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Exclusive: Montez Ford wants to defend the ‘US’ title against Angelo Dawkins at WrestleMania

Montez Ford has made multiple predictions for Elimination Chamber on Saturday, but one stands above the rest as he reiterated it multiple times - he’s going ham inside the Chamber, where he’ll be one of five men who’ll be gunning to take the United States title from Austin Theory.

Anyone who has watched Tez perform over the last several years knows that he never lacks energy and effort in his performances, but he seems to be particularly jacked up for his first ever opportunity to enter the Elimination Chamber.

Cageside Seats had a chance to sit down with Ford ahead of Raw this past Monday in Brooklyn, and the triple crown WWE Tag Team Champion could hardly sit still during our conversation.

“I’m ready man. I’m ready. Just like every single day you see it on Twitter, when I say God is good every single day, because I’m happy I got a chance to do something I didn’t do yesterday and I got a chance to put on for the people that’s not here no more. And I got a chance to improve and better myself.”

Growing up as a young man in the Chicago area, Ford has been watching Elimination Chamber matches dating all the way back to their inception at Survivor Series 2002. Always a witness to the big moments this match has created, Montez now has a chance to make his own mark in the annals of chamber history.

“And on top of that, (I have) a chance of becoming the new U.S. champion. I feel fantastic, man. I’m so excited. I’m very, very excited. I’m trying to contain myself in this podcast right now, because I don’t want your decibels or your volume levels to explode. But I’m ready man. I am ready for Montreal. Got a couple tricks up my sleeve.”

Ford has made a career off utilizing his darn near physics-defying athleticism in the face of one of his biggest fears — heights. On more than one occasion he has admitted that he’s terrified every time he climbs to the top rope, but he’s learned that the best way to conquer his personal horror is to tackle it head on, every single time.

Saturday presents an opportunity for Tez to fly higher than he ever has before. He’s well aware of that fact, but wouldn’t tip his hand as to what he has planned. Even when asked if a frog splash from the top of the Chamber pod may be in the cards.

“All I’m going to say... life is all about reaching new heights and I’m all about getting higher and so let’s just leave it at that.”

The men’s Elimination Chamber match features six of the top performers that Monday Night Raw has to offer, including the reigning champ Austin Theory, Seth “Freaking” Rollins, Damian Priest, Johnny Gargano, Bronson Reed and, obviously, Montez Ford.

Based off of the amount of talent alone, this Elimination Chamber match has the potential to be one of the best that’s ever been booked. The next guarantee from Ford is that all six men are going to do what it takes to give the fans the type of Chamber match that they want and deserve.

“Six competitors with different contrasting styles and different hunger in the Chamber at the exact same time. And I think it’s very exciting and you know, I’m not gonna sit here and be biased or anything, but I’ll tell you one thing. This weekend is going to be the weekend where if the Chamber hasn’t been put on notice before, of how destructive and how many different things can happen inside of it, I guarantee you after this weekend it’ll definitely be a different conversation when it comes to Elimination Chamber.”

Recent betting odds say the smart money is on Austin Theory retaining his U.S. Championship in route to his rumored showdown with John Cena at WrestleMania 39, but Ford will have no shortage of people cheering him on, hoping to see him capture his first singles gold in WWE.

Among his supporters: Big E. The former WWE Champion was a guest on WWE’s The Bump this past week and said he’s excited to see Ford reach those new heights he spoke to Cageside Seats about:

“It’s hard not to be a Montez guy,” Big E told The Bump. “You talk about someone who has all the tools, charismatic as hell, absurdly athletic. He has everything, so it’s about time for Montez to get his. I’m excited to see his rise and see his run. Talk about a star. Guy has screamed ‘star’ for a long time, so it’s time to get Montez cooking.”

Fans and analysts alike, including myself, have been waiting and practically begging for WWE to tap in Ford’s unlimited potential as a top end Superstar. And while hearing such praise is always humbling for Montez, earning that level of respect from someone like Big E holds a special place in his heart.

“It means everything, man. Like we all like endure similar backgrounds, similar experiences. We’re all on the road 200 plus days out of the year. We’re all making the same or similar sacrifices. And to have your peers feel like it’s your time, it’s your time to get cooking and it’s deserving, it means a lot.

“Especially coming from someone that, I would say, one of the people I’ve looked up to and idolized, you know, before I even got into business — Big E. You know, being part of New Day and everything that they’ve done and paved the way and the road they showed for myself and a lot of other of my peers as well. But specifically myself, these guys have done so much for me and given me so much examples and motivation and inspiration to achieve and aspire to be more. And you know, like I said earlier, reach higher. So for them to say that they feel this way, these are their opinions about me. I guess that means I’m doing something right.”

“But it is very, very, very, very humbling man because, like I said, we all put so much effort into this. And to have someone like Big E, Gold-E is what I call him, to say some stuff like that, that’s not only inspiring and means a lot and very humbling, but it’s also very motivating for me to just continue going there this weekend and show the world what he feels and what I feel as well. So I really, really appreciate that and I thank God for him.”

There’s no question that a win Saturday would be the biggest of Montez Ford’s career and could potentially springboard him into the upper class of singles competitors in the company.

That said, the question then becomes what happens to the other half of the Street Profits. Over the past several months, Angelo Dawkins has proven himself to be quite the in-ring performer and he carries just as much charisma, if not more, than his tag team partner.

Angelo Dawkins has just as much potential to be a breakout singles star, but fans of the Cincinnati native have expressed concerns in the past that Ford’s potential rise could lead to the Profits being split up and Dawkins facing an uncertain future.

A separation of the two seems inevitable. You can count on one hand the amount of high profile teams that never had a falling out. But just like many of us, Ford doesn’t want to see that go down between he and Dawkins. Throughout our conversation, Tez continued to stress that he won’t be winning the U.S. Championship on Saturday. He’ll be winning the “US” Championship.

Part of my column last week centered around what could happen at WrestleMania if Montez were to capture the US Championship this weekend. My idea — Ford defending the gold against Dawkins in a friendly contest between two highly competitive individuals. These guys honor Kobe Bryant and LeBron James with their ring gear for a reason.

I took the opportunity to layout my idea to Tez himself and he was more than up for opportunity to lock up with his long time partner and make a win inside the Elimination Chamber a catapult for both of the Street Profits, and not just Montez Ford. It’s all about “us” he said.

“It’s so crazy you said that because this week when I was talking to him [Dawkins], I said, ‘Look man. I’m going ham in the Chamber and I’m gonna go so ham to the point I have that much utmost confidence and ability in myself that I will walk out as a new US Champion.’ And I said, ‘It’s always about us.’ So I said, ’Since it’s always about us, when I win the Elimination Chamber, you be the first person that I hope or I wanna challenge to defend my title.’

“And what better way to do it than WrestleMania. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio did it as Tag Team Champions back when WrestleMania went Hollywood, right? And guess what we are now, we in SoFi.”

Ford’s memory was spot on. Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie Guerrero in the opening contest of WrestleMania 21 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Rumors are the company is bringing back the popular “WrestleMania Goes Hollywood” movie trailers that were used to hype up the event that year.

A match between Ford and Dawkins would provide WWE with more historical parallels to draw upon as WrestleMania comes back to the City of Angels.

“I feel like if we go out there on the grand stage with the United States Championship on the line, with no beef, I guarantee you we’ll show the world what we’re truly made of and everyone will finally get the answer to wherever it is going through their mind. Something that really doesn’t go through ours, is who is the better Street Prophet or who showed up on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

“So yes, absolutely. I would love to see that happen. Actually it will happen. I have that much confidence in myself this weekend that I’m gonna survive the got dog on Chamber and Dawks and I are going to be at WrestleMania with the new US championship on the line. You heard it here first on SB Nation.”

Just to recap. Montez Ford has guaranteed to go crazy inside the Elimination Chamber, win the match and the United States Championship, and then face Angelo Dawkins at WrestleMania 39.

Sign me up. I hope all of that comes to fruition.

Make sure to check out our entire conversation with Montez Ford in the video above to get his thoughts on the Bloodline story arc with Sami Zayn and more. You can follow Rick Ucchino on Twitter and subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for more of his work.

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