Will AEW book Claudio Castagnoli to the level WWE never did?


It’s been said before and will be said again, but predictability isn’t always a bad thing in professional wrestling. Coming into Forbidden Door, it was clear that Claudio Castagnoli was the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club, and would step in to face Zack Sabre Jr. His arrival was met with an insane explosion of cheers. The fan-favorite known as Cesaro is back and he’s a part of All Elite Wrestling. Wrestling fans, media personalities, and critics will be watching closely what happens next and over the next few months.

AEW’s roster is its biggest strength, even though some detractors attempt to use it as their biggest hindrance. It’s because of their depth that AEW was able to power through the last few months and a massive PPV like Forbidden Door with so many of the top names injured and unable to perform. Castagnoli adds another name that can be counted on to that roster, and one that fans want to see excel.

During his time in WWE, Castagnoli was an individual that fans wanted to see featured at the top of the card. When he did get those brief moments in the spotlight, he excelled. Recent examples of his feuds with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns prove so much. But the true run never came. Now, as a part of AEW fans hope to see that coming, but the if and when of AEW getting there will be the conversation at hand.

Patience is truly a virtue in professional wrestling. Viewers want to see their favorites at the top and they want it now. Taking the long road to get there isn’t something newer fans are used to, thanks to years of mainly watching WWE. For the most part, AEW has done a good job with long-term storytelling but has struggled in some areas as well. One such way is the long-term utilization of some of its bigger names, and where they fit into the evolving roster.

Take examples like Hikaru Shida or Ruby Soho. Shida was the first and longest-reigning champion, but AEW failed to get her on television after she dropped the title to Britt Baker. Soho came in with amazing fanfare as well, making her debut at All Out in 2021, but her use was criticized after her initial feud with Baker and her place on the roster today.

The critics were out in the same way for how AEW booked Toni Storm after her arrival in the company, but first impressions are that she’s to be a top name the company leans on.

Some would say the same about Keith Lee or Ricky Starks, two names on the men’s side of things that fans want to see elevated into well-developed, sustained title programs. The patience wasn’t there, to begin with, and it’s slowly becoming a case of “I told you so,” whether the conversation is in good faith or not.

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Eyes will be watching closely to see how Castagnoli will be used by AEW, both in the immediate and the long-term future. He’s slotted into one of the most important groups in the promotion, as BCC has main event written around everything that they do. These next few weeks are going to be hot for him and everyone involved, but where will things be this Fall and Winter. That’s where “wait and see” comes into play. But AEW has picked up another strong piece for the roster that fans will want to see at the top.