WWE Night of Champions 2012: Who Will Be Antonio Cesaro's First Main Challenger?

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2012

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

After more than 160 days of futility, the United States Championship finally became somewhat important again at SummerSlam, as Antonio Cesaro defeated Santino Marella to win his first WWE title. The first feud will be integral in solidifying both Cesaro and the championship, though, so it will be interesting to see what is in store for him.

The Swiss superstar wasn't utilized particularly well prior to winning the U.S. title, so the creative team has a lot of work ahead of it in terms of making the fans care about Cesaro. The best way to do that would be by putting him in a meaningful feud with a credible challenger, so the writers must choose wisely.

Cesaro obviously has to defend the title against Santino before anything else since the former champion has a rematch clause, but Cesaro will need something substantial after that. Santino is nothing more than a comedy act and can't be viewed as a true threat to Cesaro, so a long-term feud between them wouldn't be good for the title itself.

There are several mid-card faces that would make for strong challengers, but Christian has to be at the top of the list. Christian is a veteran guy with main-event experience and two World Heavyweight Championship reigns to his name, so putting him in a feud with Cesaro could do wonders for the new champion.

Christian has literally nothing going on right now and wasn't even featured on the SummerSlam card, so he needs something in order to stay relevant in his own right. Christian and Cesaro wrestled a few weeks ago on Smackdown, with Christian coming out on the winning side, so there is already a bit of history between them that would make for a sensible rivalry.

After missing several months due to an ankle injury, Christian made a surprise return at Over The Limit and defeated Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship. Christian then dropped the title to The Miz on the 1,000th episode of Raw, however, and has been featured quite infrequently ever since.

Christian is an incredible valuable commodity due to his fine in-ring ability, excellent mic skills and capability to work as either a face or heel, so he's a guy who needs to be used and not shelved for no apparent reason. Cesaro needs a win over someone other than Santino in order to seem legitimate, and Christian is simply the perfect fit.

Truth be told, I'd rather see Christian in the World Heavyweight Championship picture as a heel rather than Alberto Del Rio, but clearly, the WWE writers think they know something that the fans don't with regards to that feud. With that said, the next best option for a veteran guy like Christian is to convincingly put over a guy who desperately needs a rub, such as Cesaro.

Even if Christian isn't being used to the best of his abilities right now, he can still be a very important cog in the WWE operation. The mid-card is somewhat of a mess right now with very little direction for any of the superstars within it, but as the United States Champion, Cesaro is one guy who needs to be built correctly and made to look strong.

The past few United States Champions in Santino, Jack Swagger and Zack Ryder have all been booked quite terribly in one way or another, and it has truly devalued the title. Dolph Ziggler did a lot of good things during his run with the United States Championship, and it seemed meaningful when Ryder beat him for it, but the writers proceeded to bury Ryder and the title along with him.

Whether you're a fan of Cesaro or not, the hope is that he can become legitimate enough that the United States Championship returns to prominence. There are a few guys out there who could lend Cesaro a helping hand, but there is no question that Christian is at the head of the pack.


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