WWE Cesaro: The World Champion & Main Eventer

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Writer: Nikunj Walia

There is no doubt that Claudio Castagnoli famously known by his ring name Cesaro is one of the strongest and most talented superstars in the WWE with his amazing prowess in the ring and ability to connect with the audience every time he steps inside the squared circle.

In spite of possessing all the talent required to succeed in the business and being perceived as a main eventer ever since he first walked into the WWE in 2013, Cesaro has remained one of the most underutilized superstars with the WWE failing to capitalize on his momentum on numerous occasions that could have cemented his status as a World Champion and legitimate top star of the company by now.


He has been in the company for well over eight years only being a part of two world championship bouts, both in multi man matches in 2014 and one singles match against Roman Reigns in 2021 and has spent most of his career in the upper and lower mid card while gaining some success in the tag team division.


Some of the reasons due to which the Swiss Superman has been stuck on the mid card and tag team division for the longest time and not been able to ascend to the next level is being subjected to bad bookings, no proper push, no major singles championship opportunities and something perceived by the WWE Chairman Vince McMahon  about the Swiss star which he opened about on Stone Cold’s Podcast in 2014:

“He is an extraordinary physical talent but at the moment lacks the IT factor”

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Although the higher-ups and top-tier management of the company view the role of the pound-for-pound strongest superstar in the WWE as merely a mid-carder, the fans still believe that his time would come and Cesaro would one day jump into his Cesaro section after winning a World Championship.


Here are some instances from his well-accomplished career that could have made Cesaro a World Champion and Main Event Star, given the right booking and opportunities.

1. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner and Paul Heyman Guy

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Everything was right in the world for Antonio Cesaro coming out of Wrestlemania XXX. He received a massive pop for betraying his ally Jack Swagger, body slamming the Big Show out of the ring in a reminiscent of the classic moment when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant to win the namesake battle royal and becoming the its inaugural winner blowing the roof of the Mercedes Benz Superdome adding some of the most memorable Wrestlemania moments to his resume. 

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The momentum carried on to the night after Wrestlemania on Monday Night RAW when he chose to align with one of the greatest managers in the history of the WWE, Paul Heyman. This was seen as putting in the missing piece required for the evolution of the Swiss Cyborg into a main event calibre.


However it went downhill after that night due to poor bookings by the management including mediocre program with Rob Van Dam in addition to continuing his feud with former tag team partner Jack Swagger. The alliance with Paul Heyman was meant to be a profitable run for the Swiss superstar, but lackluster bookings and undervalued matches with no major feuds completely ruined a partnership that could have established Cesaro on the top of the food chain, ending it only after a brief stint.


Cesaro was riding the wave of momentum with his Wrestlemania victory and allegiance with Paul Heyman during 2014. At the same time, Daniel Bryan was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion winning the title in one of the most celebrated moments of Wrestlemania. However, just a few months later he was forced to relinquish the title due to a neck injury. The Swiss Superman could have spent the first few months with mid-card feuds while Heyman should have been by his side doing the mic work to garner the audience’s support for his client for some more time rather than ending it abruptly and letting the partnership grow organically to get over with the fans.

When Daniel Bryan vacated the world championship, Cesaro was involved in a 8 man ladder match to crown a new champion. WWE went with John Cena who was positioned as the locker room leader at the time instead of giving a younger talent an opportunity to shine.

That should have been the moment Cesaro needed to finally breakthrough as a top star of the company. He had the in-ring skills, the best mouthpiece to get him over and the perfect scenario of the audience getting behind a legitimate underdog in the company, a similar scenario that also led Daniel Bryan to the main event of Wrestlemania.

However WWE’s lack of belief in him going with a much safer option in Cena to retain his position as the poster boy buried what could have been the most successful run in Cesaro’s career.


2. Cesaro Section

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In 2015, Cesaro was one of the superstars to answer John Cena’s US open challenge which ended in disqualification followed by another match the next week being called an instant classic. He continued to build momentum over the next few months with some great matches with stars like Kevin Owens and Rusev.

It was around this time that the ‘Cesaro Section’ phenomenon which first came into light in 2014 slowly began to take shape once again with fans holding up signs in his support each time he made an appearance on WWE Programming.

The Cesaro section movement eventually gained a lot of attention and was yet again seen as the moment for Cesaro to finally rise atop the WWE mountain. But this proved to be a brief success as it was completed ignored by the higher authority deciding not to give it the direction it required for cementing the Swiss native as a top singles star.


This was the prime period in Cesaro’s career finally gaining the support of the audience as a pure babyface. His classic bouts with John Cena co-incidentally earning the Slammy award for ‘Best John Cena US Challenge’ that year accompanied by the emergence of the Cesaro Section were clear indications that it was indeed the era of the Swiss Superman.

This period of time also saw a similar situation that Cesaro was put back in 2014 with another  WWE World Heavyweight Championship vacancy by Seth Rollins due to a knee injury after which a elimination tournament was announced to crown a new champion. We even saw a backstage segment where the WWE COO Triple H walked up to Cesaro asking if he is ready to become champion and face of the WWE. This moment gave the fans a lot of hope that this tournament would culminate in the coronation of Cesaro becoming the WWE champion.


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Although this scenario would have seen Cesaro finally reaching for that brass ring, we can say that the timing was indeed wrong. He managed to reach the Semifinals of the tournament but lost to Roman Reigns who was billed to become the next flagship star of the WWE by Vince McMahon moving in towards capturing his own first world championship. WWE obviously went with their corporate choice with Reigns winning the entire tournament at its conclusion only to lose a few minutes later to a Money in the Bank cash-in by Sheamus, leaving Cesaro completely out of the title picture. Adding insult to injury, he suffered a torn rotator cuff injury keeping him out of action for four to six months.

The Cesaro Section although is sometimes seen here and now on WWE TV, but has seemed to lose its aura that could have transformed Cesaro’s career for the better.

3. First ever major singles feud

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The first major and notable feud for Cesaro came after eight years of his career in the WWE being involved in a great storyline with The Master of the Drip, Seth Rollins leading to Cesaro getting his first ever singles Wrestlemania match on the show’s thirty seventh edition. This feud saw the some amazing segments and build-up most notably the UFO move making its presence known where Cesaro would spin around the ring with Rollins on his shoulders.



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It seemed yet another occasion where he could ascend to the main event with this memorable feud.


While Cesaro was a part of the main event scene for the first time in his career, things didn’t go exactly as many fans hoped for after that. He was immediately put into a program with The Tribal Chief Roman Reigns who was in middle of a monstrous run as the WWE Universal Champion, losing to him at Wrestlemania Backlash. After the loss, Seth Rollins came down to the ring and attacked him continuing the feud over the next few months with Rollins defeating him at Hell in a Cell and again on Smackdown putting a stomp on his run that could have made him a main event player.

The Rollins- Cesaro rivalry should have continued after Wrestlemania instead of his program with Reigns which could have seen Seth picking up a win in their second match and Cesaro ending their feud by putting down the Drip God for good in their rubber match.

From there on, Cesaro could have been involved in other high profile feuds with stars like Sheamus, Edge, Rey Mysterio and probably winning a mid card championship in the process to let the WWE Universe feel his rise to the top. This strong build for one of the strongest superstars in the WWE might have also seen the Swiss Superstar winning the Royal Rumble in 2022 and then going on challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Title at Wrestlemania 38.

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The match would have had more credibility with Reigns having a more legitimate and established star as his opponent on the Grandest Stage of them all. That build-up combined with Cesaro dethroning the Head of the Table at Wrestlemania would have been the culmination of Cesaro’s long  hard road to the top giving him the recognition that the highly talented and skilled athlete deserved for all these years.