How Big Cass went from WWE super fan to superstar
November 18, 2016 - WWE
ORLANDO, Fla. — The object is environment on Central Florida as Bill Morrissey gazes out a third-floor window during a Dr. Phillips Center for a Performing Arts on Thursday. Below, thousands await, many of them here, possibly station in a snaking designation line, bellied adult to a bar during one of several drink tents or crowding around an outside wrestling ring in a heart of downtown, to see him.
Of course, these fans — they didn’t come to this WrestleMania On-Sale Party to see Morrissey, exactly. Rather, they’re here for Morrissey’s alter-ego, Big Cass, half of a WWE tag-team twin Enzo and Cass and one of a rising stars in veteran wrestling.
It wasn’t that prolonged ago that Morrissey was one of them, a wrestling addict fervent to watch his idols up-close. And as a hirsute seven-footer* ponders a fact that he’s now a luminary they’re display adult in droves to see, a pre-med college basketball actor incited sheet attorney incited WWE luminary can’t assistance though consternation what his younger self would consider of a approach his life incited out.
“He’d say, ‘You’re doing great,’” a 30-year-old Morrissey told FOX Sports, enormous a grin before he headed downstairs to take a stage. “‘But he’d also say, ‘Keep operative harder, given you’ve got bigger things to do.’”
Long before he was one of a WWE’s many sought-after personalities, Morrissey was an small child who wasn’t good adequate to make a basketball group during Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens. A New York City native, Morrissey was cut any of a initial 3 years he attempted out, though a comparison year expansion emanate to 6-foot-8 was adequate to get him on a roster, where he played underneath a late Jack Curran, who upheld divided in 2013.
“He was an comprehensive fable — not only in high propagandize basketball, though basketball in general,” Morrissey removed of Curran, who coached during a propagandize for 55 years. “He taught me lessons that we lift and use to this day, even in WWE: tough work, perseverance, staying focused, not vouchsafing people get in your head. And he always reinforced concentration and tough work, either we was slacking in a classroom, that was rare, or on a court. He was about always focusing all your appetite on a things we need to perform.”
An well-developed tyro and counterpart mentor during Archbishop Molloy, Morrissey warranted an educational grant to NYU, where he doubled as a core on a school’s basketball team. Morrissey played sparingly for a Violets, appearing in 50 of 108 probable games during an normal of 6.3 mins per game, though was named a comparison co-captain in 2008, nonetheless.
In addition, Morrissey navigated his approach by a severe category report — one he frankly took on as an economics vital with aspirations of someday attending medical school.
“Balancing schoolwork and basketball was very, unequivocally hard, though a lot of advantages came along with it,” Morrissey said. “The intercourse was something we always enjoyed, spending time with your teammates and flourishing that clever bond together. Because we always need someone on your team, either it’s in life, or in work. You always need someone who’s a partial of your squad, and we felt that college basketball unequivocally helped with that — traveling together, study together and fighting a same battles together.”
However, as his college career wound down, Morrissey began to doubt either his heart was unequivocally in medicine.
A lifelong wrestling fan, Morrissey had been going to live events given he was a kid, and he found a approach into probably each Pay-Per-View in and around New York City over a final dual decades, including WrestleMania XX during Madison Square Garden in 2004. In 2008, Morrissey skipped a college examination to transport to Orlando for WrestleMania XXIV, where he watched Ric Flair’s final compare from a building during a Citrus Bowl.
At a time, “Big Cass” wasn’t even an idea, and Morrissey could have never envisioned that he’d be on a WrestleMania card, himself, when a eventuality returned to Central Florida 9 years later. But he was sole on a thought of perplexing to make his dream a existence and motionless he during slightest had to give himself a possibility to make it in a business.
“I was always unequivocally ardent about it, always examination tapes, and when we was in college, study for a MCAT a summer of 2008, we realized, ‘Man, this only isn’t my loyal passion,’” he said. “So we motionless to finish my final year during NYU, and a second it ended, we started posterior a event to get to a WWE.”
After graduating, Morrissey began operative as a sheet attorney to compensate a bills, and spent whatever gangling time he had training with WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz in Brooklyn, where Morrissey creatively competed underneath a name Big Bill Young.
By 2011, Morrissey had relocated to Florida and sealed with Florida Championship Wrestling, a developmental arm of WWE that after became NXT. At that point, Morrissey was being billed as Colin Cassady, and after struggling to settle an identity, Morrissey got his large mangle in 2013, when he shaped a tab group with Enzo Amore.
Coincidentally, Amore, portrayed by Eric Arndt, is a New Jersey local and former college football actor whom Morrissey initial met as a teenager, personification pickup basketball games during “The Cage,” a famed set of outside courts in New York’s Greenwich Village.
The self-described “realest guys in a room,” Enzo and Cass saw their recognition — and that of their “S-A-W-F-T,” “You can’t learn that,” and “How we doin’?” catchphrases — steadily grow over a final several years, and in April, one night after WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, a span done their categorical register entrance on Raw, opposed a Dudley Boyz as a longtime tag-team twin left a stage.
“When we travel in a room, you’ve got to know, deep-down, that you’re a realest man in there,” Morrissey pronounced of his in-ring character, that he describes as “me, only amplified a small bit.” “It brings a whole lot of certainty in there and a strut that we feel like people need. When a man walks in a room and everybody looks and says, ‘Who’s that guy?’ — that’s who we wish to be.”
The following week, a twin fought their initial compare on SmackDown, and afterwards seemed in WWE’s Payback, Money in a Bank and Battleground in successive months. The smack-talking span was afterwards picked adult by Raw during a WWE breeze in July, and in August, a group took on Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens during SummmerSlam — a hometown uncover in Brooklyn that Morrissey would have expected attended as a fan had he not been participating.
“At times it can be overwhelming,” Morrissey pronounced of his fast arise by a WWE ranks. “It’s crazy to consider that 5 years ago we was behaving in Tampa, Florida, in front of 10 people each week. Ten. Process that. And afterwards we came to NXT and started behaving in front of some-more people, afterwards thousands of people, and afterwards 16,000 people during a Barclays Center.
“So we personally, as a wrestler, got to see a arise of NXT, and me and Enzo feel like we were a unequivocally large partial of that rise,” Morrissey continued. “All those people knew Enzo and we already (when we debuted on Raw), and they knew all of a catchphrases, so right off a bat we started hot, and a arise only keeps going. It’s crazy to consider how fast things can happen.”
And a hits have only kept coming.
One week after his tag-team detriment during SummerSlam, Morrissey took partial in a Fatal 4-Way compare for a Universal Championship, a Raw brand’s tip title, along with Owens, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. This Sunday, Enzo and Cass will be partial of a 10-on-10 tab group compare during Survivor Series, and a expectancy is that they’ll both be on a label for WrestleMania on Apr 2, as well.
It’s a prolonged approach from pickup games in Greenwich Village or pre-med studies during NYU — and it’s a march Morrissey has lonesome in an amazingly brief duration of time — though he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s only furious how all came full circle,” Morrissey said. “We were 13 (when we met) and now we’re here and we’re going to be during a initial WrestleMania in front of 75,000 people when we used to play basketball in front of nobody during The Cage. So it’s crazy to consider about. Sometimes you’ve only got to lay down, either you’re in a hotel room or on your cot during home, and unequivocally only conclude what’s going on around you. You know, ‘Look during what I’m experiencing and demeanour during where Enzo and we came from.’”
But afterwards again, maybe Morrissey’s success shouldn’t have come as a outrageous surprise. After all, he’s whip-smart, he’s got a distance and a demeanour to be a healthy in a ring, he’s got a low honour for a story of a business and for those who came before him, and, notwithstanding what a brashness of his impression competence suggest, he’s got a piety to know how distant he has to go.
“I wish to be Universal Champion,” Morrissey said. “I wish to be a tip man in this company. That’s my idea and it’s always been my idea — to be a go-to guy. And we consider we can be somebody this association can rest on for many, many years.”
And as Enzo and Cass competence say, we can’t learn that.
You can follow Sam Gardner on Twitter or email him during email@example.com.