The Wrestler of the Week award is designed to highlight a wrestler who made the most of his or her opportunities in a given week. While great matches or memorable promos certainly help a wrestler win Wrestler of the Week, the ultimate decision will also include consistency through the week and bonus points for pulling off a task with a higher degree of difficulty.
5/28/14 Wrestler of the Week – Cesaro
Smackdown lacked several of WWE’s top stars and Raw was a big disappointment, but that did not stop WWE’s fastest growing star from putting his best foot forward. In a week in many of the rivalries seemed stale and predictable, Cesaro bucked the trend and came up with a couple of segments with Sheamus that should make everyone interested to see their U.S. Title match at Payback. While it was initially confusing to see the popular heel Cesaro paired with heat magnet Paul Heyman, they have worked as a throwback duo to a time when nasty, rule-breaking heels got over with fans.
Although Cesaro did not have a match on Smackdown, he played an important part during the match between Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. Sheamus looked good in the match against Del Rio, who has become something of a utility heel for WWE who can fill in to just about any angle and put together a solid match. While they went at it, Cesaro and Heyman sat in on commentary. Cesaro refused to speak English while Heyman lectured Michael Cole for being too closed-minded to recognize the greatness of a true international star like Cesaro. Later in the match, Cesaro pulled Sheamus out of the ring to break his momentum. They tussled on the floor and Cesaro planted him with a Neutralizer. To punctuate the beat down, he gave Sheamus an exaggerated mock handshake to square the ledger from when he refused to shake his hand earlier in the week. The fake handshake and the condescending refusal to speak English are good heel moves, but what made them meaningful was the fact that Cesaro backed them up with his aggression.
Raw saw Cesaro get back in the ring and wrestle the best match of the week. He faced Rob Van Dam, a frequent opponent of his recently and one against whom he has shown great improvement. After some rough spots in their earlier matches, Cesaro and Van Dam worked very well together to show off Cesaro’s strength and Van Dam’s coordination. Moves like Van Dam’s moonsault off the apron that Cesaro caught and turned into a slam to the barricade are combinations that few could pull off together, so they truly made the most of their unique skills. Cesaro won the match with a German suplex when Bad News Barrrett distracted Van Dam. It was the second match Cesaro has won with the move in recent weeks. I appreciate when wrestlers win with moves other than their normal finishers because it creates more drama in the false finishes in their bigger matches.
Cesaro came out of Wrestlemania as a wrestler with main event momentum but no main event spot. It would have been easier to squander the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory on uninspired feuds well beneath the top of the card with only one world championship as a focal point. Instead, his union with Heyman has enhanced his legitimate heel heat and he has continued to find ways to show his individual skills in unique matches. While The Shield and Bray Wyatt carry the torch for the newer generation of stars at the top of the card, Cesaro remains one of the most consistent performers every week and still has an incredibly high ceiling.