As one half of Heavy Machinery, Tucker found varying levels of success both in NXT and on WWE’s main roster. The duo never captured tag team gold, but remained one of WWE’s most popular acts when together.
Speaking to Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on the Wrestling Inc. Daily, Tucker revealed they were not given a definitive plan for their main roster call-up, but were told to stay true to the Heavy Machinery fans knew from NXT.
“I mean, we were up and we were doing our thing. Like, ‘Hey, you’re Heavy Machinery, do you thing,’” Tucker said. “For us, we’re always focused on getting over with the crowd. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s where our mental energy and focus is going. While Heavy Machinery is Heavy Machinery together, that’s the conversations we’re having in cars, in planes, wherever we are. That’s what we were about, and I’m pretty happy with at least what we were able to accomplish when we were given the opportunity to accomplish it.”
“I wish they wouldn’t have, but it is what it is I guess,” Tucker said. “What the boss says goes. That wasn’t a hill I was going to die on, I’ll just say that. I just said, ‘Okay. No problem. Thank you.’”
Shortening ring names has been a long practice inside WWE. Main roster mainstays like Antonio Cesaro, Big E Langston, and Elias Sampson all lost one of their names not long after they made their RAW and SmackDown debuts.
Tucker offered a theory as to why ring names get shortened, noting he believes it has to do with entrances.
“I honestly think it has to do with how long it takes the announcer to say like, ‘Otis Dozovic! Tucker Knight! Heavy Machinery!’ I think that’s too long. I think that’s one of the reasons anyways. I have no idea. That’s pure speculation on my part.”
Heavy Machinery had a few TV feuds with the likes of Daniel Bryan and Rowan and the New Day before the duo got their biggest storyline.
Even though Otis’s blossoming romance angle with Mandy Rose posed good tidings for the future Mr. Money in the Bank, Tucker’s next steps became a lot foggier.
“Obviously I understood that Heavy Machinery as I knew it was in jeopardy. Even if we’re not having discussions about that and we’re not talking about it, like in my mind I know. I’ve watched. I pay attention to the way things go,” Tucker said. “In the context of Heavy Machinery and us continuing to be successful as a tag team, this is probably not a good thing for us.”
Even though Heavy Machinery was fizzling out, Tucker says he had no ill will towards his tag team partner.
“But at the same time, I genuinely love Otis,” Tucker said. “I don’t want to try and steer it back in [the tag team] direction so hard that it messes up his thing. This has been his dream since he was a kid. And I love him. I would never want to mess that up. It was kind of tough for me in some regards because obviously I want Heavy Machinery to continue in the way that it was going, but at the same time I don’t want to deprive one of my best friends of what could ultimately be a really, really big opportunity for his career and his life.”
Otis would eventually drop the Money in the Bank briefcase to The Miz. Tucker had hopes that the losing the briefcase angle would be pursued in a tag match, but it played out otherwise.
“We did the Miz stuff and I thought maybe there was a chance that we were going to lose [the briefcase] in a tag match and we would continue to be Heavy Machinery to some extent,” Tucker said. “I thought that was an opportunity, I thought there was a chance that was going to happen coming out of the trial segment. At least at one point in time, I was still holding out hope that it would happen.”
Tucker played a big part in Otis’s match with The Miz for the briefcase, as he cost his partner the prize at 2020’s Hell in a Cell.
“I was trying to think of other things I could do if and when we split up or how that was going to happen,” Tucker said. “There wasn’t a lot of information being given out, so it was pretty tough to make definitive plans when you don’t really know, you’re just trying to make guesses essentially.”
With the team split up for good, Tucker began to pursue a singles career on the red brand. He would end up winning the 24/7 Championship, but his reign clocked in at under a minute. Regardless of his brief success, Tucker did not anticipate big things coming for him in the singles division.
“It was tough. I was definitely not in the best spot mentally, you know what I mean?” Tucker said. “Particularly following up us splitting up and not doing anything and knowing, feeling like things are probably not going to be successful, at least for me there in that instance.”
Tucker would be released from his WWE contract this past April. While the weeks following were tough, Tucker says he has been focused on appreciating the journey.
“That’s life. I try my best to be about the journey and not about the goals, right?” Tucker said. “Not about the successes and the failures. Success and failure is to me just a measuring stick of your process. Like you know which pieces of your process are working and which pieces of your process aren’t working based on your successes and failures. To me, that’s what they should be looked at as.
“There’s places for me to obviously get better as a performer based on the things that happened. I could be depressed about it forever, or I could take a good hard look about what are the changes I need to make. What kind of mental changes, what kind of physical changes do I need to make? What do I want in the first place, coming out of all this? I haven’t figured all those things out, but I feel like I’m on a pretty good path. I’m in a much more positive place than I was a few months ago.”
You can follow Levi on Twitter @REALLeviCoopper
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