Kevin Owens was not comfortable with the word "handler" and it was soon changed.
"The 24 Year Old Piece Of Gold" Lio Rush has been Bobby Lashley's hype man dating back to the Fall of 2018. Lio has guided Bobby to a number of victories and an Intercontinental Championship win. WWE commentators have always referred to Lio Rush as Bobby Lashley's "hype man" but it was WWE Chairman Vince McMahon who originally wanted Rush to be referred to as the "handler" of Bobby Lashley.
Former WWE writer Kazeem Famuyide joined the 'Wrassle Rap' podcast and spoke about his time as a member of WWE and recounted some of the experiences he had working for the sports-entertainment company. He went in-depth about working with Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley and said that Vince McMahon wanted the word "handler" to be used when describing Lio Rush's association with Lashley. Famuyide shared that former Universal Champion Kevin Owens was not comfortable with saying the word "handler" because of the racial undertones that could've came with that so Famuyide went to Vince McMahon and proposed the idea of calling Lio a "hype man".
“When we were gonna introduce Lio Rush as his manager, he didn’t want to use the word manager. He [Vince McMahon] thought it was passe, and he wanted to use the word handler, for Lashley, and Lashley doesn't really talk that much so, I was with Kevin Owens working on it and Kevin Owens didn’t feel comfortable calling Lio, Lashley’s handler because he thought there were some uncomfortable racial connotations to that. Kev was like, ‘Dude, I just don’t feel comfortable saying that.’ I go, ‘Alright, we’ll go talk to Vince before we go out there.’ So, we go and sit in Gorilla with him, me and John and he’s like, ‘Well, what’s wrong with handler? Hollywood actors have handlers all the time.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, but it’s kind of different’ so he’s like, ‘Well what do we call him?’ I was like, ‘I think we should call him a hype man. I think a hype man works better because it is like, you look at fighters and all these people, a hype man is somebody who is singing the praises." Famuyide explained. '"Paul Heyman is in so many words, Brock Lesnar’s hype man but this is a younger-hipper version of calling him that’. He goes, ‘Well God dammit he’s the hype man then, and that’s how he got his nickname and that was literally like a couple minutes before he went out so I told [Michael] Cole, this is what we’re gonna call him. He’s gonna be the hype man.”
Last Sunday at Fastlane, Kevin Owens was not able to capture the WWE Championship for the first time and to read more about that match, click here.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit the 'Wrassle Rap' podcast with an H/T to Fightful for the transcription.