The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
May 4, 2023

Omos: The Man Behind WWE's Nigerian Giant, His Goal To Be WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar Match

Omos: The Man Behind WWE's Nigerian Giant, His Goal To Be WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar Match

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Omos (@thegiantomos) is a WWE Superstar and former college basketball player. He is also the tallest wrestler on WWE's active roster at 7'3". He joins Chris Van Vliet to talk about how he got discovered by WWE, the original WWE tryout that he was supposed to have in 2014 and why it didn't come to fruition, his match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 39, making Brock Lesnar look small in the ring, what he learned from working so closely with AJ Styles, the difficulties of flying on a plane at his height, his match against Seth Rollins at Backlash, his goal to become WWE Champion and much more!


Omos, so good to see you. Life must be pretty good for Omos. You’re coming off of this match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. And now you got Seth Rollins come on up at Backlash.

“Life is wonderful man. I remember when I talked to my business partner MVP, and we had a couple of ideas of what we wanted to do. He said, like the universe heard what we were planning for and is giving us those gifts in highest stake matches. And now we are truly grateful.”

This is what I think is so interesting about you. And I'm a big believer that things in life happen for a reason at the time that they're supposed to happen. You were supposed to have a WWE try-out in 2014 and because of you know, various different circumstances that didn't happen, do you think about what life would look like had that happen at that time?

“I do. But I don't think I was mentally ready for it. I always think back to, you know, back then and you know, when I didn’t come for the try-out, everything I was actually able to do in that 4 year time span. And I think I get to go through that growth and truly try and give my best to basketball and for it to come to a full stop before I jump into wrestling. Because I don't think if I just came up at that time, I think I'll have some oh, what if I do this in basketball if I did this. But I actually exhausted all options to a point where it does really nothing else for me to do and I had to pivot in my life you know and so happens to be that you know, wrestling was presented presented to me and I fell in love with it on the first try-out whenever I got into the ring and it was you know love at first sight. Truly love at first sight.”

What was your first introduction to the WWE and to pro wrestling? Like is it something that's popular in Nigeria?

“To be honest, I didn't think it was until I went back home last year and I truly just understand the magnitude of fans we have. Not just in Nigeria but there's all over Africa as a whole and how people keep individuals watching you know, going back home actually for the first time in 14 years and just having regular day workers seeing me on the streets saying Omos! Omos! And I'm kind of shocked because I wasn't expecting that type of reception. But, like it went down to meeting, you know, the current vice president of Nigeria and like his kids are watching the pay-per-view, you know right after we did Saudi last year Braun and I. You know go back going back home and the President's like we saw you what are you doing here? I’m like I came to visit my family. He knows WWE, he goes we just saw you a couple days ago in Saudi Arabia I'm just like wow, like this is like I did not know it is extremely popular back home. They have this [show], it’s called Jumbo on the cable network. They get 24/7 programming for WWE, they can watch WWE 24/7 everyday.”

I think that people think Omos is your real name. What's the story behind the name of Omos?

“So the fun fact is that Omos is part of my last name. Right? So my last name is Omogbehin, which is very difficult to understand. When I was a kid, I didn't know what caught up, you know, whatever, my dad said that he wanted to change it to Omos. So for a while for like, 12 years of my life in Nigeria my last name was Omos. And then about three years before, when I said play basketball before I came to America, I made a decision. You know what, I want to change back to Omogbehin. And you know, as it goes, you know, as it goes we all change our names back. So Omos is my last name, I just don’t go by it.”

I don't think that people realise how big you are until they see you live at a WWE event. I'm curious. At what age did you become six feet tall?

“I think it was at 11 years old.”

That is not fair. By the way!

I'm sorry, man, you know, I don't make the rules. I just follow them. So whatever people give to me I just stick and ran with it. But I will say also about 11.

Okay. And then like, at what point are you seven feet tall?

“So 11 years old. I was about six feet. And then I think my time was 13 I went through a 7 inch growth spurt. So my time was 13 I was starting to play basketball. Then by 15 I was 6 foot 11, 7 foot.”

Now is the same thing that you had, is that the same thing that Andre had growth on you pituitary gland?

“So yes, similar but different. Mine is different because those guys just had acromegaly, which is a tumour on the pituitary gland. I had that, but also have gigantism, and also something else called Partial Cushing's Disease. And from on they said it was the first case they’ve ever seen that had those three diseases together, because it was all diseases that that make you large. And I kind of have all the, you know, like a, like a risk spot, you know. I had all the fixings and it was already funded. I had all this study by this medical journal about my condition to help other divisions of kids that have a similar case like I do, you know. I had an opportunity, you know, for residents to talk to me about my experience. You know, what it's like to have all three diseases because it's rare to find someone that has all 3 like I do.”

But this isn't just like something that makes you tall, like, this is something that if not treated, I mean, you could die, right?

“Yes, absolutely. So for me, it’s just like I have to monitor my problem. It's called an IGF1, which is a growth hormone. And I'm pretty much on medication every day to help stop my body from using the hormone. If not, if I don't do that, I keep on growing, which I don't want to do anymore. I’m satisfied, you know.”

Do you have to duck to walk into every room now?

Pretty much. Every room, it has become [a habit]. Even when the doors are about like 10 foot tall, it’s just a natural reaction where I have to do it just in case. You know, I don't want to like No, I'm fine. And I go and I hit my head and this has happened a couple of times, but I always try to make sure I duck, it just has become a natural instinct now.”

Okay, how about sitting on an aeroplane? What does that look like?

“There's a video that I think MVP posted last year of what it was like, getting out of my seat, going to the bathroom, visit the bathroom, then coming back and it's like, being in a hut, for lack of better terms. You know, because you know, those planes are designed for a human being. So this is how to make the best. I always had a feeling oh, my life has been a thing of wrath to figure out okay, how do I manoeuvre into small and tight spaces that aren't necessarily designed for me?”

Who were some of the big men that you looked up to when you were a fan growing up?

“Oh, man, Undertaker, The Undertaker. Both watching him in the ring and as an individual, I have such great admiration for him. Kevin Nash, Razor Ramon, may he rest in peace, I actually miss him a lot. Because, you know, since I have been in this business I've had the privilege of having such great mentors who would call me and give me advice. Who else? Mark Henry, Big Show. You know those are guy's you know that I've watched a lot of Kane and just try to take a little bit out of how they work and implement it to how I work. I’ve seen him do the snake eyes and big boot, I don’t want to take his famous moves. I think the right guy can do that. But with his permission I was able to so you know, way to honor people who are trying to look up to.”

I think that people think Brock Lesnar is a big dude. And then you see you guys in the ring together at WrestleMania 39. You make him look so small, but what I think is a true testament to Brock's strength is he picks you up for that F5 Like you weigh nothing.

“That is what I was telling somebody the other day, I think the two strongest individuals I’ve ever been in the ring with are Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley. I have no idea how those guys are as amazing as they are. And this is gonna sound right coming from me, because I'm a physical specimen, but they are such physical specimens and phenomenal athletes.”

When you talk about phenomenal, I mean, I think it'd be remiss to not bring out AJ Styles. I'm really curious. What's something that you do in the ring now, that is something that you learned from working with AJ?

“Being vicious. That's the thing, that's what separates AJ from everybody else. AJ knows you are meant to be vicious, and you see it in his eyes when he truly wants to kill somebody. That’s what I learned from him as you know, when I was also under him, he mentored me, which he still does today because he's one of my closest friends. The look like you want to kill somebody, that is art. It's not about what you do, it's what's in here what you conveyed in your eyes. And that was something I learned from him and I still do today, looking like I want to kill this guy, I want to murder him.”

I feel like you're just getting started in WWE, like you really are. And you've already accomplished so much. So if we look ahead now five years 10 years plus, what are some of the long term goals you have for yourself in WWE?

“Oh, man, of course I want to be WWE Champion you know, that's the kind of top of the list you know, when I first started I had goals I wanted to accomplish and I think I've met some of those goals. And there's things that I wanted to do that, you know, wrestle at WrestleMania, and I have wrestled at WrestleMania three times. You know, one with it as with former WWE Champion with AJ Styles, going solo wrestling Bobby Lashley last year in Dallas, and then starting to show with one and only Brock Lesnar. So I think there's a lot of plans left and a lot of things I want to achieve. But I think the top of the list is becoming [champion] and holding that gold over my head. Here, look at me now. I'm the biggest, baddest son of a gun you have ever seen. Now we are here, you know. So that's the top of the list, you know?”

Give me some travel tips here. If I'm going to visit Nigeria for the very first time, what do I need to do?

“First things first, make sure you are vaccinated. That's the first thing to do first. I will say figure out a good amount of money you want to spend. So I never suggest this, [using] credit cards for anything. I always say bring cash, cash is king in Nigeria.”

Who's the most famous Nigerian that we might know?

“There’s a lot man. There’s UFC fighter Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman. Go to Hollywood, John Boyega, Damson Idris from Snowfall. So a lot of these guys doing a lot of a lot of great things, man. So it's, it's alive and everywhere, everywhere. It's fun, and I see basketball. Same thing. You know, it's truly an amazing time to see, you know, our country put on the world map and all these great people.”

What would you say is the best piece of advice that you've received, you know, right before you are going to get onto the stage that you've got on in WWE. What's the best piece of advice that you got that you now carry with you?

“Enjoy it. I think sometimes those moments are so huge that we forget to be the present and and enjoy it and soak it in. And I always try to make sure wherever I go out there, I take my time and I truly absorb it and I truly you know, enjoy it and be in the moment and be present because you know, we go to perform and as a performer. You get nervous, you get tense and you know you like get in your head. But sometimes that takes away from just enjoying and understanding I’m going to go out in front of 5000 people who are either going to scream or boo me, and they're going to have an amazing time. And they will go crazy like that is an accomplishment in itself. So always make sure to always be present and just enjoy the moment.”

Look so many of the things that you did, you were getting over when there weren't any fans in the arena. So what was it like when you did get in front of fans for the first time they knew who you were. And they knew where you were all about?

“A lot of nerves. I think the first time we had a pay-per-view in front of fans was at SummerSlam. No, no, no, it was Mania in Tampa. And it was such a good experience for me because before I wrestled I wanted to play basketball, wanted to go pro, obviously, that didn't happen. I had goals I wanted to accomplish, I went to college in Tampa, University of South Florida. I had goals I wanted to accomplish there, which I didn't get to do due to health reasons and other things right. After I graduated in 2014. And then to go back there a couple years later, and to do what we did, at a large stadium in Tampa, but everybody knew who I was. And the audience knew that, it was like a full circle moment for me to go back. But also an extremely emotional one, because a lot of what I went through happened in Tampa, the stuff with my surgeries, my brain, ACLs, everything, everything that kinda all the all the logic hurdles I kind of faced happened in Tampa. So to go back there and do what I did at WrestleMania that was forever was at the top of the list of you know, being there and truly experiencing the crowd and seeing them go crazy. Granted it was only, I think it was only about 25% capacity because of COVID. It was still like top of the list, because I still feel the energy. I remember, you know, we had introduction on the first day, they brought us out and they introduced us to the fans for the first time since the pandemic. And I just remember going out there that I could just feel the energy from the audience. And I got emotional, when I came back I saw Kevin Nash he just gives me a big hug. He told me to breathe and to relax. I was talking with [him] that there's no energy like the energy the WWE fans bring to a WWE arena. You know that there's nothing like it. I don't care where you’ve played baseball, basketball, UFC, there's nothing like it. Once you get into the experience, you feel the energy it's just how truly different and passionate these fans are. And I remember and I felt that for the first time.”

I end every conversation, talking about gratitude. Because it's such an important part of my life. I always wake up I say out loud three things that I'm grateful for. And I do it before I go to sleep. What are three things in your life that you're grateful for right now?

“I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful to be able to do what I'm doing, and I’m grateful for my loved ones.”