Arn Anderson recently recalled the infamous shove between Titus O’ Neil and Vince McMahon, leading to Titus serving a 60-day suspension!
The incident, which took place 4 years ago this week, happened after Daniel Bryan’s retirement segment, on Monday Night RAW. WWE Superstars and personnel had appeared on the entranceway to honour the career of Bryan who at the time was forced to retire due to concussion issues. As the locker room began to make their way backstage, Titus grabbed Vince McMahon’s arm in a playful manner, allegedly to allow women to exit first. This angered McMahon, who pushed O’Neil in retaliation.
The shove made air during the closing moments of Raw that evening. Prior to a Smackdown taping later that week, Titus was suspended for unprofessional conduct. Though original reports suggested O’Neil was set for a 90-day penalty, he ultimately served just 60.
Arn Anderson, who was a WWE agent at the time of the incident, recalls that fateful evening on the latest episode of his podcast, ‘ARN’. Anderson surmises that although Titus may have been trying to act in a light-hearted manner, emotions were running too high following Bryan’s heart-wrenching exit:
“I’ll tell you what I think happened. Daniel Bryan is beloved by pretty much everybody that loves him, everybody that knows him. He is just one of those guys that endears himself to you as being a legitimate guy. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t respect or speak highly of Daniel Bryan. I think the timing of him legitimately having to retire because of health issues was a- because you saw how it affected him backstage and you saw how it affected the other talent who really cared about the guy. And I think it being such a sombre, real moment, that any other day it might not have been as bad but when Titus grabbed Vince by the wrist as he was starting to exit, it caught him off guard.”
Arn also theorised that Titus causing Mr. McMahon to stumble in front of personnel and the live audience during the incident may have played a major role in the subsequent suspension:
“He almost fell down. I think that embarrassed him, probably it embarrassed him more than anyone else looked at it as, you know, it being a comedic moment or something but you just don’t. I think in Vince’s mind it made him look bad, ’cause he almost fell. It p***ed him off right away. I think, in his mind, that was a big moment in one of the talent’s careers, y’know, because Daniel was retiring. He probably thought to himself this was just not a time to be goofing and it got outta control like really quick and flamed up really quick. I don’t think there was any ill tension, I just don’t think that Titus was thinking properly when he did it”
Titus would address the suspension during an interview with Chris Van Vliet in May 2016. Despite many online fans and critics calling the suspension too severe, O’Neil takes responsibility for his actions, and looked to the future:
“I think that my punishment was served, I handled it with class, and I’ll continue to do that. And as I’ve said time and time again, I am a very blessed individual. I have a million things that I can do, and I look forward to trying to do those things in WWE, but if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be fine.”
Titus would return to WWE following his 60-day suspension in a Battle Royal on an episode of RAW. He remains with the company to this day, even becoming the inaugural 24/7 Champion. O’Neill is known for his charity work outside the ring and, perhaps most infamously, slipping and sliding under the ring during his entrance at The Greatest Royal Rumble.