Kenneth Crawford is now identified to hundreds of 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 barely equaled by his want 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 yr in 2007. “I ran in highschool, from my freshman all through to my senior yr,” he says. “I ran the 400m and the 200m, each of their relays. I additionally ran cross-country to maintain 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 navy. “There you go, as soon as once more, working,” says the charismatic athlete. “And coaching, on simply how you can 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 together with his monitor profession.
“There’s zero room for error,” he shares. “It’s ready me rather a lot for [the pressures of] reside TV. In monitor, you actually don’t have a lot room for error while 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 can be occurring there. I really feel like they each helped to form me for WWE, with regard to reside TV programming. Thank God I did have that coaching! [laughs].”
Crawford was all the time concerned 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 a fantastic springboard for a wrestling profession, he discovered studying the ropes to be one among 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 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 fully completely different watching wrestling, to really doing skilled wrestling. The artwork and craft that goes into the sequences. In doing it, you notice there’s an artwork to it. It’s important 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 might have your common mounted actions. In monitor, it’s straight forward, or in basketball you could 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 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 companion, Angelo Dorkins.
Quick-forward to at this time, and The Road Income at the moment are one among 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 celebrity shake-up that might see wrestlers transferring 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 arrange for a distinct touring schedule that might serve to separate them from buddies, companions, and family members. Montez Ford is staying optimistic although. “The draft is among the most fun instances of the yr,” he says. “We’ve spoken about it earlier than, and there’s all the time the potential 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 regard 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 type of issues the place it’s bittersweet, however you try to put together for it, and it’s a really thrilling time, there will likely be so many contemporary faces, rivalries, and contemporary competitors.”
Thankfully, 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: Evening One, the 2 had been in a position to 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 satisfaction for his spouse’s accomplishments, it additionally helped to mild a fireplace when it comes to his personal want to predominant occasion WrestleMania.
“Not solely was it a fantastic, and only a landmark second for the EST of WWE, however it was additionally motivating for myself as nicely,” says Ford. “You realize, seeing her in that place, seeing her not solely do nicely, however succeeding clearly by profitable the title and being the principle occasion, its inspiring that I can do the identical factor and in order that in the future, finally, Bianca can come and have a good time with me as nicely.”
By way of singles competitors, Ford, who can do a formidable vertical bounce of 64 inches, has already proven that he has what it takes to hold with the massive 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 take a look at that he handed with flying colours. “I felt comfy afterwards, understanding that I did it,” says Ford. “If you come by one thing like that, and succeed, it lets that when that point comes again round, you can 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 the 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 seek 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.