WWE star Cesaro joins AEW and beats Zack Sabre Jr at Forbidden Door


Claudio Castagnoli – former WWE star Cesaro – debuted for All Elite Wrestling (Picture: AEW)

Former WWE superstar Cesaro made his All Elite Wrestling debut as a surprise opponent for Zack Sabre Jr.

The Swiss Superman – going by his real name Claudio Castagnoli – was revealed as the replacement for Bryan Danielson for AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door on Sunday night after leaving WWE earlier this year when his contract expired.

The two stars put on a match of the year candidate with Claudio picking up a huge victory in his first AEW appearance, before appearing at the end of the show after the Jericho Appreciation Society went on the attack after Jon Moxley’s win over Hiroshi Tanahashi.

Danielson had teased something special during Wednesday’s episode of Dynamite after announcing he was out of both Forbidden Door and this week’s Blood and Guts special.

‘I have found the one person I trust to take my place at Forbidden Door. The one person I trust to take my at place at Blood and Guts,’ he teased.

‘The only person I know in the entire world who will take it to Zack Sabre Jr on a technical level, and then go and kick Chris Jericho’s head in at Blood and Guts. I have found that one person, and you are all going to be astounded by what he does in AEW.’

Despite proving popular with fans and being regarded as one of the absolute best wrestlers in the world, Cesaro never had a sustained run as a main eventer in WWE, and wasn’t able to capture a world championship.

However, he had classics with the likes of Sami Zayn, Ilja Dragunov and Seth Rollins, with the latter occurring at WrestleMania 37 when he picked up a career-defining win.

He then transitioned into a top level Universal Title feud with Roman Reigns, but the Tribal Chief emerged victorious and Cesaro found himself back down the pecking order.

The star – who is a seven-time tag team champion alongside Sheamus, Tyson Kidd and Shinsuke Nakamura as well as former United States Champ – previously admitted he struggled with the way WWE didn’t capitalise on his momentum earlier in 2021.

After the company announced himself versus Walter – now known as Gunther for last November’s UK tour, he exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘I had a very good start to the year and then I kinda… I hit a road block, so to speak.

‘But then the match gets announced with me and WALTER and people just get so excited about it, and that’s just based on the reputation that we both have. To me, that just proves… “Hey guys, just imagine how that reaction would have been if we had continued how we started the year.” ‘

AEW Dynamite airs Wednesday nights at 1am on Fite.

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