I’ve been running different ideas through my mind lately, trying to decide what I should write about, I’m sure I’ll get around to the many different options eventually but one idea climbed to the forefront today. CM Punk leaving left a big void in the business, he had elevated himself to the top of the card, becoming one of the top workers in the business. There may, or may not, be legit issues that have come up between Punk and WWE that lead to his walking away, only those in the inner circle of WWE will know for sure. The one thing most of us can agree on is that it’s going to suck not having CM Punk around if he truly is done with WWE and the wrestling business as a whole. While this could have been seen as one of the worst moments in the business, or even a potential massive achievement for TNA or Jeff Jarrett’s next company, it seems as if WWE fans are getting something great out of Punk’s departure as well. Would I love to have Punk around still? Absolutely, hell I would like to see him around for a very long time. That said, an incredible talent looks to be on the verge of getting his chance to shine, a man who isn’t your stereotypical “look” for a WWE Superstar, but his ability has shown through and the crowd has fallen in love with him, interesting enough he’s also one of the people bringing the ROH/Indie influence to the WWE product.
Antonio Cesaro showed up on the WWE scene a while back, a guy with a balding head, a thin muscular build, and a throwback look to his attire. People who didn’t know his background looked at him and wondered who this man was and what he really had to offer. If you were just looking on the surface, you would have completely missed the fact that this man is one of the best workers in the business, he may not be have that Cena/Hogan/Austin/Rock look to him, but he does have a UNIQUE look which combined with everything else makes him a total package, and no I’m NOT comparing him to Lex Luger, that would be a massive insult to such a talented man. Cesaro can talk, he can match up with anyone in the ring, and he has that connection with the crowd you need to draw them in to either truly hate or truly love you in this business. Cesaro has been on a slow steady build and while he may not be there just yet, he’s on the verge of finally reaching the top of the card. Daniel Bryan has made it, CM Punk HAD made it, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and eventually Sami Zayn WILL make it to the top at some point, this is a HUGE upside for the future of wrestling because these men aren’t just in the business to be entertainers, they can flat out work. While Punk pushed the door open, Bryan has kicked it open and if it keeps going Cesaro will rip it right off the hinges.
I’ve had the privilege to see Cesaro in an up close atmosphere, when he worked a couple NXT house shows in my area. He had just joined up with Zeb and Swagger, but even in the supposed heel role the crowd cheered for him. When he came out and stood in the middle of the ring, placed his hand over his heart, and shouted WE THE PEOPLE, the crowd followed suit. I saw quite a few things that night in Lakeland, one of the most obvious being that Cesaro is going to be one of the brightest stars in the industry over the next decade, maybe longer. One thing that I’m sure everyone is waiting for is the eventual feuds between Cesaro and Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Friday night Cesaro faced off against Randy Orton, the second biggest name in the WWE in the current era, although I feel he’s only there because of Edge’s unfortunate injury and eventual retirement, and pinned him clean in the middle of the ring in a non-title match leading into the biggest match of his career at Elimination Chamber. This was a HUGE step and shows that maybe the people in the back have the faith in this man that we as fans have had for quite some time now. Cena and Orton can only go on for so long as the top of the industry before they get to the Triple H, Undertaker, HBK, Flair level, that place where titles don’t matter anymore because you’ve become a legend. From the looks of it, the business is in great hands for when the eventual change occurs.
It’s amazing to see a pairing of workers who are supposed to be on the same team generate exact opposite reactions for a crowd. When the Real Americans show up Swagger is booed out of the building, the crowd can’t stand him, he’s such a natural heel and the crowd goes with it, I still think he’s got the talent to be one of the best in the business, just a bit rough around the edges. At the same time, Swagger is getting booed for beating up on whoever the Real Americans are working, as soon as he tags in Cesaro the crowd does a complete 180 degree turn, cheering for him as he works over the opponents. Part of that is his connection with the crowd, part is his ability to bust ass in the ring, but you would be lying to yourself if you said it had nothing to do with his crazy feats of strength. The toss up European Uppercut, the Giant Swing, and of course his ability to hit his Neutralizer on ANY worker no matter how big are some of the most amazing things by a man who is powerful, without having the jacked up bodybuilder look. While I don’t expect Cesaro to actually win the Chamber match, it would be a hell of a story if he pulled it off, if for no other reason than pushing Zeb Colter quickly up the list of greatest managers of all time by having back to back clients win the top title in the Elimination Chamber, under his tutiledge.
While Cesaro has no problems pulling off the heel persona, I think the crowd is determined to make him a babyface, at least for the forseeble future. I enjoyed him as a heel, I will enjoy him as a face, although I think he’s got the ability to pull off an Austin style babyface with an edge to him. I’m going to take a page out of Stone Cold’s playbook and make a bold prediction, although I believe mine will actually happen, sometime in the next twelve months we will see Cesaro with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. While he may not win it at the Chamber, I believe that he’ll win the Money in the Back case if he hasn’t held the title already by the time the show comes around. As someone who has grown up watching this business, I can’t disagree with Jeff Jarrett when he says that the business may be on the verge of a boom, if for no other reason than the fact that the current up and coming wrestlers are some of the most talented in ring competitors that we’ve seen in ages. I can see a ton of Hall of Fame workers in this crop, from Bryan and Cesaro, The Shield, The Wyatt Family, and so many others, as fans of wrestling we are about to see some stellar careers, and I can’t wait to watch it unfold. I’m looking forward to passing the business on to my little girl, bringing in a new generation of fan, and I can’t think of a better worker to lead, or co-pilot, that generation than Cesaro. While the #YesMovement is underway, there’s another chant that I believe may be on the edge of rivaling it very soon #HailCesaro.