Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford spent three years in NXT as a tag team, and much longer individually, before receiving the call-up to Raw this summer. Their current situation is much different than when they first joined WWE and Dawkins showed up to FCW’s Picture Day in basketball shorts.
He talked about that experience when the Street Profits joined Corey Graves’ podcast.
“You know, it’s true. Bryan Saxton brought that up yesterday. I remember that like it was yesterday. I just started maybe a week or two before, didn’t have any wrestling gear and they said to me, hey, you have to go and take pictures and all I had was basketball shorts,” recalled Dawkins. “So, I remember you [Corey Graves] and a couple of other guys going, ‘Yo, what is this kid doing? First off, why is he here? Why is he here? And, my man showing up in basketball shorts?’
“There was a couple of guys that offered trunks to me, offered their gear to me, but I just said, man, I don’t know if I could fit in them. But I was like, I’m just going to stick with my basketball shorts until I can have gear made for me. I remember that it was one of those things where they ended up putting it into the program and everything and a bunch of guys were giving me lectures about it, yelling at me over it, which I probably deserved. It was a very interesting time, but I will say this, it is very funny now that my very first wrestling pictures were in basketball shorts and ironically now, I wrestle in basketball shorts.”
Dawkins was an amateur wrestler at Harper College in Illinois which is where he caught the eye of WWE. He discussed who recruited him and how he ended up in FCW.
“I got recruited at National Duals, a wrestling tournament. Gerald Brisco was there. So basically, getting ready to wrestle, my wrestling coaches were telling me that Gerald Brisco was here and he wanted to talk to you,” said Dawkins. “He is Vince McMahon’s right-hand man, and I’m like, huh? I didn’t really know too much about wrestling before I got here. I knew who Vince McMahon was but I didn’t know who Gerald Brisco was at the time but they were telling me that and I was like, yeah, okay, because my coaches have a history of joking with people. So, I was like, yeah, whatever.
“I just shrugged it off and I got done wrestling with my match and sure enough Gerald Brisco comes over and introduces himself and told me that he wanted to talk to me about coming to the WWE. We talked for a minute and he ended up getting me a tryout later that year, and I ended up having the tryout and then ended up in FCW.”
Montez Ford’s background was a bit different as he pitched himself to WWE after serving in the military.
“I did the U.S Marines from 2008-2012 straight out of high school. Then when I came to the terms of whether I am going to re-enlist into the military or not, I actually ended up contracting for the military, which is that you are not active but you ended up doing the civilian part of it. I did that for a year, and at the time WWE had the portion of their website, which I don’t know if they still have it or not, but they had a thing on their website on recruiting where you can send in your pictures and videos. I remember I sent in the pictures and videos, didn’t hear anything for a few months and then eventually they emailed me back saying that I have a tryout. So, I was like, oh damn, here we go,” recalled Ford.
“I went to my first tryout in 2013. I remember in my tryout from people who were active now were: Steve Cutler, Lars Sullivan, and actually I remember Ivar being in the tryout as well. So, I did my first tryout in 2013 and I basically got the note back saying that you speak very well but you need to put on some weight. I took putting the weight on very serious, and very to heart because the next time they saw me when I had my second trial, which was maybe a year later, I had put on 45lbs and pretty much from that point on I got signed the second time I went to trial. The whole process there from me first trying out to getting signed it was about two, two-and-a-half years.”
Ford and Dawkins competed individually and in separate tag teams before WWE put them together to form the Street Profits. Ford discussed how their teaming came about.
“I mean, we were boys from the start,” stated Ford. “When we got to the PC ? at my second tryout where they hired me at ? they later put me through acting classes, which Angelo Dawkins was in that acting class. So, I got brought upstairs with I think there was six of us that they thought about hiring and I remember that day I thought that promos were going to be in the evening; normally I show up with a suit everywhere. I had worn my ring gear to what pretty much was the promo class and I was upset because I didn’t have a suit on and eventually they took us upstairs to the acting class and I had on gym shorts and gym clothes and some Moccasins. So, I remember sitting up there and they were going like, ‘Hey Dawkins, that is perfect fit for the both of you, he is wearing Moccasins too.’ And Dawkins was like, ‘Yeah, I see that.’
“I remember from that point after I got signed, we kicked it from the jump and maybe a year-and-a-half in, Angelo Dawkins had a single’s match against No Way Jose and I had a match against Steve Cutler. I remember immediately after that the producers came up to us and said that they wanted to put us together and we were like, oh, okay, that’s easy, I know this dude. I was fortunate to be put in with someone that you actually know.”
Dawkins joined WWE in 2012 and was in developmental for four years before being paired with Ford. He talked about being stuck down there and what it meant to finally break through.
“It meant a lot. I’ve been there forever and I kept looking for new characters to keep me in the fold for a little bit but they did not take me to the next level where I wanted to go as a single’s competitor, even as a tag competitor. Because at the time I had another tag partner but that didn’t end up working out. So, I kept looking for things that can stick and then finally me and Montez Ford ended up as a tag and we haven’t looked back since,” said Dawkins.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.