Jake Hager has been involved with two different groups since joining AEW — the Inner Circle and the Jericho Appreciation Society — both led by Chris Jericho. Neither, however, is Hager’s first notable tag team. In 2013 and early 2014, he was teamed up with one of AEW’s newest signees, reigning Ring of Honor World Champion Claudio Castagnoli. Managed by Zeb Coulter, the pair were known as the Real Americans (despite the fact that Castagnoli is aggressively Swiss) and on a recent episode of “AEW Dynamite,” that history caught up to them in the middle of the famed Blood and Guts match.
“What a cool twist of fate for our past to intertwine at Blood and Guts like that,” Hager said during an appearance on “Captain’s Corner.” “You heard the audience when he came out at Forbidden Door … It’s too bad he went my way, we had to punch each other in the face again, but it’s cool to see, you know, new ROH Champion, World Champion. Guess I’ve got my foot in my mouth saying he’d never be a world champion.”
Beyond his excitement over their “reunion,” it didn’t take long for Hager to reveal his opinion of the “We the People” storyline that took place in WWE. Taking their lead from Coulter, the Real Americans were anti-immigrant bigots who often feuded with Latino superstars like Alberto del Rio and Los Matadores — Castagnoli’s presence was supposedly justified by the fact that he had immigrated legally.
“Stupid storyline from stupid people,” Hager said simply.
Hager and Castagnoli, known as Jack Swagger and Cesaro in WWE respectively, did not see much success when it came to tag team gold, as the Real Americans came up short in their limited shots at the championship. The duo last teamed together in WWE on the pre-show of WrestleMania 30, losing in a Fatal Four Way Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships to The Usos in a match that also involved Los Matadores and RybAxel. Afterward, Castagnoli and Hager split and had a brief feud. Hager eventually left WWE in early 2017 and put in some work for the final season of “Lucha Underground” before debuting for AEW in 2019 as the muscle of Jericho’s Inner Circle, a group that also included Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz. Castagnoli remained in WWE until his contract expired in the early part of 2022, making the jump over to AEW during the Forbidden Door event.
After their standoff in the Blood and Guts match (which featured a brief “We the people” chant) Hager took on Castagnoli on the July 13th, 2022 edition of “AEW Dynamite,” the Real Americans’ first singles match against one another in over seven years. Castagnoli walked away with the win after hitting Hager with his finisher, the Ricola Bomb, for the win.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit “Captain’s Corner” and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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