United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Zack Ryder

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September 16, 2012

Before Night of Champions went live on pay-per-view on Sunday night, Zack Ryder shockingly outlasted 15 other Superstars to woo-woo-win an Over-the-Top-Rope Battle Royal on the live-streaming Pre-Show. The bout was shown exclusively on YouTube.com/WWE, Facebook and WWE.com, and the victory earned Ryder an opportunity at Antonio Cesaro’s United States Championship. It was another notch in the belt of the Superstar who always seems to have success on YouTube. (FULL STORYWATCH)

The usually overly confident Cesaro had little time to prepare for his opponent, and voiced his frustration in the ring prior to the encounter, calling the bout “unfair” in five languages with the sultry Aksana by his side. The Beantown faithful were firmly in the corner of the “Internet Champion,” but the Swiss Superstar was too powerful for Ryder, especially with Aksana as his championship insurance policy.

At Night of Champions, Cesaro showed his challenger exactly why he was banned from his former rugby league due to excessive violence. It was one power maneuver after another from the champion during the matchup, with Cesaro executing a series of devastating stomps, suplexes and strikes to the fan-favorite. In the battle’s most vicious moment, the versatile champion tossed his opponent in the air and nailed Ryder with a wicked European forearm uppercut to the jaw.

But true to his Swiss heritage, Cesaro’s game had some holes. Ryder was able to briefly take control, landing an impressive hurricanrana off the top rope. With the former rugby player prone on the mat, Ryder began to prepare for his patented Broski Boot. However, the x-factor of Aksana at ringside pulled Cesaro out of the way.

That was all that the champion needed to capitalize. Back in the ring, Cesaro snatched Ryder into the vulnerable position he often uses to capture his opponents. An instant later, the dangerous Swissman landed The Neutralizer and pinned Ryder to retain the United States Championship. With so many skills, both physical and intellectual, in Cesaro’s arsenal, there is no question that Cesaro is a dominant part of WWE’s future.

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