What the heck has happened to Antonio Cesaro?
Just six months ago, Cesaro was widely considered to be one of the WWE’s best up-and-coming superstars, and well, he still is. Unfortunately, it’s become pretty obvious that someone somewhere within the company really has it out for him.
As you may have noticed over the last several months, the man formerly known as Claudio Castagnoli has continued to fall down the WWE’s totem pole. In fact, WrestlingNewsWorld.com recently reported the absolutely ridiculous reason why that’s been the case.
According to the publication, here’s why: "There was talk a couple of weeks ago that Antonio Cesaro was being humbled because of CM Punk’s strong support for him and the rumblings about him being left off the Wrestlemania lineup. I don’t know how much blame can be placed on Punk as this is just the way Vince reacted."
If this is the true reason behind Cesaro’s recent slump, that’s absurd. But regardless, it’s clear that Cesaro deserves much more than the WWE is and has been giving him for much of 2013.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Cesaro was fresh off a United States Championship win, being pushed as a strong champion and seemingly being positioned for a run at the top of the card. Now, there remains little to no hope for Cesaro who just lost his US title, which is just the latest defeat he’s suffered in a long line of losses.
After all, it seems like that’s all that Cesaro has done since the beginning of 2013 and even before then. If you were to search Cesaro’s win-loss statistics for the year (anybody got a link to them?), you’d more than likely see an abysmal record, with three to four times as many losses as wins.
The WWE is “humbling” Cesaro for something that he doesn’t even have any real control of, and it’s completely unacceptable to see such a tremendous talent be forced to serve as a “jobber to the stars” and even as a “jobber to the midcarders.” It’s hard to keep track of all the losses that Cesaro has racked up because he’s lost so many, but it’s safe to say that he’s lost more recent matches than anyone besides perhaps Wade Barrett.
He has been booked like—to put it mildly—absolute crap, which is a shame, especially when you consider that he has evolved into one of the WWE’s best all-around performers.
Cesaro doesn’t get a ton of opportunities to cut promos, but when he does, he’s usually very good in that department. Although his accent can make him a bit difficult to understand at times, he generally does a great job with both what he does and how he says it.
Of course, what really makes Cesaro stand out are his nearly unparalleled skills in the ring.
Cesaro has only been on the WWE’s main roster for a little more than a year now, so he hasn’t racked up the accomplishments that some of the company’s longest-tenured stars have. But what he has done in a relatively short stint on the grand stage of the WWE is make himself stand out from the pack.
His matches, when given enough time, are often one of the few highlights of both Raw and SmackDown. They generally feature crazy spots that many of us have never seen before and feats of strength that not even some of the WWE’s strongest stars could pull off.
That is what makes Cesaro so special: His unparalleled strength.
Pound-for-pound, Cesaro might very well be the strongest guy in the WWE. He’s proved that by easily hitting The Neutralizer on Brodus Clay and The Great Khali, seamlessly picking up heavy superstars for gutwrench suplexes and catching grown men in midair with no problem whatsoever.
Cesaro does things that no one in the company can do, so you would think that this would give him a guaranteed spot at the top card. That, as well know, hasn’t happened, though.
What grade would you give the booking of Antonio Cesaro over the last six months?
For what looks like a very petty reason, the WWE has not only decided not to push Cesaro, but it has made sure to do the exact opposite. The creative team has completely buried him for four or five months now, and as a result, hardly anyone—other than the hardcore fans—cares about him at all.
No matter how skilled a superstar is, the crowd simply isn’t going to react to him much if the creative team doesn’t put forth the effort into making that guy seem like a star. That’s exactly what has happened with Cesaro.
Instead of booking him to consistently win show-stealing matches, the WWE has portrayed him to be a loser who almost never gets the job done. This has set him back significantly, too.
Oftentimes, we see stars get humbled by constantly losing or jobbing, and those stars then struggle mightily to recover from it. Zack Ryder and Wade Barrett are great examples of this—they’ve lost so much momentum over the past couple of years because of how they’ve been portrayed by creative.
Cesaro is dangerously close to that territory right now, too.
He’s been treated like crap for so long that the WWE is running the risk of having him get labeled as a forgettable midcarder by the masses—even though the hardcore fans can see his obvious talent and know that he should be pushed.
That doesn’t matter, though, because the WWE is going to do what it wants to do, and at least right now, it wants to bury Cesaro.
Meanwhile, far less talented superstars continue to get far more TV time. Go figure, huh.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!