WWE Paybakck 2016: Can Cesaro Restore the IC Title Luster?


Is Cesaro the man who can make the belt matter again?

Wrestlemania 31 was supposed to return the United States and Intercontinental titles back to prominence.  The show kicked off with Daniel Bryan surviving a ladder match to win the IC belt. He got the hero’s treatment with ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, Pat Patterson and Bret Hart showing their respect to the new champ. John Cena left the big show with the U.S. title firmly in his clutches.

Cena was able to restore some badly needed luster to the U.S. title thanks to his Monday Night Raw Open challenge. Battling stars like Sami Zayn, Stardust, Cesaro and Neville, Cena definitely raised the status of a title that needed enhancement. More often than not in the past decade, the U.S. title had been more hot potato than a meaningful indicator of the next big thing like it did when the title was the No. 2 title in NWA/WCW.

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Things didn’t work out as smoothly for the IC title. In a matter of weeks, Bryan’s triumphant comeback story was cut short as his injuries forced him to vacate a second title. The belt then quickly became hot shotted once again as it bounced from Ryback, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Owens again before losing it in the Wrestlemania 32 ladder match to Zack Ryder, who promptly lost it the next night to The Miz.

While the IC title is a better fit for The Miz than his ineffective WWE title run and he’s killing it as a delusional A-lister with Maryse, Miz isn’t the best qualified to make the belt meaningful again.

Fortunately, his immediate challenger at Payback can save what once was a highly esteemed title in the WWE.

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Cesaro is much more in the mold of classic IC title holders like Randy Savage, Tito Santana, Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect. If the WWE is convinced a lengthy Roman Reigns title reign is what’s best for business, Cesaro represents the perfect workhorse wrestler to steal the show on a nightly basis.

The IC champ doesn’t need to have lengthy promos — that’s more what potential opponents like Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, etc. can bring to the match-up table. Besides when Cesaro can deliver big time performances like this, he doesn’t need to say all that much.

Not to mention that snazzy peel away James Bond style suit helps Cesaro’s overall presentation much more than a pair of Beats headphones.

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WWE wasn’t able to set up a length Intercontinental title reign with Bryan’s unexpected injury and eventual retirement, but Cesaro seems more than capable of filling that gap. It’s time to make the title matter again.