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The Renaissance Man
WWE Magazine:How has the David Otunga physique developed over time? Were you always this ripped?
David Otunga:No, actually I was quite the opposite. I was short and chubby in high school, and used to get picked on a lot because I had thick glasses and did pretty well in my classes. I remember looking around, and to me, all the other kids seemed really buff and athletic-looking. So I decided that I wanted to do something about it — to change that. One day I just started doing pushups in my basement. Then I decided I needed to get some weights. A friend’s older brother had a curling bar and those plastic weights, so I started curling every night. Then, next thing I know, about six weeks later, I was at the mall and this upper class woman bumps into me, grabs my arm and asks, “David, have you been working out? You’ve got muscles on your arms.” And that was it. That’s all it took. I was done. I couldn’t even concentrate on staying at the mall; I had to get home to work out immediately. It motivated me that much. After that, I kicked my training into high gear, and every day I’d come home from school and work out before I did my homework. And I’ve carried on with that tradition each and every single day through college, through law school, and through the law firm on my lunch breaks.
WWE Mag:Does David Otunga have an inner-nerd?
Otunga:This isn’t such a surprise, but I enjoy watching court cases and following the minute details within them. I actually order old court cases to watch. Before I became a lawyer, in college I was pre-med, and a psychology major. I’m always reading up on the human brain, memory and our cognitive abilities. I was also big into biochemistry. Now that I’m into the gym, I like to know how things work in terms of nutrition and protein and complex carbohydrates. To the average person, that’s very boring and, even to me at the time, it was boring, but now I have a better appreciation for it. My mind is more mature.
What has David Otunga learned in WWE that no Harvard Law class could have taught him?
How to entertain people. I’ve learned so much from WWE that I couldn’t have learned in a law class, and vice versa. So I get the best of both worlds. As a lawyer, if you’re on a jury trial, it really comes down to it being a performance and a competition. The jury ends up picking which lawyer they believe. It’s really whose performance they liked better. Attorneys have to build a good rapport with the jury. You’re actually up there giving promos. Your opening statement is a promo. Your closing statement is a huge promo, and when you’re cross-examining someone, it’s a promo on the fly.
Tell us then, what do television shows get wrong about lawyers, and trials in general?
When a person confesses and gets broken down in court. That never happens like it does on “Perry Mason.” Often cases are settled on a plea bargain. That’s still a win. If you know your client is guilty, then that’s a losing case. If you can get a reduced sentence or a plea bargain, however, then that’s a win for you. That’s what it’s really all about. People ask me why I like being a defense attorney so much. Well, it’s because often someone will be charged with something minor but they’re facing potentially huge penalties. I believe the punishment should fit the crime, and it’s my job to make sure that they receive the appropriate sentence.
What kind of argument would you make regarding the in-ring accomplishments of your fellow NXT and Nexus brethren?
I think everybody has been doing great. We pretty much are the new top guys of WWE. We’re all here now. Ryback just contested a championship match, and he’s got another one coming up. Daniel Bryan has been a champion before and Wade Barrett is well on his way. Heath Slater has his own crew now. I just filmed my first movie with Halle Berry. I think it all turned out better than we planned.
Does “Superstar Court” still happen in the locker room? We’ve heard tales of justice being meted out to offending talent.
It hasn’t happened in a long time, and it certainly hasn’t happened since I’ve been on the roster. I’m kind of disappointed, actually. I wanted to see it or be part of it. Maybe I could be the judge. I think people understand the rules better these days. The veterans now are young guys.
To read more from this exclusive interview, including David’s gym routine, the key to winning an argument and whether politics are in his future, pick up the February issue of WWE Magazine today or SUBSCRIBE HERE and save 70 percent off the newsstand sales price.