Happy Saturday TJR faithful and welcome to the long overdue, and triumphant return of A Matter Of Character! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so please forgive me if I’m a bit rusty. I know what you must be wondering: Matty, it’s been so long since you’ve done one of these, what’s inspired you to revisit the format? Two things; the fact that outside of The Shield vs. The Wyatts (which I’ve written about several times) not much that the WWE is presenting on TV has me inspired to write a column on it this week, and none other than the New Age Outlaws!
I’m a shameless New Age Outlaws fan, and if you’re not down with their recent victory lap as WWE Tag Team Champions of the World, I’ve got Three Words For Ya! I Love It! Don’t get me wrong, I know why people have a problem with them coming back and taking a victory lap, and if it was anyone but them, I’d likely be right there with you, but the fact is that I’ve always found the Outlaws and the idea behind their tag team super fun and compelling. They are the epitome of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Separately they are completely uninteresting performers with no real direction to move in and would have spent their careers treading water before being let go. Together they are one of the greatest tag teams of all time (almost certainly the greatest makeshift tag team of all time). The New Age Outlaws are proof that almost any talent in the WWE is salvageable if given the right character and story to tell, and that fact is a huge part of why I’m happy they’re back for a little while.
That being said, once they are gone, there will be a bit of a void to fill in the WWE’s Tag Team Division. With it being speculated that The Real Americans, The Brotherhood (Cody and Goldust), and The Shield are all headed towards splitsville, paired with the already broken up pairs of the Prime Time Players and Tons Of Funk, the once budding WWE Tag Team Division will need an infusion of contenders for Tag Team Gold. That’s where The Realest Guys In The Room, NXT’s own Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady come in. Not only to they help to fill out the tag team division in lieu of the tag teams I listed earlier, they are also best suited to fill the shoes of The New Age Outlaws.
This week’s edition of A Matter of Character will focus on the tag team of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, where I will point out the areas in which they excel, as well as constructively criticizing their weaknesses. I will make suggestions where I see fit and highlight why I think that these two are the most charismatic WWE Tag Team this side of The New Age Outlaws. Let’s Do This!
I like the physical makeup of this duo a lot. Individually I don’t think either of these guys’ had a very high ceiling as main roster performers, but pairing Enzo Amore, who at 5 ft 11 is barely scraping 6 ft tall, with the nearly 7 foot Colin Cassady is simply a perfect piece of casting. They completely contrast each other physically, and it is because of this that they match perfectly. Enzo needs a big bruiser to have his back because he’s a small guy, while Big Cass benefits from the energy, speed and agility that Enzo brings to the table. They make up for one another’s weaknesses as singles performers and make a formidable Tag Team. The aesthetic of these two superstars walking to the ring conveys visually, without having to utter a single word, what they bring to the table, why they compliment one another, and why they make a good team. Not every tag team has that, so the aesthetic of Enzo and Big Cass as a pair is a huge plus.
Now neither Enzo nor Big Cass is a master technician in the ring (and neither were the Outlaws). That said, what they lack in technical proficiency they more than make up for in energy and enthusiasm (much like the Outlaws). They aren’t Daniel Bryan or Kurt Angle, and they likely never will be, but they are perfectly capable workers, with the ability tell compelling stories during their bouts. In other words, they’re solid wrestlers and first class entertainers, which is more than enough to succeed in the WWE as a team.
If the question is do these guys have personality, this is the definitive answer to that question:
Remind you of anybody? And if that wasn’t enough:
And one more for good measure:
These guys have personality for days and if they were to maintain the exact same gimmick that they currently have on NXT when they debut on Raw and Smackdown, they’d easily be in the top 5 most entertaining acts in the WWE upon arrival. For a little while it seemed as though Big Cass was nothing more than the muscle to Enzo’s mouth, but Colin Cassady has since become a much more comfortable performer and found his voice. He now has nearly as much charisma presence as his gab-gifted cohort, which has been great to see develop during the course of their partnership. These guys have so much personality and charm that their heel run lasted about a month before the NXT live audience turned them into the most beloved babyfaces on NXT. If there’s anything about Enzo and Big Cass that’ll make them stars on the next level, it’s that fact that they most definitely have personality, and then some.
Words and Actions
As the videos in the previous section perfectly illustrate, Enzo and Big Cass like to talk. A lot. Like if talking sh** was an Olympic event, they’d win gold nearly every time a lot. Their big mouths are undeniably the funniest, and most appealing aspect of their characters from an entertainment perspective. They’ll talk trash to just about anybody, any place, and any time, which makes them either incredibly brave, or incredibly naïve. Regardless, these two pals have a great rapport with one another, are incredibly witty and often quite clever when speaking, and will win a trash talking battle 99.9% of the time if the goal is to denigrate the opponent while amusing paying public.
If toughness were measured solely by a refusal to back down, then Enzo and Big Cass are pound for pound the toughest guys in the WWE. They never back down from a challenge, have never seen a problem they didn’t want to be a part of, and are always looking to point out how “sawft” somebody else is. There is certainly no more confrontational pair in the WWE than Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. That’s the fun of the characters, because even though they aren’t physically the most formidable combatants in the WWE, they are supremely confidant and have no fear (unless you wanted them to portray cowardly heels, which they’ve proven they can do).
When it comes to motivation, the single most important trait any character has within a narrative (a trait that several WWE Main Roster characters lack right now), Zo and Big Cass’ motivation is refreshingly straightforward and simple. Aside from the obligatory desire to win matches and titles in the WWE, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady are just a couple of tough guys from the New York Metropolitan Tri-State Area, who are out to prove how tough they are to anybody who might think otherwise. They’re always ready to pick a fight, to trash talk with the best the WWE has to offer, and to paraphrase them, they’d rather die getting a victory than live with a loss, all part of their effort to prove that they are anything but “SAWFT”!
This over the top macho attitude, while simple, is a very effective motivation for these characters and doesn’t need to be adjusted in the least. It’s not unlike Sheamus’ motivation, except unlike Sheamus, these two don’t love to fight because of a morbid fascination with violence, but rather because if they didn’t get into fights, how else could they prove that they’re tough guys. It’s a motivation that will push these characters constantly into new narratives and will keep them fun pair to watch get into shenanigans.
As I said in the “Motivation” section of this column, these guys are confrontational by nature and that kind of attitude will often lead to conflict with other superstars. We’ll never need to wonder why or how these guys will get into feuds and rivalries, because it’s in their nature to prove they are the mist macho guys in any room, thus instant conflict with anybody in the WWE Locker Room.
As far as the internal conflict these guys will face, when you place so much importance on being a tough guy, it will be hard for them to digest losses, especially if they face several in a row. They are supremely confidant guys, but confidence is a fragile thing in competitors, and they will likely struggle at some point in time to prove that they aren’t “sawft”.
Presently Enzo Amore is recovering from a broken leg, but once it heals (which will presumably be sometime after the New Age Outlaws have ridden into the sunset again) I would strongly consider bringing this ultra entertaining duo up to the main roster. How would I do it? I wouldn’t over think it with these guys. It’s best to keep it simple with them, because it’s their personalities that will make or break these guys.
I’d target the May 5th Raw from Albany, New York as the night to debut them if healthy, or at least introduce the characters via vignette. Let them banter, display their rapport with one another, share their unique perspectives and anecdotes, and showcase their trash talking abilities as soon as humanly possible. I actually think the best first feud for them would be a lower card tag team feud with Rybaxel. You don’t need to attach a rocket to these guys upon arrival, just give them a microphone and get out of the way. These guys will eventually have the live crowd eating out of their hands. Let it happen organically and Zo and Big Cass could very well be this generation of wrestling fans’ New Age Outlaws.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you guys think. Is comparing these guys to The Outlaws fair? Are you as high on this charismatic duo as I am? What is their ceiling on the main roster as a team and individually (I think Big Cass has a better shot at being a somebody as a singles competitor, but his prospects are much higher as part of this team)? What would you call their team (The Realest Guys maybe?)? And finally how would you debut them? Would you go simple or would you want something more complex?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying Oscar Sunday is upon us, and I have one more of the Oscar nominated films to see by Sunday. It’s Nebraska, the movie named after the State that sneakily had a good year of exposure between this Academy Award Nominated film and Peyton Manning’s constant use of “Omaha” pre-snap. Have a great weekend everybody!