WWE Tag Team Division: Potential Partners for Antonio Cesaro
To say that Antonio Cesaro is in a bit of a slump would be an understatement of the highest order. At one point, the Swiss Superman looked to be getting built for a World Heavyweight Championship run in the near future. Sadly, our former United States champion has looked more and more like a jobber in recent months, instead of a future World champion. Since the loss of his gold, Cesaro has been directionless for the most part. WWE has put its focus on Ryback, Bryan, The Shield and a select few.
As such there's just no room in the bigger picture for Antonio Cesaro. It's a shame to see probably the best all-around talent in the WWE wasted.
While WWE has to build some face teams for The Shield, I do think that Cesaro and a partner could find some footing in the WWE. As his singles career looks to be at a standstill, perhaps it would be a good time to develop and show the crowd how strong he can be not only in a solo role, but in a tag team. Now of course, there are a lot of people here who already know how good of a tag partner Cesaro can be. That said, Cesaro has a wide audience he'll need to captivate, and a fresh start with a new partner could do wonders in making that happen. As such, Kassius Ohno will not be appearing.
Instead, I've selected partners whom I think can work well with Cesaro. Some that are similar to him and others who are different. While also working with him in the ring, these are types whom I think can help make Cesaro look good on the microphone as well. Some of these may seem obvious. Others may take some thinking out side the box, but that's never a bad thing I feel.
We kick things off with a somewhat unusual partnering of Curt Hawkins and Antonio Cesaro. Recently making his return to television, Curt Hawkins is a former WWE Tag Team champion with Zack Ryder and also had entertaining teams with the likes of Vance Archer and Tyler Reks before their release/retirement, respectively. Like his former partner in Ryder, Hawkins has a bit of a niche following as well and many feel he's underutilized.
Personally, I've felt that Hawkins is solid in all aspects of pro wrestling, but spectacular in none. However, when given a partner, his stock rises in my opinion. Something about him really clicked during his time as one-half of The Gate Crashers. A reunion with Ryder is something many people have been wanting to see for awhile now. Many speculated Reks and Hawkins would be tag champions at some point. However, he's never had a partner with the ability of Antonio Cesaro.
It's a classic dynamic with a somewhat new school twist. Both men are quite agile and quick, but the power game Cesaro brings to the table is a deal closer. Combine that with Hawkins' own innate athleticism and you've got power and speed all in a pretty impressive package. Add to the mix Hawkins' above-average ability on the mic, and you've got potential for a show-stealing tandem for the WWE to highlight.
Antonio Cesaro is one of the most powerful men in the WWE today. However, Ryback is no slouch. The current No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship has become a one-man demolition derby as of late, leaving bodies and tables broken in his wake. His path of destruction goes through Three Stage of Hell at Payback, but afterwards, the question of what to do with Ryback should he not win the WWE Championship looms?
Considering Ryback, while impressive, has yet to make a real impact, perhaps he could join another star who's been pushed aside recently in Antonio Cesaro.
This powerhouse duo has the potential to run roughshod over the entire division, should WWE think to pair these two physical specimens together at some point. A mutual respect for the time put in at the gym is a simple excuse.
Still, these are two guys that WWE has apparently opposing views on. With Ryback's skills on the mic carrying this team, and Cesaro doing the heavy-lifting during the matches, there's ample opportunity to make these two into stars and perhaps get Cesaro noticed, once again by the WWE brass.
A tag team and perhaps a tag title reign would be a great place to get started once again, for both men, before starting rejuvenated singles careers.
A bit obvious that Barrett would make this list, but I think it goes without saying that these two would make for quite the tag team. Two of the most physical wrestlers and impressive strikers on the roster, Wade and Cesaro would be a task for any team to handle.
Wade has made a name for himself (no thanks to the WWE) by putting on some impressive matches with the likes of The Miz, Sheamus and Kofi Kingston since 2013 started. The three-time and current Intercontinental champion, like Cesaro, has looked to be within reach of his main event potential, only to be derailed and/or de-pushed. Curious, but what can ya do?
Despite being the leader of two stables, Wade has never really been seen as much of a team player, but I do believe that now would be a good time. Unfortunately, things don't look good for Barrett as a solo guy right now. It's difficult to remember the last win Barrett picked up, and his reign looks to be coming to an end soon enough at the hands of either The Miz or...Fandango. It's getting harder and harder to not just declare Wade a glorified jobber at this point, but perhaps he doesn't have to be.
Barrett is considered one of the best talkers in the WWE. Antonio is the all-around best wrestler in the WWE (in my opinion.) The former United States and Intercontinental champions could dominate the tag team scene.
All the way from NXT, I present to you, The Man Gravity Forgot! Adrian Neville has been touted as one of the superstars WWE should be looking to bring up to the main roster.
The former Indy star has quite a list of accolades and fans around the world attest to his ability to entertain in the squared-circle. His high-flying ability is second to none, and I doubt too many could hold a candle to his skill (though a few people come to mind). These qualities make him a perfect partner for Antonio Cesaro.
Though small, Neville has an impressive, compact physique. While he's not as built as Cesaro, the two would make a rather impressive sight. In the ring, you've got a mix of new school and old school.
While Adrian can pick up the pace with just about anyone on the roster, Cesaro can bring a match to a grinding halt and work his style of match, giving something to different types of wrestling fans. Not only would this be good for Cesaro—who could potentially wipe away the stigma of being "boring" by showing he can both change the pace and keep up with Adrian—this would also help Neville by introducing him to the WWE audience in a meaningful way.
The credentials are there. During his time on the Independent circuit, Neville won the Open the Triangle, Twin and United Gate Championships while working for Dragon Gate/Dragon Gate USA. As many of you know, he's one half of the first NXT Tag Team champions. I think Neville is set to do some big things in the division, and a good partner can help with that. At first glance, it may not seem like it, but I do believe that partner could be Antonio Cesaro.
Ask most people who they think the breakout star—main-event talent—in 3MB is and most people will say Drew McIntyre. I wouldn't, but most people would. No, I think The Chosen One is more suited for tag team fodder than world championships. Case in point, a good tag partner for a while could be found in Antonio Cesaro. Both men have been shown to be rather vicious (somewhat out of character for them normally) when pushed and if that aggression can be harnessed, you'd have a borderline unstoppable team on your hands.
Cesaro once said something to the effect of, history is laced with the sound of boots and silk slippers, and it's time for the slippers to come off. I think that could be applied to Drew as well. Drew is at his best when he is tearing it up in the ring—let's face it people, Drew is good, but 3MB is not for him. He just doesn't have the charisma to make it as entertaining as Heath or Jinder. However, I do think that, given the chance, Antonio could use a team with Drew to get further ahead.
Antonio isn't terrible on the mic. He's done some acceptable promo work in the past as United States champion. Because of Drew's accent, his words aren't as clear as they could be. Having Drew as a partner could help Antonio in showing how good he is by comparison.
While this was a list of potential tag team partners for Cesaro, it's mainly for the benefit of Cesaro and perhaps the other, so as to gain some direction. There are a lot of people who could use it, but arguably nobody more than the WWE Divas not in the title hunt.
Enter former Divas champion and the final Women's champion, Layla! Honestly, I really like Layla, and I think with a little bit more effort put into the Divas division, she could be one of the greats.
However, the WWE has made it clear that it has a hard time focusing on Divas not featured in the title hunt. I haven't seen hide nor hair of Alicia Fox, Aksana or Tamina since the last Divas Battle Royal, and the last time we saw Layla I believe, she was being used to put over AJ for some reason. I think Layla can bring more than that to the table, and perhaps a managerial position of sorts or even as "arm candy" for Antonio Cesaro would add another element to her character as well as his.
Antonio debuted with Aksana by his side, but I never found her very appealing in the ring or on the microphone. Layla, however, is a decent talker, has good charisma and of course can bring it in the ring, too. Antonio Cesaro could probably get more people talking with the British Beauty that is Layla by his side.
Til Next Time
So there you have it. Potential tag team partners for Antonio Cesaro. At this point, something has to change for Cesaro. He's just treading water as of late, and it shouldn't be that way. This is a guy who should always have something to do. Not even something major, just something to do. Hopefully in the next few months, WWE decides to give Cesaro another chance. They've tried several times with people less talented, so I do think they can stand to give Cesaro another push.
Money in The Bank looms on the horizon. Cesaro is a name some people say could win the MiTB case for one of the championships. I personally feel he should do another year on the main roster—as well as other such as Sandow, Langston and The Shield members—before we start talking about Money in The Bank. There are guys who've put in time and worked just as hard and done well enough that they could gain Money in The Bank this year. Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes both come to mind.
So, what do you think about all this? Cesaro's chances at MiTB, the list presented here—maybe you have your own ideas for teams with Cesaro. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.