By Bayani Domingo, Associate Editor
Whether you realized it or not, currently Enzo Amore is the best Heel in American wrestling. That’s right, a failed tag team wrestler turned Cruiserweight has taken up the mantle of Alpha Heel. And this coming from a big Eli Drake backer. He did so by doing something that has been successful time and time again, he’s being himself. Because you can teach someone to speak in public, you can teach someone to wrestle, and you can even teach someone to ad lib. But, being a genuine douche bag? Either you’ve got it, or you don’t.
What is so amazing about his ascension to the top of Mount A-Hole is that he’s a regular sized man, with a monster-sized mouth, in the least popular division in all of the WWE. He’s not a “Beast”, he’s not “The Prototype”, and he’s certainly not “Phenomenal”, nor is he a “Maharaja”, modern day nor other. He’s working the least popular and pushed division in all of the WWE, even below the women’s division, and definitely below NXT. 205 Live and the cruiserweights have probably gotten more face time and a stronger reaction than they have since the CWC started. While Neville was a tremendous heel, he did so by basically being cocky and just simply squashing his opponents. Enzo had added a twist to that, by doing the exact opposite in the ring. I like the added layer of Neville not doing a complete Face Turn either, because he did a great job as Heel, keeping him as the 2nd strong Heel in the division, but away from the title is a great decision by creative.
There are different kinds of heels in wrestling, but my favorite ones were the “Well-meaning heel”. It’s a heel that doesn’t think he’s a heel because his actions are completely justified. Either he believes he’s being misunderstood, his actions are a means to a justified end, or he’s actually acting on someone or everyone’s behalf, whether they realize it or not. A watered-down version of this is Drew Gulak’s gimmick, where he thinks he’s improving 205 Live. LAX was doing a different version of this in GFW by trying to enact their own “Social Justice” by attempting to hold all the belts. Again, a group that is doing what must be done for the greater good.
If you look at other heels like Pentagon Dark in LU, he’s basically an anarchist, wanting glory for himself, but no real deeper reason. Matanza and Braun Strowman are “Monsters” who are hell bent on eliminating the competition and basically destroying everything in their path, but there is no real depth there. Johnny Mundo, Eli Drake, EC3, and Cody Rhodes are egotists who simply want to prove they are better than everyone else and don’t have any real motivations outside of using their power, status, and popularity to profit personally. What makes them more compelling than a Braun of Matanza is that you can see glimpses of people you might know or have encountered in them. Perhaps the bully at school, a self-entitled a-hole at your job, the meathead at the gym who never wipes down the equipment and constantly spends his time preening in front of the mirror while wearing that weird cut off shirt where his nipples aren’t even covered by his makeshift tank top. It’s easy to recognize and have an emotional response to a heel you might encounter in real life.
You can hate the douchebag that always takes up two spaces with his Tesla at your job, but you can’t really hate a hurricane. When you’re a kid you might’ve been afraid of Freddy Krueger or Jason, but as you grew up you realize those monsters don’t exist, how you worry about serial killers and terrorists because they are real life threats. Something you have some attachment to in your own reality. That’s why an Enzo, or Drake, or the Iconic Ones, piss you off in a way that your “Unstoppable Monsters” can’t. it’s why Carmella or Alexis Bliss are more successful heels than Nia Jax, because they SHOULD be beatable, you just can’t seem to do it.
I’d submit that Enzo is doing a fine job of doing exactly that, he is giving you a true reason to hate him and he’s eliciting a real emotional response. This isn’t like Jinder Mahal who for all intents and purposes has a similar background of being a jobber without any true credentials to be a champion. Because Enzo could easily be someone who could put in the way to beat opponents his own size, he just refuses to do so. Jinder clearly hit the gym harder than Sam Zayn hit his ceiling. Enzo is cheating to win and has no illusions about the reasoning, he believes that he HAS to cheat to win and he HAS to win in order to keep himself relevant and a “Superstar”. While he’s wrapping up the rationale in the guise of elevating the show and the division, it’s obvious he’s already pointed out that he’s selling he merch and he’s bringing much needed personality to 205 Live.
Enzo has been a Face for so long that he’s simply doing what he was doing before, but now suddenly he’s a heel because while he’s still winning, he’s doing so by any means necessary. There is a fine line between an anti-hero we cheer and a straight up villain, just like there is a fine line between “scrappy, but confident” and “arrogant prick”. Enzo has found a way to turn a slight tweak in his character into a full on heel transition. If you’ve noticed over the past 2 weeks he’s getting less and less applause and cheers, over the next week or two you’ll probably see the crowd really turn on him. But I hope they string this out as long as possible. Because this kind of a masterful heel turn deserves a slow burn. But more importantly, whoever finally vanquishes Enzo is going to get the “pop” of a lifetime. Enzo is showing that the best kind of Heel is the kind of guy you root to lose, but somehow manages to win at every turn and avoid his comeuppance. The kind of guy you that makes you relate to the Face in the feud, making it even sweeter when that comeuppance finally….comes up.
- Jebus! That Killshot vs Dante Fox match on LU was crazy. The only way those two poor Black men could have been more heavily brutalized is if they were caught selling loose cigarettes on a street corner.
- Does no one else think that “Ohio Versus Everything” sound like either a radical right-wing Militia, or the name of the worst abstinence campaign a state has ever had. “Is…Ohio also against Heavy Petting? Foot play? Okay, but what if she keeps her socks on?”
- Bullet Club “invaded” RAW this week. Which apparently irked Vince McMahon. But what was he expecting? There were more BC shirts in RAW than Cena/Reigns shirts combined. Well, I mean, I can’t be sure how many Cena shirts there were in the crowd actually since….You Can’t See Them.
- Looks like after he got his front teeth knocked out at the PPV Cesaro is going to need to get some implants. After which it means he will finally be called up from NXT to the women’s division on RAW.
- Now that his brother is on the shelf after surgery it looks like Matt Hardy may have found a new tag partner. I must say, I’ve been waiting for Matt to finally become “Broken” again, but at least we’re seeing some hints of it. I mean, this is clearly the darkest Angle he’s worked with since his return.
- Looks like it’s the Rock n Roll Express vs The Club at Starrcade!! You know how The Club would usually defeat a pair of ~60-year-old men? By just not opening till after 8 pm.
- In CMLL news Princesa Sugehit, participant in the Mae Young Classic, lost in a mask vs mask match vs Zeuxis. I’m not familiar with Zeuxis, but she sounds like a generic Mexican pill that may cause erections lasting longer than 4 hours…if so, please call your Dr. Wagner.
- I’m kinda getting bored of Dolph Ziegler’s new gimmick. If this doesn’t go somewhere soon I’m kinda hoping the next gimmick he steals is the Blue Blazer’s.
After another disappointing loss the Hype Bros’ frustrations boiled over and they decided to do something “drastic”…like losing. Again. Man, I haven’t seen “Hype” this disappointing since Taco Bell announced the new “Naked Breakfast Taco” would now be served with a poached egg as the “shell”.
- I feel like Lars Sullivan looks like if Orney Lorcan had taken the “Super Soldier Serum” from the Captain America movie….but it was administered by the Red Skull. Seriously, he looks like the physical manifestation of emotions of people who filmed themselves burning their NFL jerseys this week.
- I feel like Liv Morgan’s gimmick is that she’s Carmella, but if her dad loved her and stuck around.
- Paige has been seen at the WWE Performance Center down in Florida this week. Hopefully her return will be properly hyped to enthusiastic support. I’d hate to see her show up back on RAW or SDL with egg all over her face…well, at least egg whites.
- It’s been rumored that the WWE sent a “Cease and Desist” order to the Youngbucks for using the “Too Sweet” hand gesture. They subsequently sent another to Little Bunny Foo Foo.