Antonio Cesaro losing his U.S. title to Kofi Kingston will end up being a veiled victory for WWE's Swiss star.
Not often can one say that getting kicked in the head and having one's championship taken away is a blessing, but it is in this case.
The U.S. doesn't have the impact on a wrestler's career the way it did when Wahoo McDaniel and Sgt. Slaughter were fighting over it in the early '80s. A title that has since been held by Gen. Rection, David Flair and Santino Marella doesn't have much prestige to boast about.
Dropping the gold frees Cesaro to achieve his full potential. The only question is if WWE is looking to tap into that or to have his talents waste away.
While holding the U.S. title, a superstar has neither won a Money in the Bank ladder match (with Miz being the single exception) nor won the Royal Rumble. Cesaro has the in-ring skills and stage presence to earn both of those coveted victories and losing the title frees him up to be considered for those wins.
Does WWE believe in him though?
Saddling him with his awful yodeling gimmick and having him lose so decisively to R-Truth aren't exactly signs of extreme confidence.
Perhaps these are just small dips before Cesaro's upward journey. Unlike the man who beat him for his championship, Cesaro is capable of ascending to the main event and being a pillar of the company.
As credible as Cesaro made that championship, it didn't elevate his career as much as a midcard title is designed to do. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been left off the WrestleMania 29 card.
The U.S. title should be proof that a guy is dominant among his midcard peers. Cesaro should have been fending off challengers more and losing to guys above him less.
As champ, Cesaro's win-loss record in 2013 (h/t TheHistoryofWWE.com) was not the most impressive. He has already lost to Randy Orton and Ryback four times apiece, as well as to The Miz, Sin Cara, Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth, Kane, Chris Jericho and Kingston.
Even as bad as things are for him now, they can only improve after that run of losses when he held the title.
The U.S. champ is not likely to begin a feud with a guy of Sheamus' caliber or with a world champ, and if he regains any momentum before July, Cesaro is now more likely to capture the Money in the Bank briefcase sans title.
In a way, the title was a weight that was holding him back.
His newest burden is his yodeling shtick. It's a move back to gimmicks based on regional stereotypes. Cesaro is from Switzerland, therefore, he must yodel. Next up, will we see him incorporate watchmaking and a love of chocolate into his gimmick?
Cesaro has the skills to be one of WWE's top stars. Being free of a title, which is so often an afterthought, clears the path for him to do that. It's up to WWE to see that. With some confidence from the WWE backstage team, Cesaro's potential is vast.
Let Kingston keep the U.S. title—Cesaro has bigger things on the horizon.
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