Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 05/12

#1 Randy Orton [--] (26-10-1)
The Viper keeps ahead of the pack: pulling double duty with wins over Damien Sandow (RAW; 05/06) and Antonio Cesaro (Main Event; 05/08), this week! Sheamus was back in action and keeps his foot in the door, while Alberto Del Rio does much the same with a non-title win over World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler. It's worth remember Ziggler took the title from ADR via his long held Money in the Bank contract. We asked questions about the legitimacy of the win, moving forward, in a previous Countdown [04/14/2013]. At this point, it's getting fair to say Ziggler and the World title are far from a convincing match.

#2 [--] Alberto Del Rio (24-4-1)
#3 [--] Sheamus (23-9-1)
#4 [--] Mark Henry (18-4-0)
#5 [--] Jack Swagger (17-4-2)
#6 [--] Kane (17-13-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [--] Bryan Danielson (17-14-1) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [--] Ryback (16-6-0)
#9 [--] Big Show (15-12-1)
#10 [--] Wade Barrett (13-15-1) [Intercontinental Champion]

#1 [--] Kane & Bryan Danielson (12-5-0) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Sheamus & Randy Orton (9-2-0)
#3 [--] Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns (8-0-0)
#4 [--] Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (8-0-0)
#5 [--] Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (8-0-0)
#6 [--] Brodus Clay & Tensai (5-2-1)
#7 [RE] Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (4-3-0)
#8 [-1] Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (4-6-1)
#9 [-1] Sheamus & Big Show (3-1-0)
#10 [-1] Randy Orton & Big Show (3-1-0)

Superstar Spotlight:
#19 Antonio Cesaro (8-23-1)
I put Antonio Cesaro under the spotlight less than two months ago [03/31/2013]. At that time, he was the US Champion. Shortly after Wrestlemania, he lost the belt to Kofi Kingston in one of the biggest WTF booking decisions of 2013 [04/21/2013]. I wouldn't say things have gone from bad to worse for Cesaro, but WWE's capacity to create missed opportunities is a source of great dismay and disappointment.

As they always say, win/loss scores don't matter much in pro wrestling. Cesaro may have only won a single match since that last spotlight, but he's been competing to a high standard week after week, enjoying a Main Event match with Randy Orton on Wednesday, shortly after the aforementioned win on RAW [against Zack Ryder]. There's hope to be found, however fleeting it may turn out to be.

I think his no nonsense, classic wrestler style is refreshing and he carries it off well. The problem is his surroundings. For that style to work you need to plug it into interesting match-ups, rivalries and storylines. The US title was an initial strong endorsement, but it went nowhere. Somewhere after holding the belt for a while he should've found himself an arch-rival, been involved in a decent feud or two, and had a good reason to drop the title.

Even if the situation had been something like Ryback destroying him for the belt - it would've connected him to something of significance. He would've been a passive participant in it, but a loss with a purpose rubs off well. It could've been parlayed into a new push for Cesaro as a pure competitor, fighting his way back to the title (making the title significant, building his character, filling a few months with easy matches, building to another big title bout).

Maybe they'll build something out of the Kofi situation, but personally, I'm not feeling it. Dropping the belt to a guy who's been off the radar that long just further diminishes Cesaro - particularly after relegating him off PPV and even out of pre-show matches. He needs someone to grapple with and a situation of significance. His surprising strength is great, his no nonsense catch as catch can is a really refreshing change of pace. He just needs equal competitors to build a legacy. Situations that mean something - to Cesaro, or others.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records. Tallied results only include matches broadcast during WWE 2013 programming. At present, this includes RAW (Mondays), Main Event (Wednesdays), Smackdown (Friday), and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

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