While Claudio Castagnoli is currently in the middle of a fantastic run in AEW, where he's the current Ring of Honor champion and a member of the hottest faction in the company, the Blackpool Combat Club, the man formerly known as Cesaro still has a soft spot in his heart for his time in WWE, especially for his “Bar” partnership with Sheamus.
Speaking on the matter via the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards, Castagnoli detailed how the team-up, which spanned from 2016-19, got together and how they went from European superstars who were fated together by upper-management to real-life best friends who continue to hang out to his very day. Check out an excerpt from the show via Wrestling News:
I think that was probably the funnest three years, I think with him for about three years, because everything you saw on screen, if you saw it as being from like starting as co-workers, I was just like, alright, I guess I'll make this work, to becoming best friends. We are both from Europe, so we have similarities, but we were not best friends. We were just like coworkers, cordial, and we talked. We were not best friends and we became best friends over those years and we are still best friends. That bickering back and forth, non-stop, they would tell us, ‘Okay, we're going to shoot backstage, you guys argue, and then you do this.' We're like, ‘Okay, cool.' We start and they're like, ‘You guys can stop. We're not filming yet.' We're like, ‘Oh, no, that's just us being us.' So we had a great time, especially when we went internationally going to all kinds of football stadiums and stuff like that. If something's authentic, it will connect with the fans, I feel, and that's the stuff that you cannot fabricate.
Though the duo hasn't teamed up in a match since all the way back in 2020, when they lost a trios match to New Day alongside Shinsuke Nakamura on SmackDown, based on their Instagram activities, it's clear the duo remain friends to this day and are still supportive of their respective in-ring efforts.
Fortunately, Castagnoli isn't looking back on his run in WWE with wishful eyes, as he appears to be very happy in his new promotion and even more content with his team alongside Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, Bryan Danielson, William Regal, and maybe Daniel Garcia too, depending on how the chips fall.
Claudio Castagnoli is loving his new team outside of WWE.
When Castagnoli debuted at AEW's Forbidden Door as the secret opponent of Zack Sabre Jr., it drew a massive pop from fans of wrestling the world over. Gone were the assumptions that Cesaro was going to be the mystery focal point of Max Dupri's Maximum Male Models, and in their place came a list of dream opponents for the “Swiss Superman” to wrestle both as a solo act and as a member of his new faction, the Blackpool Combat Club. To his credit, Castagnoli has been having a time in the BCC, as despite being a disparate collection of parts, the quintet has come together to form a unit greater than the sum of their already incredible parts, as he detailed to Edwards and Schoivane on their podcast.
“It's such a fun group between Regal, Bryan, Mox, Yuta, and myself,” Castagnoli said. “I feel it's so different, like, everybody is so different, but it works. It's not like four guys or five guys that look the same and act the same and do the same things. It's like, no, we're all different, and that's what makes it great. I feel like that's the beauty of professional wrestling.”
Is the Blackpool Combat Club AEW's version of the Avengers? If so, does that mean Castagnoli has to change his nickname from the “Swiss Superman” to “Captain Switzerland?” Or would he instead try to play on his signature move, the swing, and turn “Hawkeye” into “Swing Guy?” Either way, it sure sounds like the swing isn't a move to be taken lightly, as the move is apparently incredibly hard on his legs.
“The legs go first and then it's very straining on your lower back,” Castagnoli said. “So like usually a day after, if you haven't done it in a while, a day later, you're like, ‘Have I done deadlifts or something? Why is my lower back so sore?' Then I realized, ‘Oh, yeah, I've swung somebody and held his weight for 30 times.’ So it's hard on your legs and lower back. But I never really had a problem with getting dizzy, which is good for me. But I know a lot of the guys hate taking it because they get very dizzy. I think it's hilarious.”
As a heel, the swing is the ultimate move of disrespect, as it fully takes an opponent out of their game, and makes them look a bit ridiculous in the process too. But as a babyface? Well, it's a certified crowd pleaser, and any good hero needs to give the people what they want.