Enzo Amore recently sat down with Chris Van Vliet. To start the interview, Enzo gave some advice to young independent talent, never assume anybody knows who you are.
"I can't make assumptions," he began. "And the number one thing that I have to say here is, if you're a young pro wrestler that's in this world, don't assume that everybody knows you every time you walk into an arena. Don't assume you're over. Don't pretend that you're over. Go out there like it's the first time they're ever gonna see you. And, you know, I did that the same way Paul Heyman did, introduce yourself."
Also, in the interview, Enzo discussed how he got his break in WWE in the early days of NXT when he happened to impress none other than John Cena on one of the days that John was advertised for an NXT dark segment.
"Basically, the first time that we ever went out there on TV, I said, 'my name is Enzo Amore, I am a Certified G and a Bonafide Stud,'" he said. "But we had to do a segment that night after I debuted. John Cena just happened to be in the crowd that day. I was told I was going to be fired. So I was going out there to do, I guess, a job, you know, because I'm not a job or I have a contract with the WWE. I'm an employee. But, at the same time, I'm about to go out there, lose and get fired. So I'm like, damn, man, I'm gonna go tell all my friends back home like, you know, that one wrestling match you had got beat up spandex by big jacked up guy Mason Ryan. And it was just a bad look for me. And then when I came through the curtain, I thought I was. I thought it was all over. I was like, dude, that was terrible. They're gonna tell me I did bad.
"This little kid named Rob Naylor. He's not a little kid. He's a man. And he worked for the WWE production comes running up to me and is like, "dude, John Cena wants to meet you." I'm like, dude, I just debuted on TV for the first time and I'm like, thinking, I'm gonna get fired. And I'm doing terrible. And I'm like, what? So I go meet John Cena directly after our debut in NXT. And it was just by coincidence that he was there that day. The day I debuted, Dusty Rhodes gave me the microphone and put me out there, gave me my first opportunity. And then John Cena gave me my second opportunity that very night when in the dark segment, when the show was over, John Cena was meant to come out because we keep the crowd there. At that time, we couldn't keep NXT fans in the house. We needed John Cena to be in the dark segment so that people would stick around for four hours of tape. Right. Well, John Cena came up to me and he said, 'hey, listen, I've been here for four hours, at tapings, and you're the only thing that has caught my attention today. Good job.' And I walked away and I was like, what just happened? Wow."
Later that night, magic would occur once more while John Cena took part in a dark segment with Damien Sandow.
"So we got into the ring with Cena and he was with the "Intellectual Savior of the Masses" Damien Sandow who was supposed to be smart. And so that's why I said to him, I said, 'well, I'm a Certified G and Bonafide Stud and you can't teach that. And this guy is 7-foot-tall and you can't teach that and you think you're so smart. Well, I got a question for you. How many dimples are they on a golf ball. And he, like, looked and was like, what the fuck? And John Cena was like, what is going on? And I was like, there's exactly one-hundred and thirty-six dimples on a golf ball. And they're exactly zero dimples on my hind-end. And one the. Why? Because I'm hard body. And you know what you are? you're S-A-W-F-T, SAWFT!'"
Sure enough, the catchphrase stuck.
He continued, "John Cena and the crowd are like what the hell? So John Cena said out loud, what did you call him? And I went,' sawft.' And then John Cena went, 'sawft', and the whole crowd goes, 'sawft.' At the next TV tapings now, mind you, we've had about four weekends of live events, wrestling matches and then 60 in the state of Florida. And in every one of those matches for the next four weeks leading up to the next TV taping, I don't have any matches. I get booked in a security t-shirt, a yellow shirt that says 'security' and I'm taking the jackets from wrestlers who are wrestling. And they did that to fuck with me. You know what I mean? I didn't realize it at the time. But also, you know, that night that I got into the ring with John Cena.
"Everybody's coming up to be like, dude, you could be on Monday night, raw tomorrow. Like, bro, you can. So for the next four or five years at NXT, I kid you not, I was either told 'you're gonna be fired' or 'you could be called up to Raw tomorrow.'"
Enzo would be called up to Raw with Big Cass in April of 2016 on the Monday Night Raw following WrestleMania 32. They'd have a run as a tandem, including tagging with John Cena to battle The O.C. at Battleground 2016, before splitting up in 2017. After the split, Enzo would go onto win the Cruiserweight Championship on the main roster before being let go by WWE in January 2018.
If you use these quotes, please credit Chris Van Vliet and leave a link back to this article to credit Fightful for the transcription.