At last night’s AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event, Claudio Castagnoli (FKA Cesaro in WWE) made his All Elite Wrestling debut, replacing Bryan Danielson to take on Zack Sabre Jr, joining the Blackpool Combat Club in the process.
During the Forbidden Door post-show media scrum, AEW President Tony Khan revealed that he’d reached out to the Swiss Superman before he knew that Danielson would be absent from the show.
“I asked him about coming in before I knew for sure that Bryan was out, though I had a pretty good idea that Punk would be out. I could tell there would be a lot of changes. We already had a lot of injured people, I had no idea we would have even more on the run-up to the show. It was the day after the Forum, so June 2, I called and had interest, there was definitely mutual interest. At that point, I felt there was a good chance. I wasn’t sure if it would be here or another thing or Death Before Dishonor, July 23, on pay-per-view in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ring of Honor’s return event. I figured there was a chance that if Bryan made it back, there was a good chance that he would have started at Death Before Dishonor and it would have been a great moment there. As long as Bryan is okay, that’s the most important thing. It was a great moment to have at Forbidden Door. I talked to Bryan on the phone last weekend and he told me that he wasn’t feeling 100%. As soon as he said that, we’re eight days from the pay-per-view, ‘if you’re not feeling 100%, don’t even think about wrestling on the pay-per-view or Blood & Guts’ because he had been feeling well. I talked to him in St. Louis and he was feeling great and he was so optimistic and was that fired up Bryan Danielson. He wanted to go. I didn’t want to take another chance as soon as he said (he wasn’t feeling 100%). He mentioned Claudio and I said, ‘that’s funny, I have Claudio under contract.’ I had told anybody. It worked out before for all of us,”-Tony Khan
Castagnoli departed WWE in February of this year upon the expiration of his contract, although last night was his first appearance in any capacity since then.
On this Wednesday’s edition, Castagnoli will team with Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, Eddie Kingston, and Proud & Powerful to take on the Jericho Appreciation Society in Blood and Guts.
H/T to Fightful for the transcription.