Former WWE star Levi Cooper, f.k.a. Tucker, was on a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Cooper spoke on his time in WWE, and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Cooper how Heavy Machinery came about.
“Initially, it was Matt Bloom’s idea, and he kind of approached me,” Cooper revealed. “And we had a little bit of a discussion about it. ‘Hey, what do you think about the two of you guys getting together?’ And I think Otis had been there for maybe three months at the time, and he was doing well.
“He was working opening matches, and starting to get over doing his Otis stuff, and of course, he’s awesome. We wrestled one match as heels. It was our first match ever against TM61 in Ocala, FL. It was an outdoor venue. I think it was like 95 on an August day in FL. I remember having a hug at the beginning of the match and it being a very sweaty hug. We haven’t even started working, and we still got 15 minutes, 20 minutes here. That was our only match as heels.”
Cooper explained why the switch from heel to babyface was made so quickly. He also discussed why he and Otis gelled so quickly.
“It just kind of, well, this didn’t work that good this time. Let’s try you guys out as babyfaces,” Cooper explained. “We had a couple matches as babyfaces, and they put us in the opener and it worked out pretty good. We would get the audience into the match and interact with them, and it just kind of stuck that we’re babyfaces.
“Especially with Otis’ energy, it’s pretty hard not to like that guy, especially when he’s coming out, and making noises and slapping himself, and I think foundational-y, we both understood each other because we had similar upbringings. I’m from a small town in Oregon. He’s from small blue collar town, Superior, WI, so we have that in common.
“We’re both pretty high-level amateur wrestling heavyweights, and so understanding that gave us a foundation of what’s understood, doesn’t need to be talked about necessarily. We know and we respect these things about each other a lot, and we’re not going to try to measure up against each other. We’re just going to get together and try to move this thing forward in the right direction.”
Hausman noted that it must have been tough for Cooper to keep a straight face when Otis was cutting a promo. Cooper agreed, and he revealed some mannerisms that Otis would adopt.
“Oh, yes, especially during promos,” Cooper admitted. “I’d be like, alright, this is what I’m gonna say and then when you feel it, just say something and I’ll react to you. ‘Tucky’, that definitely started in NXT. He’d have little additions. There was a time where he was adding ‘idge’ to everything. He’d like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna drink some water-idge. We’re gonna have some food-idge, and we’re gonna go do this idge and that idge.’ There’s some where he’s adding the IE or the Y to the end of it. ‘We’re gonna go get some food-ie, and we’re gonna get some coff-ie, Tucky’ then it just stuck and people started calling me it, and it was like, alright, well, this is the thing.
“You always know, especially if you do something and then people around the Performance Center are saying it, then you’re like, okay, well, we have something here. Everybody who’s around wrestling 24/7 all the time is sort of getting into whatever you’re doing, or they’re catching on to it or it’s clicking with them to some extent, then you know, okay, that’s something that you should continue to try with the audience because it probably has the potential to have legs.”
A joke that started out in NXT was Otis’ flirty tweets towards Mandy Rose. Cooper spoke on the chemistry between the two, and he revealed what Otis’ original goals were and noted what that turned into.
“He just did it on social media. He’s the man,” Cooper stated. “It was just a joke to mess with Mandy’s boyfriend at the time, Tino Sabatelli. I mean, not just to mess with him, but it’s like, ‘Hey, do you think if I do this thing on social media where I just ask Mandy to be my girlfriend all the time, that would be super cringy?’ And I’m like, ‘No, dude, that’d be pretty funny, I think.’ He just started doing it and talked to her, and she was like, ‘Oh, I like it. People are into it. Keep doing it. It’s funny,’ and so anytime she posts a pic, he just takes that picture and was like, ‘Oh, Doz’s future girlfriend’ and posts it right. It just started getting over and became a WrestleMania match. Take your shot, baby.”
You can follow Levi on Twitter @REALLeviCooper.
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