Enzo Amore, WWE's scrappiest underdog, appears to be making himself his toughest opponent.
By all accounts, Amore isn't liked backstage. A single rumor is one thing, but the reports and the glimpses behind the curtain keep coming. The Michael Jordan of Jargon's attitude is reportedly an issue among his peers.
But is he churning up enough heat to cost himself his career?
While Amore hasn't been buried yet, signs of what's happening outside of the ring starting to color how he's presented inside it are emerging.
Amore is only 2-8 since WrestleMania 33, per CageMatch.net. And his winning percentage went down from .538 last year to .238 this year so far.
With all the negative news swirling around him of late, that's looking like less and less of a coincidence.
Sports Illustrated columnist Justin Barrasso revealed a lot of what's going on with Amore. He wrote: "Amore is guilty of bringing a series of questionable guests into the locker room. The visitors broke locker room etiquette by filming and taking pictures of the wrestlers."
Amore also apparently had a stripper call him out on social media for his behavior. Barrasso wrote that this "left many of the Raw locker room disappointed in the way Amore is embarrassing himself and tarnishing their brand."
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Normandin of Cageside Seats), Amore wasn't allowed to dress with his fellow Superstars in the Raw locker room.
Former WWE talent Simon Gotch touched on Amore's attitude in a recent interview with RF Video (h/t William Windsor of Wrestling Inc). "He is 100 percent confident in himself to his detriment and the detriment of others around him," Gotch explained.
The backstage issues have even surfaced on WWE programming.
Announcers John Bradshaw Layfield, Corey Graves and Peter Rosenberg discussed an incident on Bring It to the Table recently where Amore was kicked off the bus. JBL talked about what the situation means for Muscles Marinara's career:
"We've had ring announcers, we've had commentators, talent thrown out in the past. Here's what's bad about it. Most of those guys, except for Miz, never made it. Once the locker room turned against these guys, for whatever reason, they're sprayed with human repellant. They never made it. So the odds are completely against Enzo."
JBL is dead right.
Amore is only 5'11" in a world of powerhouses and behemoths. His ring work is run-of-the-mill. He's going to have a tough time competing with world-class athletes like Roman Reigns, AJ Styles and Cesaro for airtime.
The last thing he needs is to give Vince McMahon and the WWE brass a reason not to back him.
Despite clearly being in the doghouse to some degree, Amore's not at rock-bottom to this point. Yes, Big Cass split from him and began to stomp him into the mat time and time again. Yes, Amore's win-loss record is worsening.
But he's still getting TV time and he's still part of a SummerSlam storyline between Big Cass and Big Show.
However, Amore is a prop of sorts in that August 20 pay-per-view bout as he'll be suspended in a shark cage during Big Cass vs. Big Show. That certainly feels like a rib, but the last two men WWE hung inside one of those things were future Hall of Famer Chris Jericho and legendary manager Paul Ellering.
Amore hasn't been ostracized to the point of being relegated to the little-watched Main Event each week. He's not disappeared from TV like Luke Harper has. He didn't amass a 100-match losing streak, a la Curt Hawkins.
The prospects for Smacktalker Skywalker, though, don't look great moving forward. More bad press and more bad impresssions will only push him down the food chain.
Backstage heat hasn't quite derailed his career, but it's an added obstacle and an unnecessary hurdle for a guy who already has an uphill climb ahead of him.
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