This past Sunday at AEW x NJPW’s Forbidden Door Pay-Per-View event at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, Claudio Castagnoli made his AEW debut, defeating New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Zack Sabre Jr. after about 18 minutes of action. Following the PPV, AEW held a post-show media scrum that featured AEW owner Tony Khan embracing Castagnoli tightly, and the image is now all over social media. While on his “Hall of Fame” podcast, six-time World Champion and two-time WWE Hall of Famer Booker T commented on the moment between the two men.
“When he was with Claudio and he was crying, it did look funny,” Booker said. “I’m not gonna sit here and judge Tony Khan or anything, man, it’s not my job to do that. I’ll let, you know, people out there in the internet world try to score points by trying to make Tony Khan look a certain way.”
Castagnoli spent 10 years on the main roster in WWE, totaling one United States Championship win and seven Tag Team Championship reigns — one alongside Tyson Kidd, one alongside Shinsuke Nakamura, and five alongside Sheamus in a tag team known as The Bar. Castagnoli quietly left WWE earlier in the year and took over four months off from professional wrestling before debuting in AEW.
Booker also discussed an opportunity he believes Castagnoli may receive in AEW that he didn’t in WWE, when he went by the name Cesaro.
“I don’t think Cesaro really had a chance to, you know, really go out and cut a lot of promos, especially perhaps not the way he wanted to cut the promo,” Booker stated. “Guys go over [to AEW] and have a little bit more freedom, so I think with Cesaro I think we’re going to start to see a whole lot more of what, you know, perhaps Cesaro wanted to do in WWE.”
Castagnoli will be wrestling this Wednesday on “AEW Dynamite” when he teams with AEW Interim World Champion Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta, and PnP to take on the Jericho Appreciation Society in a Blood and Guts Match. Castagnoli is Danielson’s replacement, as Danielson was originally scheduled to be in the match, but came down with an injury. Castagnoli also was announced as the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club, a group also containing Moxley, Danielson, Yuta, and coach William Regal.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit “The Hall of Fame” podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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