There is not an act on current WWE programming that has acquired more organic fan dedication (lately, anyway) than Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Although they are solid performers in the ring, it is Enzo’s gift of gab, backed up by the muscle of Big Cass, that has allowed the NXT upstarts to become the hottest act in WWE, and arguably in all of professional wrestling at the moment.
As the WWE acquiesces towards SummerSlam–WWE’s biggest event not named WrestleMania–WWE must decide at what cost do Enzo and Cass continue their climb to what will inevitably be a win for the WWE Tag Team Championships.
Regardless of the creative choice WWE makes for the tag team, there is one option that should not, at any point, be considered. The ongoing climb of Enzo and Cass cannot come at the expense of Kevin Owens.
Owens has trumped all other performers during his assigned segments since first attacking John Cena last year. His microphone and in-ring work, as expected, have been superb, placing him in prime position to eventually become one the two hottest heels in the company alongside Seth Rollins.
While Rollins plays the part of the ultra-talented prima donna to perfection, Owens owns as the heartless prizefighter willing to end the career of whomever keeps money out of his bank account and food out of his family’s stomach. His rivalry with Sami Zayn is one that is wholly based on the fact that Zayn (then El Generico) received a call before Owens (then Kevin Steen), therefore keeping his family from receiving the subsidies of having the family’s patriarch be a WWE superstar.
The Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens feud (which will always exist regardless of the route both men go down creatively) has established Owens has the kind of heel that would end careers, possibly lives, to stay at the top of the WWE mountain.
At SummerSlam, Owens will team with Chris Jericho to face Enzo and Cass. The character of Owens is clearly between feuds after taking a loss to Sami Zayn at Battleground. Being as talented and as over as he is, one should be able to speculate that there are bigger plans in the works for Owens. However, his progress cannot be stalled for the sake of allowing Enzo and Cass to continue their rise to the top. Assuming they get the win, it must come with Jericho being pinned being the cause of it.
As written months back on Today’s Knockout, Chris Jericho slipped into the position previously held by his hero, Shawn Michaels; he is the grizzled veteran whose legacy is so iron clad that no loss will shake its foundation. His job is no longer to win championships, but to guide the current stars of the New Era to careers that can, hopefully, approach his own.
The storyline leading to the SummerSlam match does not run very deep. There is no personal rivalry like Owens and Jericho have been in previously. The basis of this match basically revolves around Owens and Jericho finding Enzo and Cass annoying and not understanding their popularity. Even after two hilarious Monday Night Raw opening segments were devoted to this match, the stakes are not high enough for Owens, while his own star is rising and will most likely rise to greater heights, to take the loss. If he is going to lose, it needs to mean something (see Battleground).
This leaves three possible performers than can be pinned in this match. Jericho’s status is clear. One thing that WWE should also realize is that Enzo and Cass’s popularity revolves around charisma and dynamic in-ring promos alone; neither is going to be ranked at the top of the PWI 500 any time soon. They are in a unique situation. Not only do they never need to win to remain over with the crowd (assuming Enzo keeps his verbal game astute), but anyone who beats them comes away as a more effective heel due to beating a perennial fan favorite. These dynamics combine to conclude that Owens needs to leave this match unscathed.
Kevin Owens is future WWE Heavyweight Champion (in some form). Out of all those who are spearheading the New Era, he very well could be the one to walk away as having the strongest lasting impact in the annals of the company. After completing a beautiful feud with Sami Zayn, his prime position must be preserved, not risked. At SummerSlam either Jericho, Cass, or Enzo must fall on the grenade.