Cesaro has backed Mansoor to have a bright future in the WWE after the Saudi superstar proved “he can hang” in the ring when the two competed at Crown Jewel in Riyadh in October.
The pair put on the match of the night at the King Fahd International Stadium in the WWE’s latest visit to Saudi Arabia, with Mansoor getting the surprise win to delight his home fans.
Cesaro, 38, was impressed by what he saw from his opponent, who had already made a name for himself earlier in the year in June when he won a 51-man Battle Royal at Super ShowDown in Jeddah.
“I think he’s definitely extremely talented and I hope he does well for the future and he definitely showed that he can hang,” the Swiss grappler said this week in Manchester during the WWE’s tour of the United Kingdom.
The six-time WWE Tag Team champion said he had felt he and Mansoor, who is on the NXT roster, had always been well placed to steal the show in Riyadh due to loose perceptions of his opponent’s ability, which were subsequently proven to be wide of the mark.
“I do think a lot of people just thought it is ‘the local guy’ and that is why they have put in the match,” he said.
“But he is really good and he showed that he was there because he deserved to be.
“It actually helped the match in some ways. People had kind of dismissed it and then were surprised and got into it when he showed he could hang and the match really got going.”
While Mansoor was the winner on the night, Cesaro admitted the experience in Riyadh would stay with him as well thanks to the enthusiasm of the Saudi audience.
He said: “It’s just a different atmosphere because we were in there and I don’t know if it was audible on the network, but there was a ‘you can do it’ chant and that was the coolest thing ever because they were like ‘you can do it’ and I don’t know if I’ve heard that one before in my career.
“But that’s really cool, people just sitting there enjoying what they see. It’s just what it’s all about, getting that reaction from the crowd. I think that’s the measuring stick.”
Cesaro, who is a former WWE United States champion, returned to being a singles competitor in April after a successful tag team partnership with Sheamus as The Bar.
Despite having been in the industry for almost 20 years he says he has no intention of slowing down going into 2020 on the SmackDown brand.
“I want to wrestle,” he said. “It’s just what I love to and there’s people who do time off or this and that, or disappear because they want to go, whatever the case may be.
“I’m like the opposite, I wrestle so many matches and that’s what I’m extremely proud of. I feel like if I don’t step in the ring for, I don’t know, a week, it feels weird. It’s just like that thing and it is what I love.”
While some singles gold is a target next year, Cesaro says he will not be putting himself under pressure to become a champion again.
“I just want to continue what I’m doing to entertain the people,” he said. “I feel that is extremely important.
“Like I said some success would be nice as well. I just try to do better every day. There’s longterm goals but it’s not like ‘I need to win this’.
“I feel like the pressures are enough with what the job is. As stressful as it is, I don’t need to make extra stress on top of it. So, I just try to make the best of every day.”
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