A couple of months ago, right around the time before Kidd & Cesaro started to have a hot feud with New Day, I was re-watching a SmackDown match with Cesaro & Randy Orton.
It was when Cesaro was with Zeb Coulter as one-half of the Real Americans. I remember thinking to myself, “Man, this guy is starting to get over with these people”. He was holding his own against Orton and the crowd was really into the match. There was a huge pop when he swung Orton and pinned him clean. He would go one to be a number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight championship and battle it out in the Elimination Chamber.
After I was done watching it, I was so angry at Vince McMahon for burying him in Stone Cold’s podcast. He was gonna act like it wasn’t him & creative’s fault that Cesaro had to go through five different gimmicks, change alignments four times in a span of three years, and wonder why he “isn’t connecting”. Like yeah, his mic’ skills weren’t the greatest, and he still occasionally fumbles his words, but he has been improving.
Mr McMahon at the time felt that he “didn’t have quite the charisma”. To which I argue that, if he didn’t have charisma, why would they have him be the first winner of the Andre “The Giant” Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX?
It was as though they didn’t want to go all the way with him, and they could not understand his allure. He doesn’t have the flash of a Macho Man, or the wild-card behavior of the late, great Hot Rod. Therefore, Vince & co could not understand why a fan would be invested in Cesaro.
The thing is, though, it’s not that complicated. Wrestling fans are invested in Cesaro because of his spectacular in-ring work, and incredible strength. Now one might say that all wrestlers have these characteristics, and I say to you, “have you seen the guy?”.
He truly is freakishly strong but he doesn’t look like he would be so. However, he is so effortless in lifting guys like Mark Henry or The Big Show. It’s the gracefulness in which he shows his strength that draws people in. I compare him to a performer lifting and carrying a ballerina to the way he treats his opponents.
His in-ring work is remarkable. It’s shades of Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle. What they share is that they have been able to combine the elements of grappling, high-flying, and technical skills so it can be aesthetically pleasing.
There is no need for him to present himself in a grander fashion. Cesaro’s allure is his authenticity and genuine character. As his says often, his mission is to deliver and with that he is bringing a revival to WWE and that is wrestling stripped to it’s true nature.
It’s about using your environment to your advantage, being mindful in the ring (selling, timing, psychology), using your sheer athleticism alone the majority of the time in order to elicit crowd response in your favor. As he said so himself, “as long as I’m punching my time card, wrestling is not gonna die on my clock”. For him, it’s less about using tired angles and gimmicks to carry a match and more about reviving the sports aspect in sports entertainment to do so. The sport being wrestling.
His first one-on-one match with Kevin Owens on SmackDown, and his first time taking up John Cena’s US Open Challenge on Raw, were his premiere comebacks as a singles competitor in the upper-card after the unfortunate injury of his tag-team partner Tyson Kidd. Who, by the way, is never forgotten by him as he always carries a piece of him with him, whether it be a Canadian Maple leaf on his armband or on his knee pads.
Red Arrow’s Final Thought: I’m glad he’s getting the proper push by feuding with Rollins, and Owens. It makes me really happy to see the Cesaro Section grow each week and he is great as a face. I really want him to become WWE World Heavyweight champion, as I can see him representing it well in the mainstream media.
Overall, he has become the breakout star in this summer heat wave. He’s come a long way from being DDT’d with a jack-o-lantern on his head, and I can only hope they keep his momentum going with compelling feuds and matches.