As the dust settles in the aftermath of WWE’s 2019 Superstar Shake-Up, many superstars are beginning new chapters on their new homes on either the red or blues brands. Many champions are preparing a quest for new gold and many championship teams like (the former) Bobby Roode and Chad Gable as well as the Bar are beginning new singles runs. In the case of the latter, the Celtic Warrior will return to in-ring action once he has healed up from an apparent concussion. For his partner, Cesaro returned to singles action the week of the Shake-Up with an uppercut-induced victory over Cedric Alexander. Since his only RAW appearance after that was last night’s losing effort to Rey Mysterio, I think this is a prime opportunity to repackage and push one of the most under-valued wrestlers on the WWE roster and one of the strongest pound-for-pound men in wrestling.
My idea? Let Cesaro channel his inner “Kurt Angle from 2005-2006” and become the “Wrestling Machine” of the modern era. A genius in-between the ropes with a brain bigger than his ego (but just barely). If Dean Malenko was “the Man of 1000 holds,” Cesaro should know 1001, at least. He can work as a brawler and a technician, and can fight off any competitor from a high-flyer to a hardcore specialist. He should be a jack-of-all-trades within the 20’ x 20’ squared circle and should be able to wow all crowds from Canada to Chile and Japan to Jamaica (all while sneering at the fans in the process).
For the life of me, I don’t know why Cesaro wasn’t pushed more heavily in recent years as a top superstar in the main event picture. I understand the dynamic that “not everyone can be at the top at the same time,” especially during an era of unprecedented talent and personalities like Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey all forcing their way onto the top of WWE’s main event picture. But for someone of Cesaro’s talent and popularity with the fans, I’m surprised he has never been given a singles run with a heavy push in the last five years. Just listen to this reaction he received at WrestleMania 30 just a few short years ago.
Look at how crazy the Superdome was going before and after he picked-up Big Show! While Cesaro received the benefit of the managerial services of Paul Heyman post-WrestleMania 30, the Swiss Superman was never able to muster an added push of momentum after his big win at WrestleMania and remained in the mid-card for the remainder of the year. Nonetheless, Cesaro’s core popularity has never waned with many hardcore faithful’s in the WWE Universe, many of whom are still holding on as loyal members of the “Cesaro Section” to this day. What better way to spur more interest in WWE’s current product than building up a new character in a wrestler who has held a steady, underground popularity with a sub-section of fans for at least half a decade?
Since his professional wrestling debut at the turn of the new millennium, we’ve seen Cesaro as a suit-tearing James Bond, a multilingual chauvinist United States Champion and one of two Kings of Wrestling with NXT talent Kassius Ohno (the former Chris Hero). In that time, he has accumulated a laundry list of “Greatest Hits” matches with a variety of opponents like Nigel McGuinness, William Regal, Sami Zayn and John Cena. He’s worked like a tag-team Swiss Army Knife pairing up with and creating memorable tag-teams with the likes of Jack Swagger, Tyson Kidd and the aforementioned Sheamus. His in-ring resume alone is all he needs to showcase to the crowd in order to flaunt his greatness while simultaneously drawing the ire of the WWE Universe. While it’s a rather simplistic and one-dimensional gimmick, it could only be pulled off by someone with a valedictorian in-ring vocabulary like the veteran Cesaro. And not only does he have the in-ring acumen to pull it off, but the added bonus of his pound-for-pound strength in his suplex showcases and Cesaro Swings can not only wow the crowd but allow himself to taunt in a Jeff Jarrett-esque “Ain’t I great?” pose of victory.
You may be thinking “But John: Kurt Angle was as versatile on the microphone as he was in the ring? Do you think Cesaro has what it takes to be on Kurt Angle’s level?” My answer: He doesn’t have to be a comedic/intense genius like Kurt Angle (although having that skill in your back pocket always helps). With a character like the “Wrestling Machine,” all you really need on the microphone is a little bravado, a little cockiness and an air (check that — odor) of over-confidence. Think of 2004 JBL, 2015 EC3, 2016 Bobby Roode. Just the mere feeling of “I’m-better-than-you” smugness and Cesaro can instantly become one of the most hated heels on either brand on par with the likes of a Bryan or Zayn in the current roster climate.
Cesaro has stated in recent interviews that his ultimate goal is to be WWE Champion one day. With a straightforward persona like the “Wrestling Machine” coupled with a systematic and thought-out push to the main event, I can easily see Cesaro feuding with the likes of Styles, Rollins and the Miz for big-time match-ups on Monday Night RAW. Sure, that might involve a few months steadily fighting through the mid-card on the Monday show, but that could still result in a respectable reign as the United States Champion and maybe even bring more prestige to the title like the Miz did with the Intercontinental Championship in 2016 and 2017.
To me, it’s an easy jump to transition the Swiss Cyborg who can swing any member of the WWE Universe from Ricochet to the Great Khali, to the “Wrestling Machine” who could decimate any opponent with precision and a personal indifference to mercy and suffering. Need I say more? What do you think, ProWrestling.com reader? What would you do with the newly single Cesaro on the RAW roster? Sound off in the comments section below and keep reading ProWrestling.com for the latest news in the world of professional wrestling.