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Cageside Seats Interview: Claudio Castagnoli

Claudio Castagnoli is a journeyman wrestler with a mighty impressive resume. He began wrestling in his native Switzerland in 2000, forming a popular tag team known as Swiss Money Holding. Known as "The Most Money Making Man," Claudio wrestled all over Europe before coming to America to wrestle for a few independent promotions. After a return to Europe, Claudio made the decision to move to America and begin wrestling full-time in the United States. He's been a fixture of independent wrestling ever since, and had been co-head trainer of the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory with Mike Quackenbush since 2007.

Most recently, Claudio has received his largest exposure to date wrestling for Ring of Honor across the country and on PPV. His smarmy character is indeed "Very European" and he can be seen Monday nights on ROH on HDNet. He's been embroiled in a bitter feud with Brent Albright and has been assisting Prince Nana's international stable The Embassy.

Out of the ring, Claudio appears to be the most genuinely happy man in the world. A sample of his Twitter feed includes the following:

"Cereal, coffee and soon the gym. What more could you wish for?"

"If you're feeling lazy today, pick yourself up and do something! You'll feel great afterwards :-)"

Claudio was kind enough to take some time to talk to Cageside Seats about what inspires him and keeps him going.

What was the moment or event that made you decide that wrestling was what you wanted to dedicate yourself to?

When I got the chance to move to the US.

- What was the transition like from wrestling for European audiences to wrestling for American audiences?

It was not that big actually. The indie crowds are pretty much the same.

- Are there significant differences between wrestling in Europe and wrestling in the US? Do you need to make adjustments to your style or preparation depending on where you’re wrestling?

No, my style is pretty versatile so I fit in quite well.

- How did the "Very European" personality come about?

Well I just am "Very European" it came up during a promo once and it just stuck.

- Do you ever have any desire to put a distance between who you are in the ring and where you’re from?

Absolutely not.

- How would you compare the "Very European" Claudio Castagnoli to "The Most Money Making Man" Claudio Castagnoli?

Most Money Making Man is 2003, "Very European" is 2009

- You’re well-known for having one of the best physiques and conditioning in all of professional wrestling. Can you tell us about your workout regimen and diet?

I work out pretty much every day and pay attention to what I eat. I'm a big fan of natural foods and stuff I can make myself. I take pride in what I do and work very hard for it.

- How does working for ROH in 2009 differ from working for ROH in 2006?

I have more experience in what I do. Also ROH runs more shows now days plus has TV. It's very different to work for TV than work at a house show.

- How do you feel the relationship with HDNet has helped ROH?

It got us exposure all over the US and hopefully soon internationally. It gives the performers the chance to wrestle for TV and to learn that style.

- You’ve spent much of the year involved in feuds with Colt Cabana and Brent Albright. Do you prefer to be involved in these type extended feuds, or do you prefer to mix it up more often with different opponents?

I enjoy both. It's a different challenge to do either and I like challenges.

- Based on your Twitter feed, you seem like you may be the happiest man alive. What’s the source of your boundless joy?

I'm living my dream! And I try to look at the bright side of life. A wise man once sang "Always look on the bright side of life..."

- Who are some of your favorite opponents or partners?

Oh, there are too many to list! But everybody that's a challenge to me is a good opponent. Partners, I'd say Ares, Marc Roudin, Chris Hero, Dave Taylor.

- Are there any wrestlers that you would love to work with or against?

Oh yeah there are plenty! Again too many to list. I for example still haven't wrestled AJ Styles!

- What are your views of the current WWE and TNA products?

TNA seems to be getting better and better and I really enjoy SmackDown, it's a good show with some good wrestling.

- What are your ultimate goals in the business? When all is said and done, what will you have wanted to accomplish?

I just want to do as good as I can. What that is I don't know. I never dreamed of moving to the US and do what I do, so let's see what the future holds for me.

- You’ve been one of the head trainers at the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory since 2007. How does it feel to be considered a mentor for so many young wrestlers?

It's a big challenge and some hard work.

- What do you think is the most vital thing for new wrestlers to learn?

Take some pride in what you do.

- Considering your involvement with the Wrestle Factory, does it ever get difficult splitting your time between teaching, training, and working for other promotions?

Not really. I'm able to fit everything in quite well. We Swiss are organized!

- What is your favorite match you’ve ever wrestled?

I can't just recall one. There's been many that were special for different reasons. And when I try to list them I always forget one, so I'm not even trying.

- What is your all-time favorite match (or matches) as a wrestling fan?

Uh.... Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart

- What milestones do you see yourself reaching in 2010?

Let's find out together! Hopefully some ROH gold!

Thanks to Claudio for his time. You can visit for tons of information on Claudio, links to his MySpace and Twitter pages, merch, recipes and tons more.

Check out Claudio at wrestling event near you or on Monday nights on ROH on HDNet!

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