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Wrestling: Claudio Castagnoli

Claudio Castagnoli (born December 27, 1980), also known by the ring name Antonio Cesaro which was then shortened to Cesaro, is a Swiss professional wrestler, signed with WWE, where he was the WWE United States Champion. He was previously known for his work (under his real name) in Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, CHIKARA, and the Japan-based Pro Wrestling NOAH. Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former 2x CZW World Tag Team Champion, a former 2x ROH World Tag Team Champion, a former 2x CHIKARA Campeon de Parejas (tag team champion), a former PWG World Heavyweight Champion and a former JCW (Juggalo) Tag Team Champion, the inaugural winner of the WWE Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy, and has also held several titles in Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"Swiss Trope Holding":

  • The Ace: was this in In 2008/2009 while in CHIKARA.
  • Always Someone Better: Unintentionally this to his "Real American" partner Jack Swagger, who failed to qualify for the 2014 Elimination Chamber while Cesaro succeeded. Then when Swagger managed to redeem himself by winning #1 contendership for the IC Title, it ended up being overshadowed by Cesaro's shocking victory over WWE World Champion Randy Orton.
  • Arch-Enemy: (in CHIKARA): Mike Quackenbush, Eddie Kingston, the steel steps.
    • In WWE, The Miz. One of his rivalries in the WWE was an old signature rivalry, though, with Sami Zayn.
  • Bald of Evil/Bald of Awesome: Subverted; he is balding rather than all bald.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Losing to Sara Del Rey at Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel. In fact, this caused both Del Rey AND Daizee Haze to be kicked out of the BDK.
    • He then went on to lose to Icarus and was so disgusted by this that he quit CHIKARA and signed with WWE under the name Antonio Cesaro.
  • Breakup Breakout:
    • By far the most successful of the Swiss Money Holding trio. Ares is still working the indies but isn't getting much attention, and Marc Roudin retired long enough ago that many fans don't even know Swiss Money Holding was a trio.
    • Also the breakout of the Kings of Wrestling, now that Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno has been released from his WWE developmental deal.
    • Temporary became the breakout member of The Real Americans, getting much more of the spotlight as an individual wrestler than Jack Swagger. The changes made when Heyman became his manager and Jack Swagger's feud with Rusev complicate matters.
  • Carpet of Virility: He's not exceptionally hairy, but in the very well-shaved modern WWE, his chest hair is apparently enough to warrant inclusion on his action figure.
  • Cast from Hit Points: One big problem of the Giant Swing is that it makes him just as dizzy as his opponent.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Doesn't appear ridiculously toned (in comparison to, say, a guy like John Cena) but he's pretty freakin' strong. He's already got a Neutralizer on Brodus Clay and The Great Khali to his credit. Made all the more impressive that due to Khali's lack of leg mobility, he was unable to push off the ground to the extent that most other wrestlers can. Essentially, Cesaro deadlifted a 7 foot 4, 400lbs man twice!
    • He then performed a Giant Swing on Khali!
    • In his February 18th, 2014 match with John Cena, Cesaro managed to deadlift Cena (245 1lbs.) into a superplex...from the goddamn ring apron. "Swiss Superman" is not an exaggerating nickname for Cesaro.
      • The Raw after Wrestlemania XXX, he manages to the same to former tag team partner Swagger who is 270.
    • He wins the Andre the Giant Battle Royale at Wrestlemania XXX by hoisting and then bodyslamming the Big Show (450 lbs!) over the ring ropes. And on the following Smackdown, he's able to use the Neutralizer on him (and is only unable to perform the Big Swing by Jack Swagger's run-in).
    • When fighting Mark Henry he put the Neutralizer on him!
  • Die, Chair! Die!: On two occasions, he's had the ring steps slide out from under him when he tried to get into the ring. His response was to European Uppercut the hell out of them.
  • The Dragon: To Chris Hero in the Kings of Wrestling and Ares in the BDK.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Not so much him, but his title reign. After holding the title for over half a year and then not having a match on Wrestlemania AT ALL, Cesaro lost his title to Kofi Kingston in a match on RAW that seemed to have little to no setup.
  • Exact Words: He stated that no American could beat him for the US title. Which turned out to be true when he was defeated by the Ghanaian born Kofi Kingston.
  • Finishing Move: The (Gotch Style) Neutralizer, Very European/ Swiss Death (pop-up European uppercut, or a European uppercut to a diving/springboarding opponent).
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Downplayed as a Real American; he loved America and smugly waved the American flag and wore the flag on his tights. He just hated the people in it.
  • Groin Attack: How he retained his US Championship at Elimination Chamber 13 against The Miz. Miz was working on Cesaro's knee in order put in The Figure Four Leglock, so Ceasaro tripped Miz and got Miz's knee in his groin and the ref had to call for a DQ.
    • Also, the execution of Cesaro's Neutralizer appears to put rather a lot of pressure on the opponent's crotch region.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: His yodeling was the worst sound WWE had the gall to broadcast since they released Jillian Hall.
  • Human Hammer Throw: The Cesaro SWING!
  • Immigrant Patriotism: A key element of his gimmick, especially as part of the Real Americans. In an inversion of the Foreign Wrestling Heel trope, this (combined with his actual in-ring skill garnering an increasingly large following) actually made him, if not an Anti-Villain, much more sympathetic.
  • Jerk Jock: First appeared on WWE TV as a somewhat arrogant former rugby player.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Kicked Aksana to the curb - In five different languages, of course.
    • And then he kicked Zeb Colter to the curb for Paul Heyman. Colter (and Swagger) did not take it well.
  • Last Name Basis: From February 2014, he's just called and billed as "Cesaro."
  • Most Annoying Sound: Invoked during the thankfully briefly lived gimmick where he yodeled his way to the ring.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Very European," his HUGE pop-up uppercut. Back when Cesaro was in WWE's developmental program FCW, commentator William Regal said during one of Cesaro's matches that he was "envious" of Cesaro's ability to do that move.
    • His 100-Rotation Giant Swing.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Often drank coffee during promos while working the indies. He even used to maintain a photo blog documenting his coffee intake (www.very-european.com)
  • New Old Flame: Apparently for Aksana.
    • Noodle Incident: Of course, even though Aksana's been on WWE TV for about a year beforehand, he was never brought up and, except for the fact that they were romantically involved, their history is never mentioned.
  • Nice Hat/Cool Shades: His most recent outfit.
  • Omniglot: Apparently speaks five different languages, as he at the start of every match he had with Aksana as his manager , says one word in each, a fact that makes sense as Switzerland has four official languages (German, Italian, French and Romanch).
    • Woolseyism: Since Romanch isn't exactly common terminology in North America, any time he went through his "Five languages" spiel, Aksana would simply say "In English," "In French," "In Italian," "In German," and "In Swiss."
  • Only One Name: WWE dropped the "Antonio" from "Antonio Cesaro"... the rumored reason being Vince McMahon didn't think that "Antonio" was a tough name.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: He isn't short, but he looks almost skinny next to the bulked up standard of the WWE, but possesses an incredible amount of core strength that lets him perform suplexes and throws on people like The Great Khali and The Big Show.
  • Popularity Power/Tweener: Has drifted in this direction ever since the introduction of his Giant Swing in WWE. Despite playing a heel gimmick, when Cesaro uses his Giant Swing (which has now ascended to Signature Move status for him), he plays to the crowd and receives reactions much like a face would.
    • When he reveals that he's a "Paul Heyman guy" on 4.7.14 you'd expect him to be booed. Nope, the crowd supports him all the way.
  • Power Stable: The Kings of Wrestling.
    • (in CHIKARA): Die Brüderschaft des Kreuzes (BDK) (with Delirious, Sara Del Rey, Tim Donst, Jakob Hammermeier, Daizee Haze, Lince Dorado, Tursas, Pinkie Sanchez, Ares, Derek Sabato and Dieter Von Steigerwalt.)
  • Prematurely Bald: In the early 2000s he had a coif to rival Conan O'Brien's. Then it started receding. Then it kept receding. Then it receded even further and Claudio gave up on it and shaved his head.
  • Product Placement: The Ricola Bomb.
  • Put on a Bus: Left Chikara for WWE.
  • The Quiet One: When he and Aksana were together they weren't very verbose. She basically told people to listen to him say a word about something (usually himself) in five languages, and he did.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Zig-zagged in his match with William Regal on NXT. Near the end, after seemingly knocking out Regal with a surprise dropkick after an absolutely grueling 15+ minutes, Cesaro geared Regal for the Gotch-style Neutralizer. You could tell from the look on his face that he didn't want to put Regal down like that. When Regal showed a faint sign of life, though, Cesaro fired up and hit Regal with an intense Neutralizer for the win.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: If he's not in wrestling gear, he's often seen with a messenger bag that looks suspiciously like a man-purse... and at least once on the indies actually wore a full pink dress suit!
    • The European Carry-All: It's supposed to be another reminder he's European because WWE is known for having the subtlety of getting hit by an ice-cream truck.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: In Chikara: Jermaine Dupri with Nas and Monica's "I've Got to Have It" (Instrumental).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He sure loved giving these speeches to Americans during his "Anti-American Foreigner" phase. Many of said people gave him the Shut Up, Hannibal! speech, but he kept going on and on.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: It's not uncommon to hear some fans complain that "Antonio Cesaro" doesn't sound like a Swiss name. To be fair it isn't. "Antonio" is Spanish (but is also common in Italy), "Cesaro" is Italian. Switzerland doesn't have its own language, as its citizens speak German, French, Italian, and Romansh, languages from which their names are derived. Romansh is the closest thing there is to a Swiss language, and even that is a Latin-based, German-influenced language spoken by a minority of Swiss people. That being said, his real name Claudio Castagnoli is also a name with Spanish and Italian roots.
  • Red Baron: Occasionally known by "The Swiss Death", also the name of one of his signature moves.
    • In WWE, he's been known as the "Swiss Superman." "King of Swing" is starting to pick up some steam now as well.
  • The Resenter: He resented that Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were more popular with the FCW fans than he was.
  • Shoryuken: His Very European Uppercut is basically a standing variation. He does have a jumping variation done off the middle rope, but it looks more like Sol Badguy's Volcanic Viper.
  • Shout-Out: His Neutralizer finisher is a shout out to Karl Gotch's classic Gotch-Style Piledriver, with "Gotch-Style" even being part of the Neutralizer's name at first.
  • Signature Move: He's gotten over by using a giant swing, a move that not only looks staid and ineffective, but hasn't been part of any wrestler's regular repertoire in over thirty years. In his indy days, he gave Grizzly Redwood a 100 rotation giant swing. In WWE, he did it by putting Christian through it for nearly a full 90 seconds nonstop, and then putting it on the Great Khali and an ever-larger array of wrestlers to showcase his frankly ridiculous strength.
  • Swiss with Army Knives: In Kayfabe he was in the military back in Switzerland before going into pro rugby and then into WWE.
  • Tag Team (as Castagnoli): The Kings of Wrestling (with Chris Hero and Sara Del Rey).
    • Swiss Money Holding (with Ares).
    • In WWE, The Real Americans with Jack Swagger.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Tights: Usually Swiss, but would also wear American during his US Championship run to show his superiority.
  • Villain Team-Up: With Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger in summer 2013.
  • Wham Line: On the 4/7/14 RAW:
    Cesaro: I am not a Zeb Colter guy...I'm a Paul Heyman guy.
  • Wicked Cultured: Very European.
  • World's Strongest Man: According to Zeb Colter, Cesaro is. This is somewhat doubtful but his strength is nothing to overlook.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He chokeslammed Daizee Haze out of the BDK.
  • You Have Failed Me: The reason he broke up with Aksana: she failed to stop Santino Marella from pinning him, so he kicked her to the curb (in five different languages).
  • You Look Familiar: Fans of CHIKARA and/or Ring of Honor will, of course, recognize him as Claudio Castagnoli from the Kings of Wrestling, all of whom were at one point employed by WWE.note 
Chris CandidoTurnOfTheMillennium/Professional WrestlingJohn Cena
Chris CandidoProfessional WrestlingJohn Cena

alternative title(s): Antonio Cesaro
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