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Cesaro’s the latest guy to position himself for a Universal title shot with a great Talking Smack promo

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We’ve seen Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Big E do it. On the Feb. 13 Talking Smack, it was Cesaro’s turn.

The Swiss Superman was Kayla Braxton & Paul Heyman’s final guest. He briefly shared the desk with Bryan, with whom he’d earned a spot in an Elimination Chamber match for a shot at Universal champion Roman Reigns later on the Feb. 21 PPV of the same name. But Cesaro got the last word.

Like DB, Cesaro’s speech was built around his love of wrestling. And like Bryan, that sets him up as an excellent foil for a mercenary like Reigns.

“I can’t remember the last time I had a chance at the Universal title, or any championship in WWE. And I’m still going because I believe that hard work pays off. And I believe because every single person out there that believes in me and that has belief in me since I came to the United States, since I came to WWE - because guess what? I did not come to WWE when I came to the United States. Oh no. I worked my way up the hard way. I worked every single day to get here. I worked every single day to be here.

“And you know what? I love it. I love every single moment of it because that’s who I am and that’s what I believe in. So to every single person out there who believes what they’re doing is right, no matter what everybody else said, no matter what everybody believes, no matter what everybody wants to tell them - they feel they’re right. They’re doing it the right way, with the right integrity, with the right motives in mind - that matters. Your word matters. Your action matters. Every single thing you do matters. No matter what everyone else says about you. No matter what everyone else feels about you. What you feel in here [points to his heart] and what you believe in - that’s what matters. And that’s why you need to believe in yourself, and that’s why you’re gonna be successful.

“And that’s why I am gonna be Universal champion given the chance. And you know that Paul. And I know that. Kayla knows that. You know that. You know that. Nicky knows it. Laura knows it. Bryan knows it. And every single person at home sitting in the as we call it Cesaro Section knows it, and has every knows it. I appreciate you, I appreciate what you believe in, and that’s why I fight. Every single day. And I love it. Love, Paul. Because I love wrestling. Love will always succeed.”

Will SmackDown follow-up on this? There’s a lot of tension between Cesaro and Heyman based on when the former was the latter’s guy for a while back in 2014 (and Cesaro just stood behind Paul while he cut promos about Brock Lesnar) that I’m almost positive won’t get addressed on SmackDown. And really, the jury is still out on whether they’ll pick up the threads for Bryan and E. That’s the risk of getting too invested in the storylines that come from the less scripted, more loosely managed fallout shows like Talking Smack and Raw Talk.

But at least they give performers like Cesaro time to speak from the heart and build connections to us fans. It’s time they probably wouldn’t get otherwise.