Bryan Danielson’s injury created an opening for both his planned match with New Japan’s Zack Sabre Jr. at Forbidden Door tonight and next Wednesday’s Blood & Guts. Tony Khan hyped Danielson’s replacement, and anticipation was high it would a Swiss star that many felt was underutilized during much of his ten-plus year WWE run.
It was. Claudio Castagnoli — formerly known as Cesaro — entered in a Blackpool Combat Club warm-up jacket as the Chicago crowd went wild.
#ZSJ's opponent is none other than Claudio Castagnoli @ClaudioCSRO, the newest member of the #BlackpoolCombatClub, here at #ForbiddenDoor! Order the PPV right now! #AEWxNJPW pic.twitter.com/uZdC9x5eFG— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) June 27, 2022
Claudio stunned ZSJ with a quick Neutralizer that almost ended the match before it began. But Sabre Jr. isn’t called the best technical wrestler in the world for nothing. The Englishman showed off his skills, targeting Castagnoli’s arm and knee.
It didn’t prevent us from getting some of the amazing feats of strength we were used to seeing from Cesaro in WWE, though.
The work ZSJ did to Castagnoli’s arms did keep him from executing moves like the Giant Swing, but he welcomed striking exchanges with Sabre. They traded pinning predicaments, with Zack pulling out some really creative ones.
But Claudio’s power turned the tide. A pop-up European uppercut & discus lariat set-up a Ricola bomb, and BCC’s newest member heads into Blood & Guts with a win.
Welcome to the team, @ClaudioCSRO!— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) June 27, 2022
Claudio Castagnoli is ALL ELITE!
See you this Wednesday Night for #AEWDynamite #BloodAndGuts!
Thank you to everyone all around the world who watched #ForbiddenDoor tonight! pic.twitter.com/dlzNwOwdoH
Get complete Forbidden Door results and coverage of the entire show here.