Cesaro elevated his training.
“I started training with people like Dave Taylor in England and Robbie Brookside in Germany, Ecki Eckstein and guys from the old catch tournaments where wrestling was very important and very technical and very real.”
Cesaro, as a U.S. champ and WWE superstar, is a groundbreaker, helping open unchartered international doors.
“The United States is so far away; so that career path is unusual, to say the least,” he said. “It never seemed realistic until I did it.
“It’s not something that you do in Switzerland. It not that popular there because it’s not on TV, and it’s not ingrained in the culture like it is over here.”
Cesaro is versed in several wrestling styles, including American, European, Japanese. Prior to FCW (now WWE NXT) and WWE, he wrestled the European circuit as well as Japan’s Pro Wrestling Noah and Chikara and Ring of Honor in the United States among others.
“Every continent has a different wrestling style,” Cesaro said. “In Europe, it’s very, very technical, which you’d be able to tell by watching me in the ring.”
He debuted in FCW in September 2011. By April, this red chipper got the call, joining SmackDown.
• Going corporate
Valentine’s Day was not celebrated in Switzerland when Cesaro grew up there, but times have changed.
“Because of the commercial value of the holiday, it has become increasingly popular there -- the same thing for example with Halloween,” Cesaro said. “Once people realize they can sell more things to more places on a holiday, they try to bring those silly holidays over to Europe as well.”
• Swiss Misses
What do you miss most about Switzerland?
“Home,” he said. “My family, friends, the mountains, Switzerland itself.”
• Who needs Rosetta Stone
Utilized in his WWE character portrayal, Cesaro does speak four languages.
“Everybody in Switzerland speak Swiss, essentially, but we read and write in German,” he noted. “That’s something you learn from the first day of school.
“In Switzerland, there’s a French part. There’s an Italian part, and there’s a German speaking part. There’s also a Latin mountain language part, but not too many people speak it. You start learning French in sixth grade, and I started learning English in eighth grade.
“I learned Italian after school, because I wanted to speak another language as well.
“To me, school was always very important, because a good education is very good base for the future. No matter what it is you decide to do, you have that education to fall back on.”
• Are you smarter than a Rhodes Scholar?
Cesaro, who performs well in the ring, performs well out of it. He achieved academically, later studying business, to mirror his stellar mastery of linguistics.
Who is smarter? The Intellectual Savior of the Masses Damien Sandow of Rhodes Scholars or Antonio Cesaro?
“Antonio Cesaro,” he said without hesitation.
“I give Damien Sandow credit, though. He’s a very smart man.”
You both are smarter than Cody Rhodes. Correct?
Cesaro answered, “I’m not going to answer that.”