Claudio Castagnoli wrestled for WWE for an 11 year period. Before that he had quite the extensive career on the indies and wrestled quite a bit for ROH. In fact it was on that platform that he wrestled under the Castagnoli name.
It was during his run in WWE (2011-2022) that he would wrestle as Cesaro, and during that time he made a name for himself as quite the strong man. A very powerful wrestler, Castagnoli was known to be one of the only WWE superstars that could keep up with the likes of John Cena in a workout at the time, and that’s definitely saying something.
Castagnoli is definitely in epic shape and even now at 41 years old, as his matches in AEW have shown thus far.
So yeah…he obviously ended up in AEW, as stated, but many are probably wondering why after such a long time in WWE, did he decide to leave his place of employment?
Well…he was terribly misused on that platform; especially at the end of his time there. I’ve written before about his loss to Roman Reigns at Backlash and how awful it was for him to lose to the aforementioned Reigns…the depiction of the wrestler (Castagnoli) is what bothered me most.
It would have been better not to allow him to get in the ring with Reigns at all than to have had him lose in the manner in which he did at that event. Regardless, what’s done is done and there are those that can take the ‘high road,’ as you’ll see in Castagnoli’s own comments below, but when it comes to the absolute decimation of tremendous talents like Castagnoli and others, I just can’t keep my mouth shut, or at least my pen capped, as it were.
Let’s just say I hate bullies and always will, and WWE bullied him out of the company, as they have with so many great men and women that have passed through those WWE turnstiles.
So yes, he opted to leave the company when his contract expired in early 2022, and he ended up in the welcoming arms of one Tony Khan. He had a few things to say on the matter while speaking with Sports Illustrated:
“It can be hard to take the high road, but that’s the road I am going to take…All the memories, they matter. I’m grateful for everything I have accomplished and I’m grateful for all those opportunities. And they make me work so much harder to get where I want to be. Once I left, I knew what I wanted and where I wanted to go…
I just didn’t know if it would happen. That was also time for me to take a break mentally, recharge, and come back better. My goal is always to be better than I was yesterday, to be better tomorrow than I am today. I want to be even better now than people remember.”via Wrestling Inc. (Transcription)
Definitely an Italian/Swiss gentleman, as he always has been. A great dude and he proves it every single day. He couldn’t even speak badly about people or rather a company that treated him so irresponsibly. He deserves the best and an ultimate run at the AEW World Heavyweight Championship for sure.
In AEW he has already won his first few outings within the company and the matches have been extraordinary, as was of course expected. Just saying.