Claudio Castagnoli is on quite a run. Since his debut for All Elite Wrestling in June, the wrestling technician has joined the Blackpool Combat Club, become Ring of Honor World Champion, and had a number of memorable matches against the likes of Zack Sabre Jr., Jake Hager, and Konosuke Takeshita.
During a live interview at Starrcast on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, Castagnoli spoke about his departure from WWE earlier this year. “I felt for a while that I needed a change, and then leading up to it there were just a bunch of signs, a bunch of stuff that different people said … that just kind of helped me make up my mind,” Castagnoli said. “One of the things … was Johnny Gargano’s last promo in ‘NXT’ where he said to ‘just always bet on yourself.’ That was just like maybe the last straw … He was 100% right.”
Castagnoli elaborated by saying he didn’t want to make a big deal out of leaving WWE for a number of reasons, including preserving the element of surprise when he showed up in another company.
Castagnoli made his surprise debut for AEW in at the Forbidden Door pay-per-view, serving as a last-minute replacement for the injured Bryan Danielson. The debut took place four months after Castagnoli’s final match for WWE, against Happy Corbin.