Cesaro def. Cedric Alexander
There are fewer tougher trials by fire out there than a match with Cesaro, so one can argue that all Cedric Alexander had to do in his first match as a full-blown Raw Superstar was put on a good showing. In that case, the former WWE Cruiserweight Champion certainly succeeded, giving the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion a fight worthy of his reputation. But faced with a motivated Swiss Cyborg (the status of his partnership with Sheamus went unaddressed, but he didn’t seem to mind flying solo), Alexander simply couldn’t get over the hump.
That isn’t to say The King of Swing made quick work of the purple brand’s former franchise player. Alexander’s combo of power and speed gave Cesaro a fair amount of fits as he tried to box in his opponent. But his skills proved a double-edged sword, as Cesaro shifted to a defensive strategy and let Alexander come to him, and “The Soul of 205 Live” was forced to once again start from scratch. This time, Alexander found success by going high-risk with a top-rope plancha, and yet again, a defensive strategy proved key for Cesaro: When Alexander went big with a springboard, The Swiss Superman planted his feet and administered a jaw-jacking European uppercut that grounded his opponent for three.
Both Superstars are, to a degree, starting from scratch, so the match is hardly make-or-break for either. And some history should provide comfort here: Alexander’s former rival Ali lost in his SmackDown LIVE debut a few months back and ended up just fine. But it was hard to begrudge Alexander’s visible disappointment that he couldn’t make a statement — or clear the bar.