Some would argue that the WWE is too top-heavy with regards to the number of heels that are currently running roughshod over the rest of the roster. All of the current champions are heels, there are two predominant heel stables in the forms of the Shield and the Wyatt Family, and the people that run all of the shows are heels. Couple that with the lack of convincing face superstars that either draw mixed crowd responses or are too busy bawling in the centre of the ring to actually compete, then all of the shows are pretty much dominated by a wide collection of nefarious bad guys.
The king heel at the moment amongst the active superstars is the WWE Champion Randy Orton, embroiled in the hottest rivalry leading into Sunday’s Night of Champions with Daniel Bryan. His status as the heralded face of the company has given his character a new dimension that is constantly taking short-cuts and defending the decisions of the corporation that placed him in his comfy position.
Beneath Orton is the Shield, the collaboration providing a fitting blockade to defend Triple H’s honour and judgement, as well as preventing his big nose getting broken into a thousand pieces. The three all hold a title belt, but in truth it is their alignment to the corporation and to Orton that is the reason that they are so high up the pecking order.
Following these, there is a mix of heels that command some portion of the spotlight every week. Alberto Del Rio is the World Heavyweight Champion, which used to be important, but now means that every month he competes in matches against a face superstar that is currently outside of any major storyline, albeit in very solid and competitive matches. AJ Lee is single-handedly trying to restore some credibility to a disintegrated Divas division. Curtis Axel holds the Intercontinental title, again a once proudly contested possession, but is in the picture as the wrestling companion to Paul Heyman against his former best friend CM Punk. And, not forgetting that the company on occasion can bring Brock Lesnar in to star in a prize fight against one of the mega-stars of the WWE.
These are the main heel fixtures of the WWE, and they make up one half of all the matches from the upper-midcard to the main event (or at least they should). And below them are a mixture of jobbers and lower-midcard superstars that are occasionally brought into the brightest spotlights to be defeated by a predominant face, but usually are involved in some meaningless feud amongst themselves or competing on Main Event or NXT.
However, from within that grouping is a superstar that has all the tools to become the biggest heel in the business today. Though currently stuck in the lower echelons of the totem pole, he will hopefully be able to rise from the ashes and battle competitively with established main event faces like Bryan, Punk and Cena for the biggest titles on offer.
If you have read the title of this article, you probably have some idea of who I am speaking of. That man is Antonio Cesaro.
Most recently, Cesaro has been aligned with the Real American partnership of Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger in the current attempts to revive the tag team division. Though this partnership has provided some compelling wrestling, it hasn’t exactly been favourable to either man’s win percentages. And it hasn’t been any better for Cesaro in singles action neither, as on Raw he lost to a returning Santino Marella, and on Main Event fell to Kofi Kingston’s ‘Trouble in Paradise’. Could a man on such a profound losing streak ever be able to rise to the top of the industry. In the current climate, I believe so.
Let’s examine some of the positives that Cesaro brings to the table. He is an experienced ring technician, brought into the company after numerous years in the Independent Leagues, and can perform in a match as well as most in the company today. But he is also unique in the ring due to his size, build and power.
Seriously, the guy is a freak of nature. Anybody that has seen the matches against Marella or Kingston, or his superb outings opposing Sami Zayn on NXT will testify to the fact that pound-for-pound he is the strongest wrestler in the WWE today. Perhaps the strongest of all time. The way he can toss superstars into the air and catch them with a decapitating uppercut, or swing an opponent across the ring by his legs for nearly a minute, or lift men like the Great Khali into his Neutralizer finisher is both impressive and intimidating.
Cesaro is also well-educated and well-travelled, and his travels across Europe honing his craft mean he is fluent in five different languages. That snobbery and potential for anti-American spouting made men like The Iron Sheik, Sergeant Slaughter, and Bret Hart such despised heels in their time, and it has worked well in his current storyline with Colter, though in a limited fashion.
He looks the part, he is as strong as a Brown Bear and can play the foreigner card. And he can mix it up with the top guns as well, as his recent outing with Daniel Bryan demonstrated their compatible in-ring chemistry and the drama and story that their matches could potentially tell in the future. So, there is no doubt that Cesaro has all of the essential components to make it as one of the top bad guys in the company. But how would the current environment in the company allow him to do that? It would be a slow and gradual rise to the top of the ladder, but it could be achieved.
Let’s say the company decides to quietly kill-off his partnership with Swagger and Colter, and he for a few weeks he stays below the radar, wrestling his same brand of high-quality matches on the lesser shows. But, he manages to string a few wins together (crazy I know, but bear with me) and attracts the attention of either Triple H or Paul Heyman.
The storyline with Triple H would see him be utilised as first a tool to take down one of the experienced face superstars that is challenging the current regime, preferably the Big Show as it would allow Cesaro to go over and potentially lift the giant into a Neutralizer, which would go over big time. This leads to Cesaro challenging some of the bigger stars in the company, trading wins and losses, and forming some sort of partnership with Orton as the WWE Champion. This could lead to Cesaro considering challenging for the title himself, albeit still maintaining his allegiance to the corporate body, perhaps in a triple threat match with somebody like Bryan added in.
This will lead to Cesaro becoming part of the championship picture and one of the men alongside Triple H in his power trip over the company, and may or may not give him a chance to capture the title once Orton drops the belt to either Bryan, Cena or Cody Rhodes. The route alongside Heyman would be longer, but has greater potential to see him win the championship in the future and be the lead heel in the company.
Say Axel were to lose too many matches and Heyman loses faith in him, and instead turns to Cesaro who desires some direction in his career. He joins Heyman in concluding the feud with CM Punk, getting one or two victories over the Best in the World, before Punk inevitably gets his revenge on both Heyman and Brock Lesnar. However, this doesn’t see the end of Heyman, as Cesaro still competes in the midcard and eventually his manager returns to help steer his client to bigger and better scalps.
The corporation angle would have to finish eventually, and when that happens, Cesaro could be there to pick up the pieces and be set to challenge the overall victor in the battle against the McMahons, be it Cena, Punk, Bryan, etc. The combination of the heat that Heyman can instil alongside the unquestionable talent and work rate of Cesaro has all the makings of a dynamic partnership that could challenge any of the top superstars in the company. Cesaro would not necessarily ever have to win the gold, but his strength and presence should be employed as a threat to anybody who steps in the ring with him.
Cesaro has certainly not been given the attention that his skills and ring-work have merited over the last year, and I feel firmly that he would certainly fit as the main adversary to the biggest fan favourites in the WWE, and not only that but he would fit as well as anybody else on the roster. The Swiss-American hybrid is hopefully a major part of the blueprint moving forward for, as a fan of great wrestling, I am desperate to see him compete in 30-minute matches with some of the best in the company for its richest prizes.
We, The People, want to see this happen.
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This article was first posted on September 15, 2013