Antonio Cesaro has gone from champion to perennial loser in rapid fashion.
For fans wondering if his recent poor win-loss record is the result of being in WWE's doghouse, the word is other things are to blame. PWInsider reported (via WrestlingInc.com) that Cesaro's troubles aren't related to backstage issues.
Cesaro has not done anything to be in WWE's doghouse and isn't considered to be. Cesaro's booking was explained by a source as just the way WWE creative and production changes from week to week these days. WWE officials really are going back and forth from week to week on who they want to push and who they don't want to push.
Cesaro's recent losses (h/t TheHistoryofWWE.com) to R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Alberto Del Rio and several others is a major departure from how often he won after first winning the United States title. This kind of losing streak can happen to anyone, doghouse or not, but being asked to yodel as part of his gimmick reeks of some sort of punishment.
The yodeling shtick is reminiscent of WWE putting Dusty Rhodes in polka dots. You can say that it's not punitive or that it's not a rib, but it certainly feels that way.
If the PWInsider report is true, the yodeling gimmick and the sharp decline in Cesaro's momentum isn't borne from backstage politics, but from bumbling from the folks in charge. Insert your joke about WWE creative being incompetent here.
Arda Ocal summed up the situation perfectly in a recent fill-in-the-blank tweet.
Not every loss equals a burial, but Cesaro's recent treatment seems to be puncturing a hole in his career and letting the air slowly leak out. For someone as talented in the ring as Cesaro to go without a WrestleMania 29 match, for him to not even get a win over a Yoshi Tatsu or some other lower-level guy is disheartening.
Is this just a precursor to a big push later on?
It is possible to turn momentum around in a hurry, but to have him sink so low before ascending the ladder is unnecessary. If this is just a case of Vince McMahon not believing in Cesaro, then Cesaro's supporters need to amp the "Ole!" chants to the point where WWE is forced to listen a la Daniel Bryan and the "Yes!" chants last year.
Booking is a challenging job and balancing the roster in such a way that the majority of it comes off as strong is next to impossible, but when people start wondering if a great wrestler is being punished for something, it's time to shift things around.