Over the last couple of decades WWE have played out many romance storylines, some have played out to happy endings and other romance stories finished with betrayal. 2020 saw WWE latest attempt, the love story of Mandy Rose and Otis. The programme starts off as a memorable and well told ‘guy finally gets the girl’ story that has a touching WrestleMania moment but as the end of summer 2020 approaches, It all falls apart.
As the Christmas spirit began to spread over the SmackDown locker room in 2019, Mandy Rose pulled out Otis’ name in the secret Santa between the blue brand superstars. Mandy would present Otis with a giant ham and a kiss as his present. When The Revival destroyed Otis’ piece of ham, Rose would console an upset Otis with a hug, but the big man would get his sweat all over her dress, ruining it.
In an attempt to make good with ‘Gods greatest creation’, Otis would give Rose a Christmas cake but a meddling Dolph Ziggler would enter the picture and try to convince Rose that she should be spending more time with him, not Otis. Ziggler would even stamp on the cake. At the Royal Rumble, Otis would help save Rose from elimination by appearing at ringside. This act would lead to a date between the two on Valentines Day.
On February 14th, Otis, with the help of his best friend Tucker, was all set for his date with Mandy when he received a text saying that she would be late. But, it wasn’t Rose who sent the text and Mandy would show up at the agreed time at the restaurant but with no Otis, Dolph Ziggler would appear. When Otis would arrive, he would see Ziggler sitting with Mandy on his date, distraught he would leave the restaurant.
With Otis heartbroken, Ziggler would not let Mandy listen to either Otis or Tucker. Ziggler would continue to torture Otis with posts of himself and Mandy on social media and would distract Otis in one of his matches by showing the pictures on the big screen mid-match. This was until the April 3rd episode of SmackDown.
On this episode of SmackDown, Tucker would defend the honour of Otis when he challenged Dolph Ziggler to a match one on one. At the end of that match, the mysterious hacker (who we later found out to be Mustafa Ali) would show footage that it was actually Mandy Rose’s best friend, Sonya Deville, who sent the text on Valentines Day. In a plot to keep Mandy away from Otis, both Deville and Ziggler were working together and came up with the plan.
Looking for revenge, Otis and Dolph would clash at Wrestlemania 36 and it was Otis that would defeat Ziggler. After the match, Otis would finally get his girl as he and Rose would embrace with a kiss. Otis then carried Rose out of the arena looking very happy. It was a shame that their match had taken place in the performance centre and not in a full stadium where Wrestlemania was due to take place. I’m sure the crowd would have given a big ovation to Otis who had started to gain a following with momentum before live events had to stop.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 6, 2020
After Wrestlemania, Otis and Mandy celebrated being a couple together and when The Money in the Bank event came around, Otis would defeat Dolph Ziggler once again to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder match. The ladder match this time was due to take place at WWE Headquarters due to the coronavirus pandemic. Competitors were due to battle from the lobby of the building all the way to the roof, where the briefcase would be hanging.
In the lead up to the match, we found out that Otis was unable to climb a ladder due to his weight and would break the rings of the ladder each time he tried. During the match, Otis would have a clear opportunity to grab the briefcase but when he stepped on the ladder it broke. It was AJ Styles who would climb the ladder and as he unclipped the briefcase, he accidentally drops it and Otis would catch it underneath him. Otis was announced as the new Mr. Money in the Bank, much to the Phenomenal Ones agony.
Otis and Mandy storyline was at it’s peak with them holding the briefcase and were a main focus of some episodes of SmackDown. WWE would show vignettes of them sitting pool side celebrating with the Money In the Bank briefcase.
On the road to Summerslam, things would start to cool off for Otis and he would lend his support to Mandy Rose in her quest to gain revenge on her best friend Sonya Deville. Deville had started to claim she was the one responsible for any success their team ‘Fire and Desire’ had. Sonya would claim that Mandy Rose was all looks and no talent.
As Summerslam approached, Sonya would attack Mandy Rose on an episode of SmackDown and cut part of Rose is hair. This would lead to a match being made at Summerslam between the pair in a Hair versus Hair match. With the grudge match all set, in the week of the event, a scary moment would occur outside of the ring as a stalker would break into Deville’s house while she was at home. With a court case on the horizon, lawyers recommended to Deville that it would be best suited if she didn’t have all her hair cut off whilst she gave evidence.
This lead to an angle on the SmackDown before Summerslam where Deville would challenge Rose to a No Disqualification, loser leaves town match. The matchup would see Mandy Rose pick up the win, allowing Deville to leave television for a period after the traumatic event at her home.
As Rose sought revenge on Deville, Otis was demoted to a background character back teaming with his partner Tucker. But after Summerslam, Otis would be back in the spotlight but unfortunately this time, his momentum was being taken out from underneath him.
The Miz and John Morrison were trying to win the Money in the Bank briefcase from him and in the middle of their battles, Miz and Morrison’s would convince WWE officials to trade Mandy Rose to RAW, leaving Otis alone on Friday Nights.
— WWE (@WWE) September 12, 2020
Otis, after losing his girl, would also lose his Money in the Bank contract to The Miz at Hell in a Cell thanks to the betrayal of his best friend and tag team partner, Tucker.
It was sad to see the end of the angle happening so quickly and with no concrete, satisfying ending, just a parting of ways. The beginning of the romance had a connection with the audience and I’m sure there would have been an ovation at WrestleMania if a crowd had been present. WWE had gone from being high on the storyline to dropping it within months. One has to wonder if the release of WWE writer Andrea Listenberger destroyed the storyline as after her release, it wasn’t a focus.
Lots of people getting let go at #WWE today and regrettably, I am one of them. But I'm proud of the work I've been able to do since starting in Dec., and glad that the storyline I worked on resonated with so many people. That's what writing is about for me. #OtisandMandyForever
— Andrea Listenberger (@andrea_ml) April 15, 2020
The Otis and Mandy Rose love storyline will be remembered as how good WWE creative can be along with how bad it can be by not delivering a meaningful end to a story. #otisandmandyforever
All pictures courtesy of WWE.com