Born: April 7, 1980
Birthplace: Elgin, IL
Zodiac Sign: Aries
David Daniel Otunga Sr. (born April 7, 1980) is an American actor, lawyer, and professional wrestler currently signed with WWE as a color commentator. He is a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, having one reign each with John Cena and Michael McGillicutty. He was the runner-up on the first season of NXT. He is also an original member of The Nexus and The New Nexus, being the only member present through the entire duration of the stable in every incarnation.
Otunga was born in Elgin, Illinois, to father Moses, a Kenyan, and a European American mother, Billie, both of whom are educators. He is the youngest of three children. Otunga graduated from Larkin High School . Otunga earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. Following his graduation, he moved to New York City, where he became a laboratory manager in Columbia University's Cognitive Neuroscience Center. He later graduated from Harvard Law School in 2006, passing Illinois' bar exam. Following his graduation, he joined Sidley Austin, one of America's largest law firms. According to Otunga's LinkedIn profile, he worked with Sidley Austin from May 2005 to October 2007.
In 2007, after his niece submitted his audition tape, Otunga was chosen to be a contestant on I Love New York 2 and given the nickname "Punk". He became one of the final three contestants in the competition, before being eliminated on the series' penultimate episode. Otunga has since starred in the 2013 thriller film The Call. Otunga made a guest appearance as himself in the 13,110th episode (Season 52, Episode 84) of General Hospital.
Professional wrestling career
In November 2008, Otunga signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) 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 Camacho.
On February 16, 2010, after numerous dark matches on both Raw and SmackDown, it was announced that Otunga would wrestle on the first season of 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, resulting in Otunga turning heel. 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 (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 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 episode 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 episode 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 with the help interference from fellow New Nexus members Mason Ryan and Punk. They made their only successful title defense against The Usos on the July 29 episode of SmackDown. After CM Punk left the New Nexus when his WWE contract expired on July 17, Otunga and McGillicutty competed against Santino Marella and Zack Ryder on the August 1 episode of Raw without any Nexus gear or armbands, and with all Nexus logos removed from their TitanTron, effectively signaling the end of the New Nexus. On the August 22 episode of Raw, Otunga and McGillicutty lost the Tag Team Championship to Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne).
Pre-show host and commentator (2015–present)
Otunga returned to television on February 2, 2015, doing the Raw Pre-Show. Following this, he offered his legal services to his former tag team partner Curtis Axel regarding his Royal Rumble 2015 controversy. Now rarely an in-ring performer, Otunga replaced Alex Riley as one of the hosts of the weekly Raw pre-show on the WWE Network.
In June 2016, Otunga left his position on the Raw pre-show panel, where he joined the commentary team alongside Tom Phillips for both Superstars and Main Event. On the June 23 episode of SmackDown, Otunga temporarily replaced Jerry Lawler on the commentary team, after Lawler was suspended by WWE. On July 19, following the 2016 WWE draft, Otunga was announced to join the SmackDown commentary team on a full-time basis, alongside Mauro Ranallo and John "Bradshaw" Layfield where he served as the babyface color commentator in contrast to JBL's heel color commentary.
On April 11, 2017, it was reported that Otunga was traded to the Raw brand for Byron Saxton as part of the 2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up. However, due to his acting career, he was replaced by Booker T on Raw for six weeks. Upon Otunga's return, Booker remained Raw color commentator while Otunga became a pre-show panelist. He has occasionally appeared on commentary since.
Seven months after meeting singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, Otunga proposed marriage on Hudson's 27th birthday in 2008. On August 10, 2009, Hudson gave birth to the couple's first child, their son David Daniel Otunga Jr. By November 2017, Otunga and Hudson had split after being in the process of separation for several months.