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Top 10 Cesaro Matches of the Decade

December 23, 2019 | Posted by TJ Hawke
Cesaro John Cena Raw 2-17-14 Image Credit: WWE

10. Claudio Castagnoli & Chris Hero vs. The Briscoes – 6/18/2010

This went from very stupid to very awesome. Once they stopped OBEYING THE RULES THAT DID NOT EXIST, they worked a great brawl featuring all sorts of hot violence and destruction. I love that the Kings essentially went over clean here (you can’t really cheat in a No DQ match), but that they still left enough on the table for future rematches. The Kings came across as a very dominant team that were just flat-out better than the Briscoes. I am perfectly fine with that considering the Briscoes were so clearly establish by that point.

The final 8-10 minutes of this match might be the best thing that ever happened in the Adam Pearce era of Ring of Honor. (****)


9. Claudio Castagnoli & Chris Hero vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin – 5/8/2010

In terms of pure, in-ring tag team wrestling, I’m not sure what more you could want from pro wrestling. When you watch this match, you feel like you are watching the two very best tag teams in the world go at it, and that they could do this match a million times before it got boring. If this match had more context or a decisive finishing stretch, it could have been perfect. All of that of course is what makes the finish so damn annoying.

I know that ROH had to deal with unforeseen political issues when deciding on a finish to this match, but they still managed to execute it poorly with that even in mind. Why they would possibly want to put the Briscoes in a situation like this is completely baffling to me. They had to know that this would backfire with the crowd. Also, why would you want any babyface tag team to end an awesome match like that before the heels even have a chance to cheat? It just doesn’t make sense on any level even if you accept the fact that the Kings could pin the Guns and that the Guns could not win the titles. (****1/4)


8. Cesaro vs. John Cena – 6/29/2015

Image result for cesaro cena 2015 us title"

This was for Cena’s United States Championship.

Originally reviewed here.

This match was both a showcase for Cesaro’s potential as a main-eventer and Cena’s ability to make talented heels look like stars. Unlike so many heels in the WWE today, Cesaro really knows how to keep control segments fun and interesting. Doing simple spots like the standing double stomp really are just so much better than your garden-variety stuff in a WWE heat segment. Cena was pretty much equally great here, as he did not just run through his movez like he does in typical television matches with wrestlers much lower on the totem pole. Cesaro also was basically manhandling Cena towards the end, and he had him on the brink of defeat until Kevin Owensinterfered. This was the very rare case of a nonsense finish not bothering me as it was logical for Owens to not want Cena to lose to someone other than himself, and it gives Cesaro an easy justification for a rematch. If you watch this match and do not think Cesaro is capable of being a main-eventer in the WWE, you are blind. This was a great match. (****1/4)


7. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns – 11/16/2015

This was a quarterfinal match in the tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion after Seth Rollins had to vacate the title.

While I have a couple of nitpicks, this was an excellent match overall. My favorite part of the match was just the general tone in which Cesaro worked. For both his character and the performer, this was a huge opportunity that could not be wasted. So, Cesaro threw everything he had in his arsenal at Roman Reigns in a desperate bid to knock him off. He was never out of control though. He was fully prepared for just about every situation and even managed to sporadically go after Roman’s Superman Punch arm throughout the match.

Unfortunately for Cesaro, Reigns managed to eventually drop Cesaro on part of the apron, and Cesaro aggravated his injured arm in that spot. That gave Reigns the opportunity he needed to make the match competitive again. It even had a great payoff as Reigns got the opening he needed late in the match to win after Cesaro failed to connect on a Fucking Machine Suplex.

They then a genuinely creative sequence full of reversals, counters, and near-misses on finishers before Reigns finally connected on the Superman Punch/spear combo for the win. This was fun, exciting, featured solid selling overall (Reigns’ arm being worked over should have led to something more though), made Cesaro look like a main eventer in defeat, and continued the Reigns’ breakout year as a singles performer. Is the time right for Reigns to win the title as a babyface? Absolutely not. He’s at least delivering in the ring though. (****1/4)


6. Cesaro vs. Ilja Dragunov – 8/31/2019

The dynamic of Cesaro coming over for a show to do an open challenge and then having Ilja make his debut in response was perfect. It led to a very organically intense match. Ilja was naturally working fast and furiously with something to prove. Cesaro then matched his intensity as he could not afford to lose face in the situation. This caused both dudes to get progressively meaner and meaner in their quest to win the match. Cesaro of course came out on top in the end, but Ilja looked so great in defeat. This can be a new Cesaro/Zayn program for the fake UK show if they want. (****1/4)


5. Cesaro vs. William Regal – 11/21/2013

Image result for cesaro regal"

Originally reviewed here.

Everything about this match felt like a big deal (they even had Howard Finkel do the ring introductions!). If there was one thing missing from the Regal/Ambrose matches, it was the “big fight” feel. That probably speaks more to the FCW setting than it does to anything the competitors did to be fair. Even with a fairly cold crowd, the NXT arena in Full Sail just allows for the feeling of importance when the match warrants it. These two took advantage of the build/setting and had themselves a hell of a battle.

While the first stage of the match was filled with grappling, the match really picked up about a third of the way through when Cesaro started targeting Regal’s left leg. Just as Regal appeared to be finished off, he managed to get back into the match by going after the left arm to keep Cesaro at bay long enough to give himself a chance to win. Regal’s injured leg failed him though, and that gave Cesaro enough opportunities to finish him off. Cesaro ended up busting out a dropkick and a double stomp on the HEAD of Regal. I love when wrestlers save moves they don’t normally do for ultra-competitive matches where they truly *need* to use them. They allowed Cesaro to finish Regal off the Neutralyzer. Cesaro’s hesitance to put Regal away right away was a lovely character beat to give him a bit more depth. Beautiful stuff all around. (****1/4)


4. Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico – 1/29/2011

I remember thinking this match was great at the time, but it even managed to exceed that fond memory. The timing and the execution of their trademarked spots and reversals was just on another level here. Generico’s selling of the leg left a tiny bit to be desired in a few moments, but the injury played a big enough role down the stretch to make up for it. This is one of the best matches in either man’s career (possibly Claudio’s best singles match ever), and it’s also one of the best matches PWG history. (****1/2)


3. Cesaro vs. John Cena – 2/17/2014


I don’t know how many outstanding matches Cesaro had to have for the WWE to realize what they had in him. He came off like a killer and a star here, and yet this match is not really that significant beyond being excellent.

Cesaro took like 95% of the match and did it in his typical compelling fashion. Cesaro progressively got more and more over for the work in the match. Despite Cena’s excellent work making Cesaro look like a killer, the crowd did not want to support him any way. Cesaro and Cena wisely used that to their advantage and avoided serious repercussions for that dynamic. For the former, they teased the Giant Swing twice before finally delivering. For the latter, Cena won very quickly and practically out of nowhere with the AA to prevent the awkward scenario where the babyface makes a lengthy comeback all the while getting booed.

This was smart, compelling, and exciting. It should have been a big match in Cesaro’s career for more than just being great though. (****1/2)


2. Cesaro vs. John Cena – 7/28/2014


These two are magic together, and they delivered a heavy shot at the G1 that was either already happening or about to happen at the time. Cesaro dominated this compact match which was worked at a perfect pace and told a story that worked incredibly well for the crowd and the story. By holding off on the Cena comeback until the absolute last second, they both put Cesaro more over for taking 95% of a match with Cena and prevent the crowd from getting frustrated from too much Cena offense. Cena eventually had to bust out the super AA to finish off Cesaro, which (again) made Cesaro seem more impressive from requiring a super version of the finisher. Fantastic match. (****1/2)


1. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn – 2/27/2014


This was the first NXT special match in history, and it was fittingly one of the best NXT matches ever.

Cesaro was of course brilliant with his work on top. He got control early but tried to take some shortcuts. Sami proved too good for that, and Cesaro needed to adjust his game if he was going to win. He did just that and wisely began to target Sami’s left leg that the commentators had explained was in the middle of being rehabbed by Sami. This gave Cesaro’s work a clear purpose, and an even clearer obstacle for Sami to overcome.

Sami realized that the work on his leg was devastating and that he was only going to have a few opportunities to make the match competitive again. He focused on connecting on a handful of big moves sporadically throughout the second half of the match. He was able to connect on most of them, but they were not enough.

Cesaro just overwhelmed Sami with unparalleled focus. Sami could not overcome Cesaro’s attack. He failed. While that makes for an exceptionally odd blowoff, it did make for one hell of a compelling match. (****1/2)



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My list of 5-Star Matches

article topics :

Claudio Castagnoli, TJ Hawke