As the Blackpool Combat Club seemingly falls apart at the seams, with William Regal reportedly leaving AEW for WWE, Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson on opposite sides of the “Gentleman Villain” divide, and Wheeler Yuta’s backup left up-in-the-air ahead of his match with Daniel Garcia at Ring of Honor Final Battle, Claudio Castagnoli sat down with Joey Hayden of the Dallas News for an interview. Over the course of the discussion, Castagnoli talked about his forthcoming title match with Chris Jericho, the prospects of joining the JAS, and the status of William Regal – *spoiler alert* he doesn’t know, or at least won’t say – but buried deep, deep down in the conversation, in the very last question to be exact, the man formerly known as Cesaro let it slide which members of the AEW roster he would like to wrestle and needless to say, the list is as interesting as it is surprising.
“To me, it’s just who wants to step up?” Castagnoli said. “But that’s kind of the Blackpool Combat Club motto. … I mean, Daniel Garcia had the chance kind of to join and he decided not to, so I would have maybe picked him before. Now, not so much anymore. I think there’s a bunch of guys that I would love to step in there with just from a stylistic point of view. For example, Orange Cassidy. I haven’t been in the ring with him. There’s Dante Martin, for example, right? I think stylistically would be very interesting. But there’s a lot more, and I don’t want to mention any more names because I’m sure I would miss a lot of talented folks out there. Hobbs, I think he’s kind of coming into his own. Wardlow. There’s just so many that I think would be fun to step in the ring with.”
Wow, could you even imagine a match between Castagnoli and OC? Never a man to take things too seriously, the former BAR member could have a bout on par with Cassidy’s match against Katsuyori Shibata that perfectly marries comedy and combat. Or how about a match with either Powerhouse or Wardlow? At 6-foot-5, 242 pounds, Castagnoli isn’t quite a powerhouse, but he can certainly work that style, and whipping either performer around in his signature swing would be one heck of a sight to see. One way or another, get these bouts on the books, Mr. Khan.
Claudio Castagnoli explains how he maintains old friendships in AEW.
Elsewhere in his interview with Hayden for Dallas News, Castagnoli was asked about why he decided to leave WWE for AEW and what the new opportunity in both AEW and ROH means to him.
“I was just kind of at a crossroads, I would say. I was looking for a new challenge. I wanted to do something with my career that I wasn’t going to just be complacent. And I always said that I always need the challenge, I want to be able to move up, I want to be able to get better. And I felt like I got into a rut towards the end of the last year I was there maybe. And I just felt it was time for me to move on, and to look for some new challenges. And when I looked at who I would want to step in the ring with, there was a lot of people in AEW that I have not stepped in the ring with. There would have been a lot for me still to accomplish in WWE, as well. So it was a tough decision, but I made the decision that I wanted to go to AEW because I felt that there was a lot of young talent, a lot of talent that I haven’t had the chance to be in the ring with for an extended amount of time. So that’s how I wanted to end up, and that’s what it ended up being. And I’m very happy about it.”
Asked about maintaining his relationships with members of the WWE Universe, with Castagnoli appearing in his former tag team partner Sheamus’ wedding, the “Swiss Superman” detailed that wrestlers develop a different bond due to their extensive travel schedule.
“There’s the way wrestling works and the way we toured with the WWE – I spent, in my 10 years I was there, nine years I was always in the top 10 of most matches. The one I wasn’t was when I was hurt. So, you spend 150-200 days on the road, those people become very, very close to you. So just because I’m not there anymore doesn’t mean that I don’t have friends there anymore. You know, Sheamus is still my friend. I still have Seth Rollins, my friend. There’s still a lot of people there that are my friends that I still talk to. That stuff never changes. To me, friendship is extremely important. As you can see, you know, with guys like William Regal and [Jon Moxley] and Danielson – those guys have been my friends for a long time. And then I just felt like when I walked in Blackpool Combat Club that I just fit perfect. And that’s because of friendship, and that’s because of the bond we forged over the years.”
Well, there you go; even if Regal is out of AEW, he’ll still have a friend in Castagnoli, even if he isn’t the most popular man among fans.