WWE | Pro Wrestling

Cesaro and the WWE Eternal Struggle of Ability vs. Character

Cesaro has no charisma. Now don’t get mad, it’s not my fault. For that matter it’s not his fault, you either have it or you don’t. Despite how much fans want to believe otherwise and despite how much WWE needs him to have it, Cesaro just doesn’t.

As Cesaro fans sharpen their pitchforks and begin organizing the angry mob, let me assure you that I am one of his biggest supporters. I’ve always been a fan of his work and for my money; he is one of the best technicians in the industry today. He’s certainly in the top three for that company, next to Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler.

He has to be regarded as one of the best pure athletes to ever set foot in a WWE ring; he’s fast, he’s smart and he’s strong as an ox. Cesaro has the ability to work any style imaginable because he’s well versed in all of them and his aptitude for pro wrestling is off the charts.

When a guy steps into the ring with Cesaro, he knows he’s in for a good match. He never has an off day; he always looks good and always delivers. He’s very unselfish because he knows that truly getting over in the business means you elevate your opponent to new heights when you work him. That is the only way to ensure the match looks good, the fans are happy and you end up looking good and are happy as well.

He would have fit right in with Jim Crockett Promotions circa 1985 and been a title contender to Ric Flair. That’s how good he is and is a testament to his level of respect for his craft; he cares more about getting the match over than anything else. It’s that old school mentality that would have taken him far back in the day, no doubt about it.

But this is not Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling we’re talking about here. This is WWE, the place where skills and ability come in second next to character. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that; Vince McMahon has built an empire on those characters.

He squashed his competition, he infiltrated pop culture and he became mainstream thanks to his characters. WWE has arguably never seen a better day than it has right now in terms of worldwide recognition, product awareness and respect for the athletes in the ring. Much of that is thanks to the characters that draw fans in.

If you want to get over in Vince’s world, you have to have “it.” Fans must be able to look at you and decide you are the next big thing, you are worth their time and more importantly, you are worth their money. If you don’t fit those criteria then you will not succeed on a high level. You will become part of the machine, relegated to the mid-card and used as a workhorse to bring credibility to the program.

That’s who you will be and it’s what you will do. Now, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. Ask how many guys on the indie circuit right now if they would he happy with that fate and I guarantee you practically all of them would snap at the chance to do it. McMahon knows this, WWE knows this and that’s why we continue to see guys like Cesaro come into the fold.

WWE as a company has always put over the notion of opportunity. They provide opportunity to guys, to get over and be successful and have the career they’ve always wanted. It sounds good. It sounds amazing, actually. Imagine being in the ring after working the main event of WrestleMania, your arm raised in celebration with a packed house that paid to see you perform. The rush must be absolutely mind blowing.

That’s what WWE is selling to its talents; the rush. Here’s your gear, here’s your opponent, and you have eight minutes, go out there and slay them. Make them notice you, make them remember you, make them care. But most importantly, do all of that with style. Find your voice and do it as only you can.

Therein lays the issue with Cesaro. Has he truly found his voice yet? Has he found his hook, the one thing that separates him from the rest of the WWE locker room? When fans see him, are they so impressed, so knocked out, they can’t wait to see him again? When he speaks, does he move them? Does he sell the match on the mic four weeks before it happens and sets the crowd on fire with anticipation? Or does he just get in the ring, have the best match of the night and leave fans wondering why he’s not higher on the card?

Technicians are great; they are the meat and potatoes of any pro wrestling presentation, not just WWE. I love those guys and so do most diehard fans. But while those guys get respect and adulation, they may or may not get the main event payday. If WWE fans want Cesaro to be successful in a very big way, then he must ascend to that main event level. His performance is already there, now his career needs to be as well.

But it all starts with character. If he cannot find his niche, to truly get over and be comfortable in his own skin inside of a character that’s very organic and natural to him, then he will not be that main event guy. He must connect to the fans and if he can do that, then he will make it. He may not have the charisma but he has an opportunity and he’s making the best of it.

Now it’s up to WWE to facilitate his rise and open doors for him. See? Not so technical after all.

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Tom Clark

Tom Clark can regularly be found on Camel Clutch Blog. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at https://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com/

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