The fist pumping is over.
In rather impressive fashion, Antonio Cesaro retained his United States title last night at Night of Champions with a win over Zack Ryder.
After a very slow start and no real direction for his character, the initial doubt about the Swiss superstar’s abilities seem to be over, and the company seems intent on making him a legitimate force going forward.
It all began with his initial win for the title over Santino Marella on the Summerslam pre-show. Cesaro looked, and has always looked, mean, aggressive and dominant. If you disregard his loss to Christian on Smackdown in mid-August, Cesaro has looked nearly unbeatable for the majority of his WWE run.
And that all continued last night with his victory over the immensely popular Ryder.
After outlasting 15 other superstars in a pre-show battle royal, Ryder was in a great position to wrestle the title from Cesaro’s grasp.
With the element of surprise in his favor, as well as enormous crowd support, Ryder went from being an underdog to a favorite in a matter of moments. However, everyone in attendance banked on Ryder coming away with the win.
But no one told Cesaro.
Looking as aggressive as ever, Cesaro physically dominated Ryder for a majority of the bout, only briefly losing control before Aksana managed to aid him in avoiding what might have been a destructive Broski Boot from Ryder.
Moments later, he hit The Neutralizer on the young Long Islander, and the result was the same as it has been in recent memory.
A victorious Cesaro. A defeated opponent.
After rumored initial concerns from management about whether or not Cesaro could be a viable part of the company going forward, the decision was made to have him defeat the incredibly popular Marella for the title.
Having him defeat Ryder with very little difficulty also adds a much-needed boost to the already impressive list of performers that Cesaro has handled.
Granted Ryder tends to make most performers that get in the ring with him look good, but Cesaro stayed with him moment to moment and returned that favor.
He has great size, incredible talent and exudes the need to win. Anything less than perfection seems to annoy Cesaro, both in and out of character. And with a great need for another dominant heel in the company to go along with CM Punk, Cesaro looks to be a genuine option, someone to fill that role and make the most out of the opportunity.
With a very impressive background on the independent scene, as well as a wealth of experience wrestling overseas, Cesaro boasts the international appeal that the company desires, albeit in a negative way, as most fans completely loathe his boastful and snooty persona.
But that only aids in getting Cesaro over, which, at the end of the day, is exactly what the company wanted from him in the first place.