Photo Credit: AEW
Claudio Castagnoli debuted as the newest member of William Regal’s Blackpool Combat Club, replacing the injured Bryan Danielson in a victory against Zack Sabre Jr. at last night’s Forbidden Door pay-per-view. However, AEW initially had a different plan in place for the incoming Swiss wrestler, according to Fightful Select.
While the original plans for Castagnoli’s AEW debut weren’t specified, the report noted that AEW had already prepared merchandise and promotional material for the former WWE star prior to Sunday’s AEW x NJPW crossover event. Furthermore, the duration of Castagnoli’s contract was described as “long term” but Fightful couldn’t confirm if he had put pen to paper yet. As reported earlier, Castagnoli had been spotted training at the Flatbacks Wrestling School in Orlando, which is owned by AEW star Shawn Spears and former WWE star Tyler Breeze, multiple times over the last several weeks, training in the ring.
Castagnoli was reportedly backstage “throughout the night” Sunday, which would mean the locker room was aware of his AEW debut match against Sabre Jr. In contrast, Bryan Danielson’s debut was kept under wraps at last year’s All Out pay-per-view, with Danielson admittedly spending much of the night waiting in the production truck until he stepped out during the main event segment.
Less than four nights after his AEW debut, Castagnoli will be in action again this Wednesday on “Dynamite” when he teams up with AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz in a “Blood & Guts” match against The Jericho Appreciation Society’s Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard & Angelo Parker. During the closing stages of Forbidden Door, Castagnoli was confronted by Kingston, who didn’t appear very pleased to be on the same team as his old CHIKARA and PWG rival. Castagnoli would take to Twitter later to comment on his AEW debut, as seen below.
Courtesy of Wrestling Inc