WWE Superstar Cesaro rejected a new deal with WWE this year and walked away from the comapany in February 2022. It marked the end of over a decade of service to Vince McMahon’s company, with only a single United States Championship as singles gold to show for it.
While he found success in tag team wrestling with multiple partners (Jack Swagger, Tyson Kidd and Sheamus to name a few), it was singles success he craved most but could not achieve.
This was not due to his own ability in wrestling. Once he stepped into the ring, Cesaro was one of the best wrestlers in the world. He would have the match of the night weekly, and when given the chance would have fans begging for him to get a run as the world heavyweight champion in WWE.
However, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon thought different. He never saw Cesaro as a WWE Champion. He considered him a good wrestler but not one who could connect with the audience as a top star needs to do to be a main eventer in WWE.
He explained these reasons on the Stone Cold Podcast, confirming that he didn’t think Cesaro connected with the audience “because he’s Swiss“.
This, of course, in nonsense. One could argue that his microphone skills were not up to scratch for a top star (although that did not matter for Roman Reigns in 2014), to say that he didn’t connect with the audience is false.
The pop from the crowd when he won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30 was deafening, and the hordes of fans carrying their homemade “Cesaro Section” signs filled arenas in WWE in 2014.
After he won said-Battle Royale, WWE put Cesaro with Paul Heyman and simply used him to keep Brock Lesnar relevant while he wasn’t on TV. It was a huge waste for one of the world’s best workers and since that moment WWE never took Cesaro seriously as a star in their company.
He went through a number of gimmicks throughout his career in WWE, but WWE rejected one that could have helped him move from the midcard and into the main event scene.
Cesaro’s James Bond Gimmick
Cesaro has since left WWE and signed for AEW under the name “Claudio Castagnoli”, where he is a member of the Blackpool Combat Club.
However, before he left WWE, former WWE manager Zeb Coulter who was part of the creative team pitched a new gimmick for Cesaro. Also known as Dutch Mantell, Coulter was most famous for managing Cesaro and Jack Swagger in the “Real Americans” tag team, as well as teaming up with Alberto Del Rio later on in his career.
Coulter left WWE in 2017, but before he did he revealed that he pitched a new gimmick for Cesaro. He told the Smack Talk Podcast that before he left WWE, he pitched a new gimmick for Cesaro where he would portray a “James Bond” type character, seeing him as suave and charming due to his European heritage.
“Before I left, I said, ‘Listen, why don’t you guys think about this? Why don’t you guys try to do this James Bond 007 look for Cesaro.’ Just see how that’d come out because he looks like a classic European, and he dresses nice, he looks nice. – Zeb Coulter on pitching a James Bond gimmick for Cesaro.
While Cesaro did not portray a character similar to the famous British spy, he did take some things for the legendary character. When he returned after Wrestlemania in 2016, he walked out to the ring wearing a suit, with his background similar to the famous James Bond “gun barrel” opening.