have a lot room for error if you a working a race, and it’s the identical factor with the army, there’s no room for error within the completely different duties which can be happening there. I really feel like they each helped to shape me for WWE, with reference to reside TV programming. Thank God I did have that coaching! [laughs].”
Crawford was all the time serious 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 one in all 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 obtained signed on the second tryout, so I didn’t actually begin till mid 2015. One of the crucial tough issues I keep 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 understand there’s an artwork to it. It’s important to look forward to sure moments, or pause right here, or decelerate there, simply maneuvering your physique in numerous methods as properly.
“Like, in observe, or basketball, you could have your common fastened actions. In observe, it’s straight forward, or in basketball you will have to change side-to-side, and in soccer you need 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 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 Earnings tag-team associate, Angelo Dorkins.
Quick-forward to right now, and The Road Earnings at the moment are one in all 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 completely different reveals.
It’s an unpredictable time of yr, as a result of the expertise discovers their future on reside tv, leaving little time to organize for a special touring schedule that might serve to separate them from mates, companions, and family members. Montez Ford is staying optimistic although. “The draft is likely one of the most enjoyable instances of the yr,” he says. “We’ve spoken about it earlier than, and there’s all the time the potential for us being break 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 really taking place, 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 type of issues the place it’s bittersweet, however you attempt 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 Earnings 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: Evening One, the 2 had been capable of have a good time within the ring after the “EST” of WWE defeated Sasha Banks for the SmackDown girls’s championship. And, whereas Ford was overcome with pleasure for his wife’s accomplishments, it additionally helped to gentle a fireplace when it comes to his personal want to principal 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 understand, seeing her in that place, seeing her not solely do properly, however succeeding clearly by successful the title and being the primary occasion, its inspiring that I can do the identical factor and in order that someday, finally, Bianca can come and have a good time with me as properly.”
By way of 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 canines. 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 snug afterwards, figuring out that I did it,” says Ford. “If you come by means 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 grasp in there with arguably the best in-ring performer proper now on the 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 signify.