AEW's Claudio Castagnoli Opens Up About WWE Departure

At last month's AEW Forbidden Door pay-per-view event, Claudio Castagnoli officially made his All Elite Wrestling debut, replacing Bryan Danielson in a bout against Zack Sabre Jr. and becoming the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club. Castagnoli spent more than a decade at WWE, wrestling under the name Cesaro, before his contract expired earlier this year and he departed the company. Now, Castagnoli looks to be a force in AEW, fighting former tag team partner Jake Hager at AEW Dynamite on Wednesday night.

During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Castagnoli opened up about his exit from WWE, opting to "take the high road" and focus on the good opportunities that his time with the company offered him.

"It can be hard to take the high road, but that's the road I am going to take," Castagnoli said. "All the memories, they matter. I'm grateful for everything I have accomplished and I'm grateful for all those opportunities. And they make me work so much harder to get where I want to be. Once I left, I knew what I wanted and where I wanted to go, I just didn't know if it would happen. That was also time for me to take a break mentally, recharge, and come back better. My goal is always to be better than I was yesterday, to be better tomorrow than I am today. I want to be even better now than people remember."

Castagnoli went on to say that he was excited about the "new opportunities" AEW would afford him. His first week with the company included a victory over Sabre Jr., as well as a win with the Blackpool Combat Club in AEW's second-ever Blood & Guts match.

"I came to AEW for new challenges," Castagnoli continued. "That's why I fit perfectly in the Blackpool Combat Club. Like [William] Regal said, 'You either step up or get stepped on.' I loved coming in with the BCC because I've known those guys for such a long time, and I know they have my back no matter what. It feels like everything here is clicking in AEW. It doesn't feel like it's only been a couple weeks. I'm extremely excited to find out what the future holds."

Are you looking forward to seeing what else AEW has in store for Claudio Castagnoli? Let us know in the comments!