Photo Credit: AEW
Some of the talent backstage at WWE were shocked that Claudio Castagnoli signed the dotted line with AEW, according to Dave Meltzer.
According to the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Castagnoli was likely offered a sizable amount of money to re-sign with WWE, and that Tony Khan either matched or topped that offer. This reportedly surprised the locker room, as it was believed AEW was no longer offering contracts of that size. Khan has said that he’s been a fan of Castagnoli’s work both in and out of the ring.
The Swiss Superman, who is 41, was Zack Sabre Jr.’s mystery opponent at AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door, hand-picked by Bryan Danielson after the American Dragon’s injury forced him off the card. Castagnoli got the win and continued to add to his numbers by getting the cage match victory at Blood & Guts this past Wednesday. In his debut, Castagnoli was immediately positioned as a member of the Blackpool Combat Club, so he fit right in to the main event on “AEW Dynamite” despite having plenty of past tension with Eddie Kingston — tension that played directly into the match’s finish.
At the post-Forbidden Door media scrum Sunday evening, Khan mentioned that he first contacting Castagnoli on June 2. He managed to sign him before he told any of the roster. The first talent to hear about Castagnoli being signed was Danielson, who Khan said suggested Castagnoli to be his replacement in the Forbidden Door match against Sabre Jr. before even knowing that Castagnoli was a part of the company.
Also during the scrum, Castagnoli mentioned how excited he was to be in AEW and that he feels like a “kid in the candy store.”
“This is my first night here and I feel like I’ve been here for years, he said. “It just fits, it’s awesome.”
Courtesy of Wrestling Inc