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David Daniel Otunga, Sr. (April 7, 1980) is an American professional wrestler, commentator and former reality television actor currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

Reality television

After his niece sent in an audition tape of him, Otunga was chosen to be a contestant on I Love New York 2 and given the nickname "Punk". Otunga made it to the final three in the competition before being eliminated on the penultimate episode of the series.

World Wrestling Entertainment

In November 2008, Otunga signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment and was assigned to its development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. He made his debut on May 29, 2009, under the ring name, Dawson Alexander, in a six-man tag team match. Otunga teamed with Barry Allen and Jon Cutler to defeat Abraham Saddam Washington, Derrick Bateman, and Tonga.

NXT and The Nexus (2010–2011)

On February 16, 2010, it was announced that Otunga would be wrestling on the first season of WWE NXT under his real name, with R-Truth as his storyline mentor. He made his debut on the inaugural episode of NXT on February 23, quickly defeating Darren Young. Young defeated Otunga in a rematch on the following week's broadcast, thanks to interference from Young's mentor, CM Punk. After the match, R-Truth tried to offer his support, only to be shoved away by a frustrated Otunga. R-Truth took exception, confronting and brawling with Otunga backstage. On the March 30 episode of NXT, Otunga won an 8-man over the top rope battle royal against the other NXT Rookies to earn the right to guest host Raw the following week. On the April 5 episode of Raw, Otunga put himself in a tag team match with John Cena for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship against ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz). Later in the match, however, he refused to tag in and walked out, allowing ShoMiz to retain. On May 11, in the second Pros Poll, he was moved to second place. During the season finale on June 1, Otunga came in second place overall in the competition, losing out to Wade Barrett.

The following week on Raw, Otunga and the other NXT rookies from season one interfered in the main event match between John Cena and CM Punk, attacking the competitors, the announce team, and the ring announcer Justin Roberts, before dismantling the ring area and surrounding equipment. On the June 14 episode of Raw, the rookies attacked General Manager Bret Hart, when he refused to give them contracts. The following week on Raw, Vince McMahon fired Hart and announced the hiring of a new General Manager, who had signed all seven season one NXT rookies to contracts. The following week, the group was named The Nexus. On the July 12 edition of Raw, The Nexus, excluding Daniel Bryan (who was fired by Vince McMahon after the Nexus' first night on Raw in part due to choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie.), competed in their first match together, defeating John Cena in a six–on–one handicap match. The Nexus continued to feud with Cena and the Raw roster, resulting in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match at SummerSlam. Otunga was the fourth member of The Nexus eliminated, when he submitted to Chris Jericho, and The Nexus went on to lose the match.

Cena was later forced to join The Nexus, as a result of losing to Barrett at Hell in a Cell. At the following pay-per-view, Bragging Rights on October 24, Otunga and Cena teamed together to win the WWE Tag Team Championship from Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre. The next night on Raw Otunga and Cena lost the Tag Team Championship to fellow Nexus members Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater when Barrett ordered Otunga to allow Slater to pin him. On November 5 Otunga, who had been questioning Barrett's leadership in the past weeks, led Nexus, minus Barrett and Cena, to an invasion of SmackDown. Barrett did not approve of Otunga's decision to lead The Nexus to SmackDown and as a result forced him to defend his spot in the group a week later. On the November 12 edition of SmackDown Otunga defeated Edge in a lumberjack match, after Kane interfered, to keep his spot in Nexus. About a month later, Otunga started to rebel against Barrett with the rest of Nexus behind him. After the group disobeyed direct orders and walked away from Barrett, Otunga told Barrett to rehire Cena the following week or be banished from Nexus. In January 2011 Barrett was exiled from Nexus and CM Punk took over his spot as the leader of the group. While Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater chose not to follow Punk's orders and left Nexus, Otunga agreed to take his initiation test, a beating from the Big Show, and remain with the group. In late February, it was announced that Punk would face Randy Orton at WrestleMania XXVII, with each member of The Nexus facing Orton to win the right to accompany Punk to the ring in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania. Otunga faced Orton on the March 7 episode of Raw, but lost. Following the match, he was punted in the skull by Orton. Otunga was absent from television for over a month, returning on the April 11 episode of Raw with the other New Nexus members, and preventing Orton from earning a WWE Championship match. On the May 23 episode of Raw, Otunga teamed with fellow Nexus member Michael McGillicutty to win the WWE Tag Team Championship from Kane and The Big Show.

Legal Advisor (2011-2012)

After feuding with Jerry Lawler for a short period of time, Otunga would start a new angle, where John Laurinaitis would have him help other disgruntled superstars get rid of Triple H, after his decisions and actions as COO. On the September 30 edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown, he, along with Laurinaitis, would sit down with Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Alberto Del Rio, Christian, and Vickie Guerrero to have a discussion about Triple H's control over RAW. On RAW the following week, he, along with other superstars, officials, divas, commentators, and other personnel, would walk out on Triple H, after a "vote of no confidence" after his role as COO. On November 7 edition of RAW, Otunga was jumped backstage by CM Punk, who was later saved by Del Rio, who afterwards, would put him through the table.

Otunga would have his first Singles match since leaving the Nexus in a "Miracle on 34th street fight" against Randy Orton. On the December 23 episode of SmackDown he cancelled a #1 Contender's match between The Big Show and Mark Henry due to the latter's leg injury; he was knocked out by Show as a result. Otunga faced The Big Show on the December 26 episode of Raw and the December 30 episode of SmackDown, but lost both matches. He obtained his first win since returning to singles competition on the January 13, 2012, episode of SmackDown, defeating Santino Marella. He captured back-to-back wins against Ezekiel Jackson on the February 20 episode of Raw and the February 21 episode of Super SmackDown. On the March 12 episode of Raw, it was announced that Otunga would be the captain of Laurinaitis' team for the battle for control 12-man Tag Team match at WrestleMania. Team Johnny was victorious at WrestleMania XXVIII. On the April 16 edition of Raw SuperShow, Otunga unsuccessfully challenged Santino Marella for the United States Championship. Otunga took leave from WWE television from April 23 to May 14 to be with his fiancé, Jennifer Hudson, during the murder trial of William Balfour in Chicago.

At No Way Out, Otunga lost to Brodus Clay via count out. The next night on Raw, Otunga teamed with Big Show and John Laurinaitis in a 3 on 1 handicap match. Before the match started, Big Show walked out on Otunga and Laurinaitis. Otunga walked out as well during the match, because Laurinaitis had refused to tag himself in, allowing John Cena to make Laurinaitis submit. The next week on SmackDown, Otunga delivered a low blow to Brodus Clay as Clay was fighting The Big Show. He returned to Raw on August 20 to confront General Manager AJ Lee. He was put into a match against The Big Show, which he lost. On September 3, Otunga was seen with Alberto Del Rio, who told Matt Striker that his client (Del Rio) won't talk to him. On the September 7 episode of SmackDown, he represented Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez to win the case to ban Sheamus' finishing move, the Brogue Kick, just as Otunga was facing Sheamus at the night's main event, although the Brogue Kick was later reinstated. He managed Alberto Del Rio at Night of Champions in his match with Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship which Del Rio lost, At Survivor Series, Otunga was made a part of Team Ziggler, filling in for the injured Cody Rhodes. He was eliminated by Daniel Bryan. Otunga competed in the 2013 Royal Rumble match entering at #9 but was eliminated by Sheamus. Since then, he has been doing promotional work for WWE backstage. Otunga returned on October 28 when he conducted an interview for WWE.com after Big Show sued WWE and Triple H for defamation, discrimination and wrongful termination of contract.

After several more months absence on WWE TV, Otunga returned on April 6, 2014, were he competed in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, but failed to win as he was eliminated by Ezekiel Jackson. Otunga did not make any WWE appearances again until he returned to live events on January 9, 2015.

Raw Pre-show host (2015-2016)

Otunga would make his return on television on February 2, 2015 doing the Raw Pre-Show. Following this he offered his legal services to former New Nexus teammate Curtis Axel regarding his 2015 Royal Rumble controversy.

Color commentator (2016–2017, 2018)

Otunga would make his color commentary debut on June 14, 2016 episode of WWE Main Event and the following Friday on WWE Superstars along with Tom Phillips. Otunga also replaced Jerry Lawler over the next two weeks on SmackDown until June 30, 2016. Otunga was released from Superstars commentary team following the 2016 WWE Draft Lottery after the broadcast on July 22, 2016 and replaced by Corey Graves from Raw and NXT, and also from Main Event commentary team on November 22, 2016 and replaced by Byron Saxton from Raw, and upgraded by Austin Aries on December 20, 2016. He also making his return on television after the 2016 WWE Draft doing the color commentary for SmackDown Live, with his latest partners, Mauro Ranallo and John "Bradshaw" Layfield, starting on July 26, 2016. He was last seen on commentary for Smackdown Live on the special post-WrestleMania episode in Amway Center, along with Tom Phillips and JBL as a heel. Otunga would make his return to the commentary desk on the June 4, 2018 episode of Raw for the first time since his absence from last year during the Superstar Shake-up by filling in for Jonathan Coachman. He next did commentary filling in for Byron Saxton at TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2018 and on the December 18, 2018 episode of SmackDown LIVE.

Kickoff show host (2017–present)

Otunga would make his debut at Extreme Rules 2017 doing the Kickoff show, after he recently filming the movie Katrina for 6 weeks, and his Raw commentary debut was delayed following the Superstar Shake-up.

Filmography

Year Title Role
2013 The Call Officer Jake Devans

Personal life

Otunga is the son of a Kenyan father, Moses, and white American mother, Billie, both of whom were educators. He is the youngest of three children. Otunga graduated from Larkin High School in 1996, with mostly A-grades. Otunga holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. Following his graduation, he moved to New York, where he worked at Columbia University as a lab manager in a cognitive neuroscience center. He later attended Harvard Law School, and passed the bar exam in Chicago. Following his graduation, he worked for the Sidley Austin LLP law firm.

Seven months after meeting singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, he proposed marriage on Hudson's 27th birthday. On August 10, 2009, Hudson gave birth to her and Otunga's first child, a boy named David Daniel Otunga, Jr.

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • "The Kanye West of WWE"
    • David "A-List" Otunga
    • "The A-List of the WWE"
    • "The Harvard Law School Graduate"

Championships and accomplishments

External links


RAW guest hosts
Aaron PaulAl SharptonAriel WinterArnold SchwarzeneggerAshton KutcherBatistaBen RoethlisbergerBetty WhiteBill SimmonsBob BarkerBobb’e J. ThompsonBradley CooperBret HartBuzz AldrinCarl EdwardsCedric the EntertainerCharlie DayCharlie SheenCheech MarinChris DiamantopoulosClark DukeCriss AngelCyndi LauperDavid HasselhoffDavid OtungaDon JohnsonDr. PhilDule HillDusty RhodesFlava FlavFlo RidaFlorence HendersonFloyd Mayweather Jr.Freddie Prinze, Jr.Grumpy CatHoda KotbHugh JackmanJames RodayJared FogleJason SudeikisJeremy PivenJerry SpringerJesse VenturaJewelJoe ManganielloJoey LoganoJohnny DamonJon HederJon LovitzJon StewartJustin LongKathie Lee GiffordKristen WiigKyle BuschLarry KingLarry the Cable GuyMaria MenounosMark CubanMark FeuersteinMichael StrahanMick FoleyMike TysonMyaNancy O'DellNicole "Snooki" PolizziOzzy OsbournePee-Wee HermanPerez HiltonPete RosePitbullQuinton JacksonRicky HattonRima FakihRob CorddryRob ZombieRowdy Roddy PiperRyan PhillippeSantino MarellaSeth GreenSgt. SlaughterShaquille O'NealSharlto CopleySharon OsbourneShawn KingShawn MichaelsSnoop DoggStephen AmellSteve AustinTed DibiaseThe MuppetsTimbalandToby KeithTommy ChongTrish StratusTy MurrayVerne TroyerWayne BradyWill ForteWill SassoWilliam ShatnerWiz KhalifaZZ Top
NXT Seasons
Season 1
Daniel BryanDarren YoungDavid OtungaHeath SlaterJustin GabrielMichael TarverSkip SheffieldWade Barrett
Season 2
Alex RileyEli CottonwoodHusky HarrisKavalLucky CannonMichael McGillicuttyPercy WatsonTitus O'Neil
Season 3
AJ LeeAksanaJamie KeyesKaitlynMaxineNaomi Night
Season 4
Brodus ClayByron SaxtonConor O'BrianDerrick BatemanJacob NovakJohnny Curtis
Redemption
Byron SaxtonConor O'BrianDarren YoungJacob NovakLucky CannonTitus O'NeilDerrick Bateman


The Nexus
Members
CM PunkDavid OtungaHusky HarrisMason RyanMichael McGillicuttySkip SheffieldDaniel BryanDarren YoungHeath SlaterJohn CenaJustin GabrielMichael TarverWade Barrett
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Raw

A.J. StylesAkira TozawaAlexa BlissAngel GarzaAsukaBig EBobby LashleyCedric AlexanderCharlotte FlairDamian PriestDana BrookeDoudropDrew GulakDrew McIntyreEliasErikEva MarieGran MetalikHumberto CarrilloIvarJaxson RykerJeff HardyJinder MahalJohn MorrisonKarrion KrossKeith LeeKofi KingstonLacey EvansLince DoradoMansoorMatt RiddleMustafa AliMVPNia JaxNikki A.S.H.OmosR-TruthRandy OrtonReggieRhea RipleyRicochetRiddick MossShankyShayna BaszlerSheamusShelton BenjaminThe MizTitus O'NeilVeerXavier Woods

SmackDown

Angelo DawkinsApollo CrewsBaron CorbinBayleyBecky LynchBianca BelairCarmellaCesaroChad GableCommander AzeezDolph ZigglerDominik MysterioFinn BálorJey UsoJimmy UsoKevin OwensLiv MorganMontez FordNaomiNatalyaOtisRey MysterioRobert RoodeRoman ReignsSami ZaynSasha BanksSeth RollinsShinsuke NakamuraShotzi BlackheartSonya DevilleTaminaTegan NoxToni StormZelina Vega

NXT

AliyahAustin TheoryCameron GrimesCandice LeRaeDanny BurchDakota KaiDexter LumisDrake MaverickEmber MoonFabian AichnerFranky MonetGigi DolinIndi HartwellIo ShiraiIsaiah ScottJessi KameaJoaquin WildeJohnny GarganoKacy CatanzaroKayden CarterKay Lee RayKyle O'ReillyKUSHIDALA KnightMandy RoseNash CarterOney LorcanPete DunneRaquel GonzálezRaul MendozaRoderick StrongSamoa JoeSantos EscobarSarrayScarlettTimothy ThatcherTommaso CiampaWes LeeXia LiZoey Stark

205 Cruiserweights

Oney LorcanRaul MendozaThe Brian Kendrick

NXT UK

Aleah JamesAmir JordanAoife ValkyrieAshton SmithDave MastiffEddie DennisFabian AichnerFlash Morgan WebsterIlja DragunovIsla DawnJames DrakeJinnyJoe CoffeyJoseph ConnersJordan DevlinKenny WilliamsMarcel BarthelMark AndrewsMark CoffeyMeiko SatomuraMike HitchmanNina SamuelsNoam DarSam GradwellSaxon HuxleyTrent SevenTyler BateTyson T-BoneWALTERWolfgangXia BrooksideZack Gibson

Stables & Tag Teams

GallusImperiumLegado Del FantasmaLucha House PartyMoustache MountainStreet ProfitsThe New DayThe UsosThe Viking RaidersThe Way

Commentators & Interviewers

Alyse AshtonByron SaxtonCarlos CabreraCorey GravesKayla BraxtonKevin PatrickMarcelo RodríguezMcKenzie MitchellMichael ColeNigel McGuinnessPat McAfeeSarah SchreiberVic JosephWade Barrett

Ring announcers

Greg Hamilton (SmackDown) • Mike Rome (Raw) • Alicia Taylor (NXT)

Referees

Aja SmithChad PattonCharles RobinsonDan EnglerD.A. BrewerDanilo AnfibioDarrick MooreDarryl SharmaEddie OrengoJason AyersJessika CarrJohn ConeShawn BennettRod ZapataRyan Tran

Pre-Show Panel

Booker TDavid OtungaJerry LawlerJonathan CoachmanPete RosenbergSam Roberts

NXT Trainers

Matthew BloomNorman SmileyRobbie BrooksideSara Del ReyShawn MichaelsTerry Taylor

General Managers

Shane McMahon (Smackdown)Stephanie McMahon (Raw)William Regal (NXT)Johnny Saint (UK Brand)

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