Tha Sports Junkies 101

Thoughts From The Chubby Guy: The Genius Behind Enzo Amore

Enzo Amore Ahmed Bloch, via Flickr


Thoughts From The Chubby Guy: The Genius Behind Enzo Amore

Hello again, dear readers, it is your favorite chubby guy, wrestling department editor, Gregory Black; here to bring yet another edition of the classic TSJ101 opinion piece, “Thoughts From The Chubby Guy”. TFTCG, for short. And, as the title suggests, I am about to speak on someone who… For the most part, is disliked by the WWE Universe. I’m talking about one Enzo Amore.

Now, I know, I know, completely out of left field. I get it. But, let’s take a look at Enzo’s life and career so far.

Now, New Jersey native Enzo Amore, born Eric Arndt, was a natural athlete and played football in high school. He was able to continue that on the college level; playing for NCAA Division III Salisbury University. He played both as a linebacker and safety.

But, football wasn’t his only focus in college, as he would earn his degree in journalism.

By chance, he was picked up by the WWE after Triple H was shown a tape of him working out, and cutting a promo. This happened after a friend of his who owned the gym where he, and Triple H both trained at, showed him the tape.

Given a tryout in 2012, he was then signed to the company. First wrestling under the name of “Eric Anthony”, eventually being given the name of Enzo Amore once he debuted as a wrestler for NXT.

Debuting as a heel, and being described as a “stereotypical cocky, Jersey Shore loudmouth”, and an “outsized version of the man playing the part”, he would lose his first match against Mason Ryan on May 22nd, 2013.

The Birth of the “SAWFT” Movement

He would eventually go on to form an alliance with Colin Cassady (Big Cass), who also suffered defeat at the hands of Ryan. They would call themselves “the realest guys in the room”. While most would think that this was the first time both Enzo and Cass linked up; however, prior to their reuniting on the NXT brand in August of 2013, they had first met in Manhattan, New York a decade earlier.

Meeting at the infamous basketball court “The Cage”, they would become lifelong friends. A decade later, tag team partners in the WWE. After the feud with Ryan, they would feud with the likes of Rusev, Sylvester Lefort, Scott Dawson (which would cause a face turn for the team), among others.

They would face and team with a who’s who in NXT, with the likes of Apollo Crews, Blake and Murphy (with Alexa Bliss), the Lucha Dragons, Baron Corbin, and Dash and Dawson.

All this would lead to them finally getting the call up that they had worked so hard to get…

The Raw Debut…

On the Raw following WrestleMania 32, Enzo Amore and Big Cass would make their main roster debut, setting up a feud with the legendary Dudley Boyz. This would all lead to a tournament to determine the Number 1 contenders for the WWE Tag Team Titles.

Defeating both The Ascension and The Dudley Boyz in the tournament, they would face The Vaudevillains in the finals, but the match ended in a no contest. They would get another opportunity at Money in the Bank, in a fatal-four way with the champs The New Day, The Vaudevillains and Gallows and Anderson.

The match was for the WWE World Tag Team Titles.

The New Day retained.

But, let’s fast forward a little, shall we?

Last year, Enzo and Cass had yet another great opportunity to achieve Tag Team gold, as they were to compete in a fatal-four way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 33.

Originally a three-way ladder match for the titles, it would be the former tag champs and hosts of Mania 33, The New Day, who would reveal that a fourth team would join the fray.

The returning Hardy Boyz would come back, winning the Raw Tag Team titles. Disappointed, their run on episodes of Raw would only lead to more disappointment; as on the Raw after Mania, they would lose a #1 contenders match to Sheamus and Cesaro.

They would then lose to “The Good Brothers”/The Club (Gallows and Anderson) on another episode of Raw. But then, things turned strange…

The Split…

That following May, Enzo was repeatedly attacked by an unknown assailant. Big Cass would accuse The Revival (Dash and Dawson) of attacking Enzo. On the June 5th episode of Raw, it was now Cass who was found unconscious in the backstage area.

Because of the attack, Cass said he couldn’t compete; which prompted Amore to team with The Big Show against Gallows and Anderson.

This would happen again the very next week, as Cass was found knocked out again. This time, he put the blame on Show; stating that it had to take a giant fist to have knocked him out.

With raised suspicions, General Manager Kurt Angle finally sought to put an end to the mystery. On the June 19th edition of Raw, Angle looked to expose the attacker. It would be Corey Graves who, with the help of security footage; would reveal that it was Big Cass who was the attacker.

Cass would then admit to the attacks, stating the reason was his frustration with Enzo. In teaming with him, he felt that Enzo’s mouth got them in too much trouble. He then attacked Enzo, splitting the team up.

But, Enzo didn’t want to give up on the team. He would make an impassioned plea to Cass on the following Raw. Cass seemed to be for reconciliation, however, it wasn’t the case. Cass would attack Enzo yet again, setting up a one on one contest at Great Balls of Fire.

A losing effort on Enzo’s part.

The feud continued into SummerSlam, where Cass would pick up a victory against Big Show; and attack Enzo again. That led to a Street Fight on Raw the next night, which led to Cass tearing his ACL. Essentially ending the feud.

Where the new/old Enzo was (re)born…

On the August 22nd episode of 205 Live, Enzo Amore would make his debut following the main event; in which saw Neville retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Akira Tozawa.

This began a feud which would eventually see Amore topple Neville for the title at No Mercy; a sign of the eventual heel turn for the superstar, as he would use a low blow to secure the victory. The following night on Raw, the heel turn was made complete; after Amore convinced Kurt Angle to close the show with a championship celebration.

Something that rubbed the rest of the Cruiserweight division the wrong way.

Claiming that since he won, he made not only the division but 205 Live relevant again; he waved around a signed clause, which made it so that no other cruiserweight could touch him.

That wasn’t helpful, as he was attacked after Raw went off the air.

He would then attack “The King of the Cruiserweights” the next night on 205 Live. Cementing him as a heel, and establishing Neville as a face.

The very next week on Raw, Enzo has another clause, stating that anyone in the division can get fired if they attack him. That didn’t matter much, as Kalisto would make his debut by attacking Enzo.

That led to a match for the title on the October 9th edition of Raw, where Kalisto unseated “Muscles Marinara” for the Cruiserweight title in a lumberjack match. But, Kalisto’s reign would be short-lived, as he would lose the belt to Amore at TLC.

Where the genius begins…

Now that we’ve gotten through the history of Amore, here is where the genius of Amore comes in. If you have been paying attention to reports of the attendance for Raw, SmackDown Live and 205 Live; you would know that for the most part, fans are not attending events like they used to.

In fact, and especially in the case of 205 Live, which tapes directly after SmackDown, fans would often leave in droves. Whether it is because of a general lack of interest in the product, uncompelling storylines, character development, or so forth; fans just wouldn’t really stay for the show.

But, once Enzo entered the picture, it actually gave 205 Live, and the cruiserweight division something it needed. A real… Heel. Sure, the division has the likes of Ariya Davari, Drew Gulak, Tony Niese, Noam Dar, Jack Gallagher, and The Brian Kendrick. But, if you look at how they perform in the ring, they pretty much perform the same.

Sure, they have subtle differences, but, overall, they perform almost alike.

Think about this, we’re talking about a division in where almost 90% of the roster works similarly, Enzo, on the other hand, doesn’t. His work rate is different from the others, as he not only wrestles differently but also gives more on the charismatic side, as well.

Factor in that his in-ring persona makes you either love him or hate him (no room for a middle ground here); you end up with something that has the makings of a major star.

His charisma is enough that he even had his own stable on 205 Live with some of the heels named above. Something that didn’t happen when Neville was the champion.

His attitude, charisma, and charm led some of the heels, who had previously attacked him, to follow him.

Need I say more?

In short…

I am not saying that Enzo Amore is the best on 205 Live, that is left up to the fans. But, he certainly makes the case for being the heart of the division. Well, him and Kalisto. As they are two opposite extremes in a division that is high intensity and hard hitting.

In the end, you the fans make or break whoever becomes a star in the WWE, but; believe me when I say that Enzo Amore may have been the best thing to happen to the cruiserweight division.

And with that, I take my leave. It’s been fun getting to state my case on a character such as Enzo Amore. But, know that this is just my opinion. Please, feel free to share your thoughts below in our comments section. Do you agree with my observation? Do you disagree? Please let me know below.

And until next time, this is Gregory Black, thanking you for taking your time in reading this article. And choosing TSJ as your choice for sports news and media. Have a great day, ladies and gentlemen.

Social Media:

Follow us on Twitter: @TSJ_Sports & @TSJ_WWE

Follow the Writer: @GregNecroBlack