Zack Clayton isn’t one to take advantage of a situation, and the fact that he is engaged to one of the biggest reality show superstars to hit MTV screens since Kim Kardashian’s rise on E! doesn’t seem to faze him in the slightest. Should AEW capitalize on Zack Clayton’s Jersey Shore fame, regardless?
Since Cyndi Lauper appeared at WrestleMania, the wrestling business has been using Hollywood to attract larger audiences…specifically WWE.
AEW is guilty of this too; many celebrities having flooded the AEW scene since the show’s inception in 2019. Shaq, Tyson….
In a recent interview with Wrestling Inc, Zack spoke of his Jersey Shore fame and how it differs from his wrestling career—what he puts first and perhaps most importantly, what came first…
“I was a professional wrestler first. That was my first love for seven years before other things. That’s what I want to do. That’s still in me. That’s my goal. The other things help. You can do other things outside of wrestling and still be successful…I was and am a wrestler first. I always tell people that. It’s always what I want to be and focus on.”
He’s made some appearances on AEW TV. He’s been in the ring with the Dark Order, Colt Cabana and Sunny Kiss in some capacity or another, and has performed exceptionally.
My question at this point is: Is AEW doing enough to capitalize on Clayton’s popularity right now among a particular demographic?
One need only wonder if Clayton was at WWE, would McMahon and company be putting him on TV, perhaps asking if his bride-to-be was interested in escorting him to the ring for the duration of a storyline…say during WrestleMania season? Certainly sounds like something they would do.
But AEW certainly isn’t WWE, which is perhaps why they haven’t gone down this avenue.
Zack Clayton has represented himself very well thus far and perhaps the best way to allow his career to flourish is organically without the glitz and glamour of reality TV. Maybe in the end, the best way to let his star ignite, is with his good old fashioned skills in the squared circle and leave it at that.
I have no doubt he will do well, as anyone else shouldn’t.
But I can’t help but think at the publicity it might garner him, the Jersey Shore and even AEW, if his fame on the reality show is capitalized upon and done right, without endangering his run there at the company of course.
On a recent episode of Jersey Shore, Clayton actually got in the ring with the male cast mates and taught them a thing or two about taking bumps and selling a gimmick. It was quite comical to watch him interacting with Mike “The Situation,” Pauly D, Vinny and Ronnie, who actually had a brief appearance on Impact a few years back, working an angle with Eric Young. He even got to body slam Robbie E—now Robert Stone on NXT.
Next Thursday, the conclusion to what the cast mates were calling GuidoMania is to air on MTV at 8PM EST.
As I watched scenes from the episode this week, I couldn’t help but declare to my wife, who is a longtime fan of the show, that this would have actually been amazing to see on Dynamite.
Could it one day happen?
And by the way…the Jersey Shore cast mates aren’t strangers to wrestling. As I mentioned earlier in this article, Ronnie worked an angle on Impact, but so did Zack’s bride-to-be, J-Woww herself. This was back in 2010.
Angelina also appeared on Impact, and who can forget Snooki’s WrestleMania moment from April of 2011?
See what I mean about capitalizing?
Tallying up the pros and cons
In the end, I don’t think it can hurt. If anyone deserves to benefit from something like that, it’s certainly Zack Clayton….and AEW, but at the same time, I totally understand about his not wanting to be known just for his time on Jersey Shore.
Despite the fact that it’s a solid show with an epic following, he’s going to want to cement some wrestling memories that perhaps have no part of his other endeavors, and I get that wholeheartedly.
But as stated before, if done with tact, maybe something special can surely unfold.
Regardless of what happens, though, he’s a promising young talent and I hope we see a lot more of him on AEW TV in the future, whether they go with a Jersey Shore angle or not.
And while I’m at it…congratulations on the engagement, Zack and Jenni.