This SmackDown Review is worth focusing on one subject - the rise of Cesaro. Although the six- and eight-man tag team matches showed how much the WWE has stock in the Shield and the Usos, the big surprise coming out of SmackDown was that Cesaro beat the WWE World Heayweight Champion Randy Orton cleanly in the middle of the ring with his Neutralizer finisher.
There is no doubt that the fans are behind Cesaro, and so is Vince McMahon. When you have Vince making an executive decision to remove "Antonio" from his name as a result of not sounding tough enough, that is at least a glimpse of a promising future for the former United States champion.
After ditching Aksana and eventually losing the US title after a lengthy run, Cesaro did not have an impressive win-loss record, and was simply used on many occasions as a midcarder to make someone else look good. However, when he aligned himself with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger, forming the Real Americans, his popularity started to rise.
Especially after he started to do the Giant Swing, which is one of the most popular moves in WWE today.
Now, it appears as if Cesaro is slowly breaking away from the Real Americans tag team, and is moving closer to the main event scene. Unfortunately, Jack Swagger may receive what I like to call the "Jannetty treatment," but at least he has World Heavyweight and United States championship reigns on his resume.
Cesaro, on the other hand, looks to be in the process of being groomed as a legitimate main-event player. However, one may be a bit hesitant in whether this is just a phase, or if he will be vying for the WWE WHC on more occasions in the near future other than the Elimination Chamber match.
Moreover, it is hard to include anyone in the WWE WHC picture on a trial and error basis. That was what the World Heavyweight Championship was for. Now, they are unified, and if your name is not Randy Orton, John Cena or Batista, your chances are slim in becoming champion anytime soon. Even the most popular person in the WWE - Daniel Bryan - is not a top contender for the title, and most likely will not be for the foreseeable future.
However, John Cena had a decent US title run and a few notable feuds (Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero, Undertaker, Rikishi, Big Show) before he became the face of the company, so the opportunity is not impossible for Cesaro to do the same thing. It just seems as if WWE is so reluctant in really giving the go-ahead to the future stars of the company, so Cesaro has a steeper hill to climb.
So, here is a chance for you to sound off: Will Cesaro be WWE World Heavyweight Champion before WrestleMania 31? If not, how long do you give him, or is this just a phase that will subside before the year is over? Comment with your thoughts below.