Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The 2015 TWB 100: Number Five

Cesaro kicks off the top five!
Photo Credit: WWE.com
5. Cesaro
Points: 5851
Ballots: 63
Highest Vote: 1st Place (Andrew Rosin, Stygimoloch)
Last Year's Placement: 3rd Place

TH: The Swiss Superman packed a year's worth of primo material, maybe even more, into a truncated eight month run. The injury bug is the worst. He and Tyson Kidd had a run with the Tag Team Championships that was marked by having one of the best matches on any given show with a wide array of opponents. Usos? Check. New Day? Check. Prime Time Players? Check. Their tag team synergy went deeper than matching earphones and cute clapping chants. When Kidd unfortunately got hurt, Cesaro was left in the void reaching for a brass ring. So what did he do? He went into overdrive, having perhaps the best matches with John Cena of anyone during a year where Cena was at his peak in the ring. Cesaro did everything. His feats of strength were more impressive than anyone's. He could grapple with the best of them, even so much as to say if he were plopped in the middle of an EVOLVE show with the #grapplefuck lads, he'd outshine them all. He made his opponents look good through superior selling. And he even flew through the air with the greatest of ease. Seriously, look at this statuesque model of a man and then remember back to when he was throwing corkscrew springboard European uppercuts like he was a fucking New Japan junior heavyweight. That's how good Cesaro was in only eight months of action in 2015. Imagine if he had a full year. Imagine.

Elliot Imes: Cesaro stopped caring about whether or not he was doing the "right" thing Vince McMahon's eyes, and instead just went out and had baller matches whenever he was given the chance. He made himself noticed, and then he got injured at the worst time. This was terrible, but at least we know that when he comes back, he'll have his spot waiting for him.

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Joey O.: What is there left to say about Cesaro at this point? He's simply the best all-around wrestler today who always makes ever move look crisp and sharp and real. From his tag team with Tyson Kidd to his feud against Kevin Owens to his US Title matches with John Cena, Cesaro grabbed every brass ring imaginable last year. In an unfortunate running theme in this list, Cesaro was added to the lengthy WWE disabled list in the fall after his highest-profile year in WWE. Bonus points for THIS.

Frank McCormick: If we voted simply based on the pathos contained within the noise we made when we heard a wrestler had succumbed to The Curse, Cesaro would win hands down. I don't think the Swiss Superman has had a bad match in his career, and he certainly didn't in 2015. If anything, he just kept getting better, which quite frankly doesn't seem possible, but is, somehow. He manages to be versatile, whilst also being himself: whether it is as a base for flippy dudes, or a walrus in a HOSS FIGHT, his feats of strength and technical sharpness is always on evidence. Those corkscrew uppercuts he was busting out were works of moving art on par with any Picasso you can name. His absence is keenly felt, and his return much anticipated.

Butch Rosser: BEST (male) IN THE WORLD~! Every time The Fabulous Tony C touched something it turned to gold, as has been the case for years now. His team with Tyson Kidd went from furrow inducing since it was a clear sign of Creative failing their name yet again to popular and widely lauded tag champs. Matter of fact, they got so hot they turned a bunch of young brothers into bad guys in the process; you don't get rainbows and unicorn horns without TND having to eat dirt from Run-TKC. When Kidd suffered his unfortunate injury Cesaro rolled solo and put on two excellent matches with John Cena, and it looked like he was going to finally level up. And then he got hurt, too. F i g u r e s. No matter: from Ric Flair, Stone Cold, and Mick Foley to us Internet nerds to the casual fan, all you need to do is seem him work once to know "that guy is awesome", and when he returns in a few weeks we'll all be there, welcoming him back and rooting him on with signs high in the air.

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Brandon House: Oh man, Cesaro is great and I will fight you if you say otherwise. Dude is strong in a ridiculous way and agile in an even more ridiculous way. Just when you think you have a handle on what Cesaro can do, he'll do like a front flip out of a move, hit a picture perfect dropkick, then perform some jaw-dropping feat of strength. He started the year killing it in his tag team with Tyson Kidd, the matches against the Usos and post-turn New Day being great, kept on killing it with wild matches against Cena and Kevin Owens, and I'm still bummed that his year ended with him injured and out past WrestleMania. But even with a resume of ten months, he was still AMAZING.

Stygimoloch: The likes of Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami dropped in my ballot due to how much time they lost to injury. Cesaro, subject to the same unfortunate circumstance, *still* ended up as my number one. I honestly can't think of any wrestler in North America who entertained me so much over the course of last year. Everything from his gestures and tics to his selling, from his ring positioning to his athletic versatility, is mesmerisingly good. After what felt like forever in background roles and stop-start pushes, in 2015 WWE finally gave Cesaro the spotlight he's grabbed those brass rings for so many times, and he more than delivered at every turn. If there's any justice to be had in wrestling he'll be welcomed back from injury as a bonafide star. Funnily enough, if the TWB was global then he might not be my #1, in all honesty; Tetsuya Naito and Io Shirai were both stellar in 2015. I still feel comfortable in saying that Cesaro is the most all around complete in-ring performer of this generation.

Ryan Foster: Cesaro is probably the most Vince-Proof wrestler on the WWE roster. Any attempts to make him boring or push him to the back of the line are destined to fail. 2015 saw the company pair Cesaro with dead-in-the-water Tyson Kidd. The result was Cesaro getting Kidd over and developing one of the best (though tragically short-lived) teams of the year. Cesaro’s series with Cena was one of the most compelling things to happen on WWE TV all year. As is usually the case, WWE quickly forgot it happened but we sure as hell won’t.

Bill DiFilippo: He is perfect and I have never gotten more joy out of cheering for a person in my life.

Joshua Browns: Every time I try to type something rational about what an immensely talented human Cesaro is and what an absolute crime it is that he’s not in the main event picture right now, all I winding up typing is GAH VINCE YOU SUCK WHY WON’T YOU JUST RETIRE ALREADY GAAAAAH, so I’m gonna skip it and save myself the heartburn. Come back soon, Swiss Superman. I’ll buy all the coffee you want.