Kenneth Crawford is now identified to tens of millions 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 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 all over to my senior 12 months,” 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 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 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 so much for [the pressures of] stay TV. In observe, you actually don’t have a lot room for error once you a working a race, and it’s the identical factor with the navy, there’s no room for error within the totally different duties which are happening there. I really feel like they each helped to form me for WWE, with regard to stay TV programming. Thank God I did have that coaching! [laughs].”
Crawford was at all times keen on professional wrestling, and after his particulars had been submitted to its recruitment web site, he was invited by WWE for a tryout. Whereas his sporting background proved to be a terrific 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 really had two tryouts,” he says. “I had one on 2013, and one in 2014, and eventually received signed on the second tryout, so I didn’t actually begin till mid 2015. Some of the troublesome issues I keep 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 notice there’s an artwork to it. It’s a must to await 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 mounted actions. In observe, it’s straight forward, or in basketball you’ll have to modify side-to-side, and in soccer you must use agility, however in wrestling you utilize each side. Whether or not it’s leaping out of the ring or touchdown on a small house 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 Earnings tag-team companion, Angelo Dorkins.
Quick-forward to at present, and The Road Earnings at the moment are considered 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 celebrity shake-up that would see wrestlers transferring to totally different exhibits.
It’s an unpredictable time of 12 months, as a result of the expertise discovers their future on stay tv, leaving little time to arrange for a special touring schedule that would serve to separate them from associates, companions, and family members. Montez Ford is staying optimistic although. “The draft is among the most fun instances of the 12 months,” he says. “We’ve spoken about it earlier than, and there may be at all times the opportunity of 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 regard to that really taking place, we’re ready for it.”
He provides: “In my case it wouldn’t simply imply leaving my staff, 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 recent faces, rivalries, and recent competitors.”
Thankfully, 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 rejoice within the ring after the “EST” of WWE defeated Sasha Banks for the SmackDown ladies’s championship. And, whereas Ford was overcome with satisfaction for his spouse’s accomplishments, it additionally helped to mild a hearth by way of his personal want to fundamental occasion WrestleMania.
“Not solely was it a terrific, and only a landmark second for the EST of WWE, but it surely 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 principle occasion, its inspiring that I can do the identical factor and in order that in the future, finally, Bianca can come and rejoice with me as properly.”
When it comes to singles competitors, Ford, who can do a powerful vertical leap 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 exciting main-event that confirmed the potential of the 6’1″, 230-plus pounder. It was an enormous stress take a look at that he handed with flying colours. “I felt snug afterwards, realizing that I did it,” says Ford. “Whenever you come via one thing like that, and succeed, it lets you already know that when that point comes again round, you may be even higher. Not solely was I grateful and blessed that I used to be capable of hold in there with arguably the best in-ring performer proper now on the earth, Roman Reigns, however I additionally look ahead to 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.