WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE’s Cesaro: The Dory Funk Jr. Of The Wrestling Business

The WWE is doing its best to squash one of its best talents. Since Cesaro is firmly entrenched in the tag team division with Tyson Kidd, does this mean the Swiss superstar will never see a singles angle that could lead to a WWE World Title run? If the answer is yes, than one of the greatest pure athletes to come along since Kurt Angle isn’t being recognized by his bosses when it comes to overall value.

When I see Cesaro, I see a throwback wrestler with a little bit of Billy Robinson, Verne Gagne and most of, Dory Funk Jr. The fact that I can put Cesaro’s name in the category of these greats from the past only magnifies how good he is now and how great he can be if he were given an opportunity to shine.

Something tells me Triple H, Vince and the boys are not going to let that happen. Watching Cesaro’s work and the performance is well worth the ticket of admission, especially with the forearm upper cut that takes me back to Funk’s heyday in the late 1970s.

Funk won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Gene Kiniski on February 11, 1969 in Tampa, Florida and remained NWA World Champion for the next four and a half years, which is the second-longest uninterrupted reign of any NWA World Champion. (Lou Thesz held the NWA world title from November 27, 1949, to March 15, 1956).

Dory and his brother, Terry, are the only brothers in history to each hold the title. Funk finally lost the NWA World Championship on May 24, 1973 after a hurried recovery from a pickup truck accident on his father’s Flying Mare Ranch in West Texas. Dory was forced into the ring in Kansas City, losing the belt to Harley Race. Some people do not believe the accident actually occurred. Funk was originally scheduled to face Jack Brisco for the championship on March 2, 1973, which many at the time believed he would come out on the losing end of.

According to Brisco, Dory Funk Sr. did not want his son to lose the belt to another babyface wrestler. Thus, the convenient “accident”, allowing Dory Jr. to “lose” the gold to heel Harley Race and claim that he lost by returning to the ring too soon after being injured.

Dory Jr. claims that the accident and injuries were real. Race held the title only a few months before dropping it to Brisco. He performed regularly throughout the NWA, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic, Georgia, Florida and Central States regions, through the 1970s and early 1980s.

The business today has been void of workers like the Funk and Jack Brisco over the past couple of decades. The idea of shorter matches with high intensity has stripped down the idea of the 60-minute time limit draw and the “Iron Man Match” where superstars like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Ric Flair could all show off their abilities as mat technicians instead of high-flying acts that cannot spend five minutes trading holds and locking elbows.

Cesaro, along with a few others today bring back that “reality” to the business.

Daniel Bryan mixes his mat and martial arts skills with his high-flying high spots. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are the future of the company with their ability to change styles, promote hardcore wrestling and keep the fans entertained. The idea that Jack Swagger could be another Angle or Gagne failed miserably. It is Cesaro who could carry the company on his back and has not been given the chance.

I would have loved to have seen Cesaro take on Gagne or Billy Robinson or even someone like Funk in their primes. That is part of the mystique of the business and the nostalgia that links characters and generations. Unfortunately, the way the WWE has mapped out his immediate future, the possibility of seeing how great he can truly be is wasted because of circumstance and the failure to realize that this WWE truly has in its camp.

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