Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, a competitor on the upcoming Season 2 of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Titan Games,” is “fully aware” of that somewhat underground Eric Arndt high school football promo — the one before the pro wrestler went by Enzo Amore in the WWE or by nZo on the independent scene today.
In the YouTube video, which is from Arndt’s pre-NXT days, the then-aspiring professional wrestler plays a clip from his high school football days, in which the future tag team partner of Big Cass tackles Cruz with a suplex-ish maneuver. Arndt then cuts a promo on Cruz right there in front of his own gridiron highlight reel from high school.
“I am fully aware of him, yes, absolutely,” Cruz, 33, like Arndt, told TheWrap ahead of the “Titan Games” season premiere on Memorial Day Monday. “The one time I got tackled in my life had to be from this guy in high school, and he won’t (let me) live it down.”
“He’s hilarious,” Cruz, a former standout at Paterson Catholic in New Jersey, said of Arndt. “Ever since [I saw] that footage a few years ago, I’ve followed his career. And he’s pretty good. He loves wearing sneakers and kicks and stuff and he’s worn my sneakers a bunch of times while he wrestled, so it’s been pretty cool — but that video’s hysterical.”
Before he saw Arndt’s video, Cruz had absolutely no recollection of the play, tackle or matchup with Arndt. Nor did anyone in the New Jersey high school football community — it was that nondescript. Many wrestling fans heard Arndt brag about the glory-days moment on WWE legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s podcast.
“When I saw the clip on YouTube, I was like, when was this? What game was this? I had no recollection,” Cruz said. “Obviously, in high school, you remember the good stuff. You remember all the touchdowns, all the times that you shook somebody out of their shoes, something like that. You don’t remember getting tackled by this guy for a 2-yard-gain.”
When you see the play, you’ll understand why it didn’t stick with Cruz, who played college football at UMass and caught Eli Manning’s lone touchdown pass in the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Watch the not-actually-all-that-impressive tackle via the video above.
Catch Cruz, Johnson and other professional athletes — not nZo, though — on Season 2 of NBC’s “The Titan Games” beginning Monday at 8/7c. Check back with TheWrap again on Memorial Day for more from our conversation with the 2012 Pro Bowl player.