At WrestleMania XXX, Cesaro had a real "WrestleMania Moment." He eliminated Big Show with a spectacular feat of strength to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It was then assumed that he would turn face and enter a feud with his former tag team partner, Jack Swagger, that would culminate at Extreme Rules on Sunday.
WWE Creative has gone through with this rivalry, but it has been booked very strangely. When the two men meet at Extreme Rules, with Rob Van Dam now in the mix as well, it will be with very little momentum or intrigue.
The spanner in the works of the feud came when, on the post-WrestleMania episode of Raw, Cesaro declared himself to be the newest Paul Heyman guy. In many ways, it was an awesome swerve. No one saw it coming, and it gave the industry's best talker a new client in the absence of Brock Lesnar.
The problem, though, is that it left Cesaro in a strange position. He's acting like a babyface and getting babyface reactions from the crowd, but his manager is one of the company's biggest heels. Cesaro walked out of one heel alliance straight into another one.
This has put into place a weird dynamic around Cesaro-Swagger segments. Cesaro portrays the babyface role naturally, but every promo Paul Heyman cuts emphasises how much heat he has as a heel. This instantly undermines Cesaro, and it’s starting to hold him back.
There has also been a distinct failure to create momentum within the feud. Cesaro and Swagger put on a great match on SmackDown but stalled on Monday’s episode of Raw with a lacklustre display. The strength of the animosity between Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter has become more of a story than the push that the Swiss Superman deserves.
Cesaro’s predicament has been made worse by the addition of a more established babyface into the Triple Threat match at Extreme Rules. With Rob Van Dam such a clear fan favourite, Cesaro is forced into the rather thankless tweener role in the match.
Who will win the Triple Threat match at Extreme Rules?
People make a lot of the fact that there is now supposedly no such thing as a heel-face distinction in the WWE. The Cesaro-Swagger feud is a perfect example of how such a black-and-white distinction can lift a rivalry off the ground. Whilst tweeners can work well, that isn’t where Cesaro should be.
Fans don’t like to be told whom to cheer for and whom to boo anymore, but a helping hand from Creative is still useful.
Cesaro will go over at Extreme Rules. However, he will not be able to occupy the position he deserves in the company with Paul Heyman by his side. But if Cesaro turns on Heyman, he could very quickly become one of the top babyfaces in the WWE.