The past week hasn't been a very good one for the "smark" ("smart mark") fans of the collective "Internet Wrestling Community" (IWC).
We've seen long time favorite Dolph Ziggler suffer a legitimate (and severe) concussion at the hands of the hated Jack Swagger, the vaunted Shield lost their first match as a team (by DQ, but still,) and smark messiah CM Punk seems no closer to a return.
But perhaps the worst news to come out is that the Swiss sensation Antonio Cesaro is believed by top WWE officials, including chairman Vince McMahon, to be "boring." Despite being one of the longest reigning US champions in recent history, Cesaro fell into the dreaded "creative has nothing for you" trap that has derailed so many promising careers in the past.
If this is truly the case and not, as some have suggested, merely a diversion in order to swerve the smarks when Cesaro wins one of the Money in the Bank briefcases later this summer, then WWE creative has only itself to blame for making one of the best in-ring talents on the roster today appear "boring."
In a world where the oft-injured botchmaster Sin Cara can earn an Intercontinental title shot in his first televised match since returning from his most recent injury, this strikes a deep blow to smark fans everywhere. (Seriously, how much video footage did they have to search through to find the one kid who was clapping for Sin Cara's return?)
And it doesn't stop there. Far lesser talents with the charisma of inanimate objects currently populate just about every major title scene in one way or another. Jack Swagger leaves nothing but a bored audience and the broken body of his opponent in the ring after his matches, yet is still getting world title shots. Ryback, who was tentatively over as a monster face on a major pay-per-view (PPV) losing streak underwent an awkward heel turn and now gets to have a WWE title shot against John Cena by virtue of....??? By finishing 2nd in the Royal Rumble? Beating Zack Ryder in an eating contest at the catering table? Or did he just refuse to leave the ring until he got a title shot (like he did for his first title shot?)
If WWE had spent even half the time and effort building up a legitimate in-ring talent like Cesaro as they did trying (and failing) to build up Swagger and Ryback as credible and deserving title contenders, they'd find themselves in a much better place right now. With a little effort in building him up over the last few months and a few character tweaks, I contend that Cesaro would be a far better fit in either feud than the square pegs being shoved into those round holes currently.
It all comes down to the issue of "opportunity." Cesaro is only "boring" because he hasn't been given anything interesting to do. When given a chance, he has proven that he can be entertaining outside of the ring. And that isn't even mentioning how entertaining he can be inside of it. And he can even make it entertaining with the worst possible opponents. When given an actual opportunity, Cesaro has been anything but boring so far in his WWE tenure.
So if creative is still having trouble finding something for Cesaro to do, let me give them some ideas:
Swiss Guard Cesaro:
The beret/sunglasses look Cesaro was rocking prior to his match with Kingston actually gave me this idea.
First, they need to do something I've been clamoring for for quite some time now, which is put an actual heel authority figure in place. Paul Heyman would be ideal but it could be anyone, so long as they have some actual authority. Then, have Cesaro act as their muscle in a similar way that Big Bossman was used by Vince McMahon during the Attitude Era. A sort of "head of security" type who can "take care" of problematic face wrestlers in the ring for the authority figure.
I think this would be a great role to reestablish him as an upper-mid card contender and could be used as a launchpad to an even higher level in the future.
Kings of Wrestling Reunited:
Kassius Ohno is rumored to be amongst the next crop of NXT stars to be called up to the main roster, and reuniting him with Cesaro as part of a strong tag team would do wonders all around. Throw in Paul Heyman as a potential manager and book them strongly. It not only gives Ohno something to do immediately upon call up, but also will serve to reinvigorate Cesaro and the tag team division at the same time.
Win a Money in the Bank briefcase:
This seems to be the popular conspiracy theory around why Cesaro seems to be getting dumped on by the brain trust over at WWE. Break him down now and then swerve everyone when he suddenly wins an all-but guaranteed opportunity to become WWE or World Heavyweight Champion.
Granted, past Money in the Bank winners, much like the secondary title holders, have been treated rather poorly prior to their cash in. These things have been as much of a curse as the blessing they are intended to be, as they often become merely a decoration for the top jobbers on the roster. This fact has led many fans to fear it when their favorite wrestlers win the MitB case or a secondary title, but someday, this will change. Hopefully someone talented like Cesaro holding it can bring that change.
At the end of the day, for all the good things Cesaro brings to the table, he has a lot working against him. In particular are the facts that he is foreign and got his start on the independent circuit. While you can point to a few exceptions, the overwhelming majority of top WWE stars have been and remain Americans. (Or, at worst, Canadian.)
Additionally, while there have been some breakthrough successes of former indy guys at the very top of the roster in Punk and Bryan, the overwhelming majority of WWE main eventers remain home grown talents. This one appears to be trending away, but there is still a long way to go. Hopefully Cesaro can be one of the next to break through (along with guys like Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins who are also well on their way.)
So what say you CSSers? Got any more ideas to make Cesaro less "boring"?
This is the expressed opinion of Eric B. Stephen and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cageside Seats, their staff or SBNation.