Who is Eric Arndt?
Eric Arndt is a native from New Jersey who was a College Footbal Division III standout who might have been the life of the party at Salisbury University during the off-season. After he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, his dream to play in the NFL was woken up by the realities of life which made him take odd jobs far from his college degree, jobs that included being a piano mover, ticket salesman, manager at Hooters, and an ordinary disc jockey.
Arndt did not sulk in the sad reality of life as he continued to stay in shape religiously working out at a training center run by Joe DeFranco in New Jersey. Things started to change for a then 26-year old Arndt when a WWE official who happened to be Triple H and his wife started hiring DeFranco as their personal trainer and would often train at DeFranco’s gym.
Arndt, with the help of DeFranco, put up a video package composed of Arndt’s personal bests in the gym including some High-Intensity Interval workouts as well as a sample promo with Arndt blasting all the cast members of Jersey Shore. DeFranco showed the compilation to Triple H which impressed him which is why he offered Arndt a WWE Tryout in 2012.
Birth of the Certified “G”
Arndt passed his WWE tryout and was given the ring name Eric Anthony which was later changed to what we now all know as Enzo Amore. The character he was given wasn’t far from his real life character of a typical Jersey Shore loudmouth.
His mouth got him in trouble with Mason Ryan at the start of his NXT Career up until he was paired up with a man named Colin Cassidy who we now all know as Big Cass. The partnership proved to work as the two compensated their lack of in-ring ability with good chemistry and camaraderie on the microphone.
Enzo and Cass never really had success in NXT’s tag team division, but they definitely were the most popular due to their ability to connect with the NXT Universe. Whether in a bingo hall for live events, at TV tapings at Full Sail University Studio, or even on the road for TakeOver, Enzo & Cass were always beloved by the fans. They even became more popular when Carmella entered the fold and served as their Valet/Muse.
They challenged for the titles twice, first when Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy held them but lost via interference of Alexa Bliss, and second when The Revival held it and both bids were unsuccessful. They began appearing sporadically since then as they were getting ready to go up the main roster.
He and Big Cass debuted on the main roster with a lot of hype due to the fact that they managed to own the veteran teams on the microphone and armed with new promos for every city they were in, they got over enough to tease a tag team title shot. A setback would follow as a botch in a match against The Vaudevillains would give Enzo a concussion and sideline him for quite some time.
The Downfall and Backstage Heat
Things went downhill for the promising duo as Enzo’s mouth started to get him into trouble all the time in backstage segments where either Big Cass had to either bail him out of or ended up getting assaulted as well. From then on, a rift between the two was being teased as Big Cass acted as the concerned friend by continuously reprimanding Enzo on the repercussions of opening his mouth too much but he wouldn’t listen.
An unknown assailant backstage would attack Enzo from behind every week for the past few months while Cass was said to be away. The Revival was at the scene for every attack but denied their involvement. Big Show was also accused but never proven and through the “investigative journalism” of RAW Announcer Corey Graves, the unknown assailant turned out to be Big Cass himself and to this day that is the storyline running for the once Certified “G” with Big Show now included in the feud as well.
Inside reports said that backstage heat between Enzo, the superstars, and officials are what led to the weak booking given WWE’s history of disciplining talent on live television. The dissolution with Big Cass during the height of their popularity as a team might have been the last straw.
Various issues from rubbing co-workers the wrong way with his talkative attitude and his showing-off nature isn’t the most healthy thing in a workplace but when you add to that berating the very industry you work in while bragging about how much money you make, that definitely is a recipe for self-destruction and it is understandable why the WWE had to take such measures with Enzo.
And you CAN teach that!
In-ring ability is one thing you can definitely teach and Enzo Amore, even as Eric Arndt, has not made an effort to put a focus on it. Being from a state such as New Jersey, there are a plethora of wrestling schools which he could have trained in, with one even close to his hometown of Hackensack.
Instead of a wrestling school, Enzo chose to train in Joe DeFranco’s gym where the focus of their programs are basically Strength and Conditioning. Though Triple H was known to work with DeFranco to get ready for his big matches, the purpose was only to keep his body physically ready and still had to do Wrestling training elsewhere afterward.
The WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, where Enzo was based during his run in NXT could have helped him leaps and bounds when it comes to in-ring ability given the veteran pro coaches, as well as the seasoned indie performers that are getting their WWE start down there as well. Based on what we have seen from his four-year stay down in developmental, and even up on the main roster, he has not shown any new technique in his arsenal other than his body being used as a weapon by Big Cass in matches.
The inability to develop his own move set and his lack of in-ring psychology would make it questionable to give him a good singles run despite his high proficiency on the microphone which leads us to…
Should Enzo Amore be just a mouthpiece?
There is no denying that Enzo can connect with any crowd in any city on any given night whenever the microphone is on his hands. Whether he builds his tag partner up or he puts an opponent on grill, he is able to not only elicit a positive reaction but also get the crowd involved.
With claims from colleagues and people Enzo bumped into in the past that he has a knack for telling stories bigger than how it really happened or worked, the WWE must utilize Enzo’s strength especially given his limitations inside the squared circle. Right now the WWE has Paul Heyman for Brock Lesnar, Paul Ellering for the Authors of Pain right now and the Road Warriors back then, and even The Undertaker had Paul Bearer.
Aside from all the Pauls mentioned, there are a plethora of mouthpieces similar to Enzo but there is one person who strikes an uncanny resemblance and that is “The Mouth of the South” himself Jimmy Hart.
Hart had his signature megaphone whenever he graced the ring with his presence and even through the modern day era, that megaphone is what immortalized him as one of the greatest mouthpieces in history. Enzo has his boom mic and he could also talk for days without pause which makes it more intriguing to relegate him to be a talker instead of an in-ring performer.
It only takes putting that mouth on the right superstar or team, and the promise of even bigger success is highly attainable. Let’s just hope he manages to cool down some of that backstage heat.
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