It’s been a little while since wrestling has made me feel something.
It’s not that the state of things is particularly bad, it’s just that I’d define most of WWE’s 2017 as “fine.” The matches are good, but for the most part I’m just not having an emotional reaction to storylines. I don’t mean that I need to be jumping out of my chair overwhelmed with passion – hey, Wrestlemania 30, how ya doin? – but I’m even kind of dead-eyed for obviously great matches and moments. Even though I love Styles and Rollins and Balor and Joe and Sami and even Roman, there hasn’t been anybody who’s simultaneously the right kind of sympathetic and in the right storyline.
Then Big Cass betrayed Enzo Amore.
I’ve loved Enzo & Cass for years now; they’re my second-fondest memory of the golden age of NXT, and being second only to Neville/Sami/Breeze/Kidd’s intertwining feuds is quite a feat. The point being that I was already all in on Enzo. And when the “mystery attacker” storyline started, it wasn’t exactly a mystery that it was going to be Cass.
But when people who’ve been watching since NXT buy into the team this much, it still tugs at the heartstrings a little. What I didn’t expect was just how on fire Enzo was going to be in the aftermath.
Enzo has been cutting the best promos of his career on RAW for the past few weeks, and his pre-match promo at Great Balls of Fire was no exception. Using Frank Sinatra as a through-line, Enzo blended his pop-culture-catchphrase style, a legend like he believes himself to be, his actual tattoos, and genuine emotion and betrayal into a perfect, passionate speech – the last rant of a man who knew, on some level, that he was going to lose.
Oh, and did he lose. The match was just barely a minute longer than the promo, and it was not competitive, to put it mildly. But the first confrontation between Enzo and Cass had to go this way. Maybe Enzo will change it up and build to beating Cass. Maybe he won’t. But to create sympathy, Enzo had to get destroyed at Great Balls of Fire.
As far as pure sympathy and genuine connection go, Enzo is suddenly my favorite face on RAW. I want him to win everything. I want him to be everywhere. I’ve never had this big a heart for someone who’s not actually that impressive in the ring (and if you ask a good chunk of the internet, “not actually that impressive” is being pretty charitable.)
Enzo puts the “scrappy” in “scrappy underdog.” And maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s what a lot of people need right now.
Written by Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
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