The rumour reported by Mike Johnson of PWInsider ahead of Raw on Monday was confirmed when WWE World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan appeared to state that he will be out of action for an unspecified length of time as a result of a neck injury.
It's difficult to see an upside to a situation that puts one of WWE's most popular superstars and hardest workers on the injury list, especially at such a pivotal time in his career.
However, his absence from the next few weeks of WWE programming at least will require other talent to step into his place—and this could certainly prove to be a star-making opportunity for someone if it's executed correctly.
Over the past few years, wrestlers who cut their teeth on the independent scene have found more and more success within WWE.
Bryan, along with CM Punk and The Shield amongst others, has managed to work his way up to the top of the card, and he's done so based on his in-ring ability.
If you look back over the last few years of WWE pay-per-views, there have been a couple of wrestlers who have proved themselves as capable of having a lengthy match with just about anyone, and whatever its position on the card, it will be a contender for the match of the night.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are perhaps the two superstars that this is truest of.
Matches like CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho at Payback 2013 and Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble earlier this year are examples of great matches that will make a crowd sit up and take notice.
Consistent standout performances can make a star, and there's a star on the rise who could reach the next level using this same strategy.
Cesaro has a similar background on the independent scene to Bryan and Punk, and a similar ability to produce great action in the ring with just about any opponent you throw at him. Now that Punk is seemingly retired and Bryan could be out for a while, Cesaro seems like the obvious choice as the new workhorse for WWE.
There should be no doubt at this point that Cesaro has the goods in the ring. However, he's never quite been given the full rein to go out and put on 25-minute matches as Bryan and Punk have been in the past.
The time might be right to give Cesaro this opportunity as Bryan recovers from surgery and in the eventuality that he requires a less intense schedule upon his return.
Cesaro's partnership with Paul Heyman has been middling thus far, and it's almost definitely too early for him to make a real challenge at the world title should a new champion have to be crowned.
However, giving him the opportunity to fill the void of the standout wrestler in the ring would no doubt allow him to really show the fans what he can do.
At present, Cesaro isn't ready to be "the guy." Ahead of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan's respective runs in the main event, though, they were allowed the opportunity to stand out in the ring against a range of opponents.
It's time to extend that same opportunity to Cesaro—and it's almost assured that it will benefit him and the shows themselves.
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