Tony Khan Gives Backstage Insight Into Claudio Castignoli’s AEW Debut

Tony Khan apparently had Claudio Castagnoli under contract before any wrestler at AEW knew the Swiss Superman would swing his way into the company.

Castagnoli surprised the Chicago crowd at AEW Forbidden Door on Sunday by being Bryan Danielson's hand-picked opponent for Zack Sabre Jr., getting the victory against the NJPW star. During the post-show media scrum, AEW President Khan was asked by Denise Salcedo about to how Castagnoli became "All Elite."


"It was actually the day after the [Los Angeles KIA] Forum, so it would have been June 2 I called," Khan said. "I had interest, there was definitely mutual interest, but at that point, I felt like there was a good chance."

Khan had two plans for the former Cesaro as to how he was going to debut, but the Bryan Danielson injury helped him make an extra knock on the Forbidden Door.  This also prompted Khan to make a big event announcement forthcoming next month.

"I wasn't sure if he would be coming in here or Death Before Dishonor," he revealed, using the question as an opportunity to announce the next Ring of Honor event. "If Bryan made it back, [there was] a good chance that probably he would have started at Death Before Dishonor, and it would have been a great moment there, but I think for the crowd here, this is something very special."


Khan recalls a phone conversation he had with Danielson while in St. Louis for "AEW Dynamite" and "AEW Rampage" tapings. The American Dragon initially said he felt great, but later wavered, saying he wasn't feeling 100%.

"I didn't even want to take another chance as soon as he said that, so he mentioned Claudio," Khan said. "I said, 'That's funny cause I have Claudio under contract! I haven't told anybody. You're the first person I mentioned it to so I think that's going to work out real nice for all of us. And you're going to be okay and he's going to do great.'"

Castanogli's wrestling week isn't finished, as he's set to participate in the Blood & Guts match against the Jericho Appreciation Society. Castanogli was revealed to be a member of William Regal's Blackpool Combat Club and helped to clear JAS fromt he ring after his new team member, Jon Moxley, won the AEW Interim World Heavyweight Championship. He also had a brief confrontation with longtime nemesis Eddie Kingston.