Jimmy Van: Enzo Is Money, Just Not In The Ring

There are few performers on WWE television these days that I consider to be “must watch” but there are some, including Brock Lesnar (of course), Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. One guy who has really grown on me of late and who I think has a lot of potential is the “realest guy in the room”, Enzo Amore.

I’ve talked about this before but I think that one of the mistakes that WWE has made over the last 10 years is that they started scripting promos and making guys memorize and recite them word for word rather than provide bullet points and allow the talent to cut their own promos and address those points in their own way. Because of this decision, most of the new crop of WWE talent is just incapable of cutting a good promo unless they had years of seasoning elsewhere prior to entering the big leagues (as Owens and Rollins both did). I can’t emphasize enough how valuable of a skill good talking/promo work is in pro wrestling and most of the major stars of the last 30 years got over in no small part because of that skill. But it’s become a lost art because of the WWE “Hollywood” mentality.

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I really like what Triple H is doing with NXT. I feel that in some ways, he’s going “old school” with that promotion and emphasizing skills and qualities that they don’t necessarily emphasize on the main roster. And Enzo Amore is one performer who has really benefited from his time in NXT and so far, has been allowed to carry his skills over to WWE.

When I was a kid, I used to gauge whether a wrestler had become “mainstream” based on whether my mother – who was a European lady who didn’t know a thing about wrestling and didn’t care – knew who he was. She knew Hulk Hogan, she knew Macho Man, and so I knew that those guys had made it. These days, I gauge whether or not a new performer has star potential based on whether my wife is interested in watching him since she also doesn’t care about wrestling. Brock Lesnar fits the bill, as she always wants to watch his matches and UFC fights. But another guy who has slipped onto her radar is Enzo Amore for his promo work. A few weeks ago on Raw when he said, "Never make eye contact while eating a banana," she laughed out loud and since then if WWE is on television she’ll usually play with her phone or with her iPad but if Enzo grabs the mic, she pays attention.

Enzo can make even brutally written dialogue entertaining. He also is very good at reading and playing off the crowd, something most of the roster sucks at - which is why whenever the crowd starts a “What?” chant, most of the talent just carries on with their promo as is because they don’t know what else to do. I’ve seen Enzo pause mid-sentence when a line that he’d delivered got over, and do his little dance or whatever else to rile the fans up even more. He has his finger on the pulse of the audience and if you could put his personality and mic work into the body of his tag team partner Big Cass, you’d have yourself a sure fire headliner at Wrestlemania next year.

As great as Enzo is on the mic, he unfortunately has his shortcomings (no pun intended) in terms of his size and his in-ring abilities. Now granted size is a disadvantage that can be overcome as has been proven in the past with Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio among others. But Enzo doesn’t have the workrate or the psychology of a Bryan or Jericho (both of whom are bigger than he is anyway) and Mysterio was in a class by himself inside the ring. They could put Enzo in the new cruiserweight division and he’d get over with his promo work but I think he’d struggle to keep up with some of the athletes in that division once the bell rang. And unfortunately given Vince McMahon’s perception of what a WWE Superstar should look like, I imagine that Enzo’s partner Big Cass is the member of that team destined for singles superstardom in McMahon’s eyes.

So how can Enzo fulfill what I perceive to be big potential, especially after the inevitable split from Big Cass? Easy answer – bring back the concept of the manager. Paul Heyman has been doing it (calling himself “an advocate”) for CM Punk and Brock Lesnar for several years and has been very successful in that role. Enzo Amore I think would be equally successful. He could have his own stable of talent both men and women that he can be the mouthpiece for, and you can occasionally put him in the ring to bring something extra to a program similar to what Lou Albano, Bobby Heenan and Mr. Fuji did in the 80’s. He could be a new age “Bobby the Brain” and I can envision him cornering Big Cass for a WWE Title match on PPV inside twelve months.

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