WWE Superstar Enzo Amore might not be the biggest guy on the roster, but he may just have the biggest mouth.
The New Jersey-born, self-proclaimed “Smacktalker Skywalker” and “Muscles Marinara” is one half of a tag team with 7-foot-tall Queens native Big Cass, who burst onto the WWE scene in April, and now they have a big match against Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens at “SummerSlam” this Sunday at the Barclays Center.
Amore, wide-eyed and sporting a wild hair style, lays down verbal beatings in the ring like only a New York City-area native can.
“When I come out there and say, ‘I’m a certified G and a bona-fide stud and you can’t teach that,’ it’s because what I do is as natural as grass growing out of the ground,” Amore says. “I have just been blessed with the gift to memorize and write one liners, zingers. Where do you go with that stuff? What job do you do with that stuff?”
Growing up, he says he was a terror to have in the classroom because of his mouth.
“As a kid, I could not be in a classroom setting,” he says. “A teacher wasn’t going to be able to teach anybody anything if I was in there because I was just a natural-born, live-for-the-reaction type guy. And I found a place that, believe it or not, pays me well to do this. It’s just a dream come true, man.”
amNewYork spoke with Amore about “SummerSlam.”
How are you getting prepared for “SummerSlam”?
Preparation? Watching TV, sitting on my couch, drinking diet soda, eatin’ pizza, shootin’ texts out, takin’ pictures for the ’gram, hangin’ in different cities every weekend — the rock-star lifestyle. No, I’m playin’ bro. “SummerSlam” is one of the career highlights for me, if not one of my lifetime achievements. Get to go home, me and Big Cass. It’s just an honor to compete in New York, New Jersey, the tri-state area, where we’re from. I have so much roots there, so much family. My 86-year-old grandma will be there, my parents, my mother and my father, it’s just one of the most humbling experiences you can ever imagine. For a kid who grew up going to [Madison Square] Garden and going to Izod Center, and just watching some of the greats and some of the greatest matches in the history of the business which took place right up there in New York. That’s what we strive for right now as competitors on “Monday Night Raw.”
You guys came up to “Raw” on April 4 and were immediately popular. Did you ever expect such a reaction?
I think what people sometimes don’t realize is how popular NXT is, and how popular the WWE Network is — how much we owe our success on the WWE main roster to that product and to that brand and to Triple H, who made that happen. It just offered an opportunity that the business had never seen before where people knew who we were before we were ever on cable television. That’s unheard of, you know what I’m saying? The fans who were there that day that Big Cass and I debuted on “Raw,” the night after “WrestleMania,” they were NXT fans, man. So it was organic, it was real and it was humbling.
You say that you can’t teach being a certified G or a bona-fide stud. What would you like to teach your opponent Chris Jericho?
I’d like to teach him how to dress, that’s for sure. One minute you’re wearing a light-up jacket, the next minute you’re wearing a scarf. That’s basically two minutes of my life that you’ve wasted. I got plenty of time; I got no time for that. I don’t need to teach him anything. I’m not a teacher. Do as I say, not as I do.
What makes you and Big Cass such a good team?
The fact that we don’t need to call ourselves a team. We’re just homies. We strike a chord with one another. It’s an organic chemistry. We want to rip each other’s hair out sometimes, but he knows that I got his back and vice versa. And that’s always the way it’s been since I met the guy, since we started collaborating on in-ring efforts in NXT, because I would say we’ve been a team long before we ever had a match together.
How long have you known him?
I had a run-in with him growing up playing basketball in New York. I was re-introduced to him in Florida when I had my tryout for NXT.
As a fan, is there a match you’re excited to see at “SummerSlam”?
Oh, for sure man. Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor. Finn Bálor is one of the hardest-working human beings I’ve ever met in the business that I’m currently in. For the fans that are unfamiliar with him, I’m sure they will get familiar with him rather quickly. Nonetheless, this guy has spent 17 years of his life in this business, wrestling and getting in rings all around the globe, all around the country, literally sleeping in the back of pickup trucks, making his way city to city, learning how to do what it is he does right now. And for him to come out on “Monday Night Raw” and beat the odds as a smaller competitor, that’s just somebody I would have looked up to when I was a kid. That’s like the Shawn Michaels of the world that I idolized growing up. For me, I learned a lot from him down in NXT. I love watching his success and his in-ring ability and I look forward to seeing him on one of the grandest stages at SummerSlam this year in Brooklyn.
Where do you go for pizza when you’re in New York City?
Well, not necessarily pizza, but I love my Italian at Vincent’s in Little Italy. I love going there. Excuse me, I just burped. I was thinking about Vincent’s, bro. You know what I’m saying? I brought up their marinara, their mussels marinara. … For [my dad’s] birthday, I brought him to Vincent’s. Sat down for a meal with my little brother and I just nudged him tickets to Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. So I’m a true New Yorker, true New Jersey guy. I love it and I can’t wait to compete there.
Jon Stewart returns
Mick Foley, the general manager of “Monday Night Raw,” announced on Aug. 15 that former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will be returning to “SummerSlam” on Aug. 21. Last year, the comedian was the host of the event at Barclays Center and hit WWE Superstar John Cena with a chair.
There’s a lot of WWE entertainment going on this weekend beyond just the main event of “SummerSlam.” For ticket information to all events, go to barclayscenter.com.
Superstar Meet & Greet
Aug. 19, 1-3:30 p.m.; Aug. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Come get an autograph and a picture with your favorite wrestlers, including Enzo and Cass, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
“NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II”
Aug. 20, 7:30 p.m.
See the next generation of superstars, indie legends and more at this NXT event. Matches include Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka vs. Bayley, pictured, and more. (Streaming on the WWE Network)
Aug. 21, 6 p.m.
Lots of title belts will be on the line, including the new WWE Universal Championship (Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor), the WWE World Championship (Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler), the U.S. Championship Match (Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte) and more. (Streaming on WWE Network and available on pay-per-view)
”Monday Night Raw”
Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.
See the aftermath of “SummerSlam” and a monster six-man tag match with John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. (Airing on USA at 9 p.m.)