Although it seemed like an odd decision to end this week's episode of Monday Night Raw with a cruiserweight segment, it was a move that worked, as it showcased what looks to be a double-turn involving new Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore and the man he underhandedly defeated at No Mercy, Neville. It appeared as if the entire Cruiserweight Division united against the arrogant, loudmouthed Amore, and both men had cut good promos on each other to cap off the evening. But for the fans watching live and in person, that wasn't all, as Braun Strowman ran in to hit a vicious running power slam on Amore, followed by virtually the entire "cast" of 205 Live taking turns and beating down on the hapless Smacktalker Skywalker. Was this another case of WWE's creative team taking things too far?
While the comments section on WWE's YouTube clip of the beatdown suggests that a lot of fans loved it and felt that Amore had it coming—in storyline and in real life—a closer look will reveal that some fans saw it as a glorification of bullying. Indeed, it almost looked as if WWE's Cruiserweight Division had turned into a new version of The Nexus, with Amore playing the John Cena role as the one guy attacked by the angry mob. Take note, however, that The Nexus were booked as heels upon their 2010 debut. The cruiserweights were supposed to be the good guys, with Amore being the newly-minted villain.
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Your opinion may vary when it comes to what you think about the whole post-show thing with Amore. But it brings a few things to light, the first of which we had touched on in the above paragraph – WWE has a thing for sending mixed messages regarding bullying. While the company publicly condemns the act through its Be a Star program, we've seen Mickie James lose her feud against LayCool in the infamous Piggy James storyline. We've seen Sheamus (right before his "stupid" hairdo change) exhibit bullying behavior against his rivals, yet get booked as a face, and now we've got this – about ten or so cruiserweights, ostensibly the babyfaces, acting like a gang of schoolyard bullies trying to steal a poor kid's lunch money. The only thing missing was Gulak, Alexander, Swann, Nese, et al. playing "keep away" with Amore's championship belt.
The second takeaway from the Enzo Amore beatdown is the possibility that it might be WWE's way of punishing him for his backstage heat. We've previously theorized that WWE loves Amore's antics despite virtually the entire locker room being annoyed by him. If WWE believes any press is good press, Amore is living proof of that. But this could be WWE's way of saying "enough is enough," by making the Enzo Amore character as much of a pariah as Eric Arndt, the person, is to his backstage colleagues.
Then again, maybe WWE's been working us all along. Maybe there wasn't any double-turn going on, despite how Amore's cockiness seems to now have a malicious edge to it. Maybe it was the Cruiserweight Division that had turned heel on the new guy, instead of the other way around. And maybe it's just comeuppance that these evil cruiserweights, per stipulation, cannot technically challenge Enzo for the title, due to the terms of the "no-contact" clause he supposedly had on Monday.
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Still, how could that be the case when Enzo Amore's words and actions were 100 percent heel during the victory celebration/jersey retirement? It just doesn't make sense for him to cheat to win the title, turn the cockiness up to 11 the night after, then less than a half-hour later look like someone you want to feel sorry for following the beatdown of a lifetime. Then you've also got his promo on this week's 205 Live, where Amore ramped up on the heelish remarks, yet didn't get much heel heat from a crowd that didn't know whether to boo him or to keep cheering him. Sure, we can get that he once was tremendously over as a cocky babyface, but here he is, trying to act as villainous as possible, yet WWE turns around and has every available Cruiserweight at the time go ape on him in a post-show segment.
Yes, the aforementioned Monday Night Raw angle did make Neville and company look like bullies, and there's a chance WWE could finally be punishing Amore for all his shenanigans outside of the ring. But the bottom line is that the beatdown went against booking logic, and WWE needs to truly establish Enzo Amore as the alpha heel of the Cruiserweight Division, preferably by making at least half of his fellow 205 Live mainstays act like true babyfaces, instead of like members of an angry mob.
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