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Five very European maneuvers for Antonio Cesaro
If there’s one thing we can appreciate about United States Champion Antonio Cesaro, it’s that he doesn’t hold back. In the months since his attention-grabbing WWE debut, the sensation from Switzerland has mercilessly broken hearts (our condolences, Aksana) and bruised bodies, all the while extolling the virtues of his European heritage in no less than five languages.
The most powerful weapon in Cesaro’s arsenal — besides his multi-lingual contempt for the American culture — is a brutal inverted slam he calls the Neutralizer. Though named for his Swiss homeland’s longstanding history of military neutrality, Cesaro’s Neutralizer is an act of pure aggression that has leveled opponents of all shapes and sizes. He has also utilized an uppercut that’s so European, its force can only be measured by using the metric system.
Cesaro’s Neutralizer and impactful European uppercut are serving him well — he’s the United States Champion, after all — but what other maneuvers of European descent would benefit the chiseled champion? WWE.com examines five moves that Cesaro could master to continue his quest for European supremacy.
There was nothing fancy about Ivan Putski’s impressive double axe handle strike known as the Polish Hammer, but that didn’t matter. The WWE Hall of Famer was famous for finishing off adversaries by putting the entirety of his near-300 pounds of muscle into a blow to his opponent’s chest. Simple but effective.
Antonio Cesaro has a number of blunt instruments in his arsenal already, but Putski’s signature maneuver could help the Swiss Superstar “hammer” home his lofty European ideals.
Antonio Cesaro has proven to be fluent in German, so why not adopt one of Germany’s finest exports (aside from pretzels, luxury cars and fine chocolates)? Aptly named after the homeland of its innovator, German grappler and Olympian Karl Gotch, the German suplex is a beastly maneuver that has since been utilized by some of the greatest competitors in wrestling history, including the likes of Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Brock Lesnar and John Cena. In fact, the move played a key role in Cena’s bout with WWE Champion CM Punk at Night of Champions 2012, which ultimately resulted in a double-pinfall and WWE Title retention for The Straight Edge Superstar.
Although the precarious German suplex did not lead to victory that night for Cena, the Cenation leader knows as much as anyone that with great risk comes great reward. Could mastery of the German suplex bring Cesaro even greater rewards as he continues to put the WWE locker room on notice? Achtung!
Guillotine leg drop
Named after the execution device that made heads roll during the French Revolution, the guillotine leg drop has had sports-entertainment aficionados screaming “Sacrebleu!” for decades. Less lethal than a descending blade, this maneuver is dangerous nonetheless, and is most effective when a downed opponent’s head is suspended over the outside of the ring for an excruciating collision of leg and sternum.
The guillotine leg drop has been put to great use by The Undertaker, appropriate for The Deadman given the move’s moniker. Yet, while Death Valley is a far cry from the streets of Paris, Antonio Cesaro’s homeland of Switzerland sits at France’s border. If put to use by Cesaro, the guillotine leg drop could help the United States Champion start a “Swiss Revolution” here in WWE.
Greco-Roman knuckle lock
Antonio Cesaro is fond of making his opponents cry out in agony, and what better way to accomplish that sinister goal than with the ultimate game of mercy? A maneuver that dates back to the origins of sports-entertainment in Ancient Greece, the Greco-Roman knuckle lock is a test of strength requiring both competitors to lock their fingers together and try to subdue one another based purely on hand-to-hand might. This maneuver was initiated by Ultimate Warrior during the wild Superstar’s iconic clash with Hulk Hogan during WrestleMania VI.
With the United States Champion’s constant criticizing of America — and the Superstars born there — what better way for The Swiss Sensation to prove his European superiority than with this Mediterranean measure of might?
El Paso de la Muerte
Antonio Cesaro utterly manhandled the massive Brodus Clay on the Oct. 1, 2012, edition of Raw, which is akin to battling a rampaging bull — something WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana seems to know a thing or two about. Competing as the bullfighter “El Matador” in the 1990s, Santana was finishing off his opponents with a forearm smash known as El Paso de la Muerte, Spanish for “the pass of death.”
The ominous meaning behind this aerial maneuver comes from Spain, birthplace of a rodeo-esque competitive event known as a “charreada.” One of the most harrowing contests in a charreada is called El Paso de la Muerte, which requires a rider to leap from his horse to another horse and ride it until it stops bucking. Like the in-ring maneuver that shares its name, this is no easy feat, to be sure.
We’re not sure if Cesaro is an accomplished equestrian — though nothing would surprise us at this point — but Santana’s El Paso de la Muerte is fair game for Cesaro’s very European repertoire. ( PLAYLIST: IMPRESSIVE EUROPEAN MANEUVERS)