WWE noticed the amazing talent of Cesaro, and it did not take long for him to show what he could achieve. In less than a year from his debut in FCW and subsequent main roster debut, Cesaro defeated Santino Marella at the SummerSlam kickoff show to become United States Champion. He remained champion for eight months, having one of the longest reigns in WWE history. Cesaro aligned himself with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter to form the Real Americans tag team. Although the team was very popular, they never managed to win the tag team championships, despite coming close on many occasions. Cesaro began to earn the respect of the crowd, getting one of the biggest reactions every night following the execution of his giant swing signature move.
The team lasted 10 months, but after weeks of turmoil heading into WrestleMania 30, they disbanded following a loss in a Fatal Four-Way elimination tag match against The Usos, Ryback & Curtis Axel, and Los Matadores. Swagger became frustrated with Cesaro, and put him in an ankle lock. Instead of shaking hands with Swagger following this action, which manager Zeb Colter demanded them to do, Cesaro gave him the giant swing, and received a thunderous ovation from the audience in New Orleans, Louisiana. To add to his push, he won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal during the main card of WrestleMania the same night.
A Very Odd Change In Direction
Instead of capitalizing on Cesaro’s babyface turn and Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal win, he became a heel again the very next night by forming an alliance with Paul Heyman. The oddness of this decision resonated with the crowd, and Cesaro never managed to gain sufficient traction as a singles competitor while being managed by Heyman. While being a “Paul Heyman Guy” is usually a positive attribution, this was not the case for Cesaro, and the two separated after just three months.
Heyman was interviewed on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, and expressed why Cesaro did not manage to win the WWE Championship while being managed by him. Heyman had many positive things to say about Cesaro, affirming that he is a viable world title contender. However, Heyman admitted that the reason why the alliance formed was due to WWE wanting to keep him on television, since Lesnar was going to be off TV following his win over the Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. The goal was to transfer the heat from Lesnar to Cesaro, further developing him into a top star. However, not only was it unsuccessful, but it “relegated him to being a supporting player for a guy doing a promo about something else.” Heyman added that putting him in that position brought him into the spotlight and made him noticeable to Vince McMahon behind the scenes. However, being in that spot in front of the camera “was a curse,” and did not work.