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Experienced Cesaro getting his shot in WWE

was only a month ago when Antonio Cesaro was performing at a Florida Championship Wrestling show at the Miami-Dade County Fair, just before WrestleMania Week Miami.
WWE Hall of Famer and FCW trainer Ricky Steamboat was praising the star as one of those on the WWE developmental roster ready for prime time. Other officials in the company must have agreed.
Last week Cesaro made his WWE television debut in a segment with Aksana, Teddy Long and general manager John Laurinaitis on SmackDown (8 p.m. Fridays Syfy).
Before being signed to a WWE developmental contract in the fall of 2011, Cesaro already had more than a decade of experience. He also had a fan base developed from those who watched him compete in promotions like Ring of Honor under the name Claudio Castagnoli.
Even though he wrestled around the world, the Swiss grappler felt FCW was still educational.
“It definitely helped me,” Cesaro said before the South Florida FCW show. “Experience is invaluable. I’m really happy to have that and to be here. I think everywhere you go you learn. You never stop learning. If you stop learning and think you know it all, then I think you may be in the wrong profession. If you love what you do, you never stop learning.”
Looking at the current crop of talent who caught WWE’s eye from Dragon Gate USA and ROH, it’s easy to see a trend. Cesaro is an example of that.
“I think they are always signing wrestlers,” Cesaro said. “In wrestling, everything comes and goes in waves. If you look at some of those who are on top with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, they have been in the same kind of wave. There is a perception of that. I think it’s definitely good, and there is a lot of talent down in FCW, which means they would be coming to WWE soon. It’s great.”
Punk and Bryan have helped break down barriers and provide opportunities for many who have taken the similar path to WWE.
“I think they are good role models,” Cesaro said. “It shows there is a reward when you hone your craft.”
Cesaro’s previous tag team partner, Chris Hero, works in FCW as Kassius Ohno. The two were known as the Kings of Wrestling in ROH.
“It’s always great rivalry between us,” Cesaro said. “I think fans always want to see stuff that they like, but I think we are going to see how we do individually and go from there.”
Prior to his recent onscreen appearance, the rugby athlete turned WWE superstar worked a handful of non-televised WWE events.
“It was great,” Cesaro said. “I got to wrestle with Michael McGillicutty [Joe Hennig] and to work with Alex Riley and Mason Ryan, which was a big challenge.
“Some of the chants [I am used to in other companies] were there, but it’s a smaller audience. Most of fans don’t know me really, but it’s a good mix…Of course I have to prove myself from the start. I think you have to prove yourself every time you step into the ring.”
Cesaro remains true to himself, no matter what his name is or what promotion he is working. He says the key to success is to be yourself. Cesaro joins superstars like Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus who have come from Europe to become international superstars.
“WWE has always been global,” Cesaro said. “With the world becoming smaller with the Internet and things like that, I think there is an appeal with international stars. There are so many fans, and some of them want to become WWE superstars. We’ve all grown up loving pro wrestling. Now it’s more feasible for those out of the country, where 20 years ago you would wrestle around Europe and make a living there. Now WWE is where everyone wants to be.”
Cesaro has arrived.

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