Bryan Danielson revealed who came up with the idea for Claudio Castagnoli to replace him at Forbidden Door and also when the former Cesaro was signed to AEW!
Ahead of AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, it was expected that Bryan Danielson would face Zack Sabre, Jr. at the cross-promotional pay-per-view. However, like multiple other AEW stars, Danielson found himself on the injured list and revealed on the June 22nd episode of Dynamite that he was not medically cleared to compete.
With Danielson out, Zack Sabre, Jr. needed an opponent at Forbidden Door, and the American Dragon promised that he had hand-picked the perfect opponent to replace him and serve as the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club. On the night of the pay-per-view, it was revealed that this replacement was Claudio Castagnoli, who’d been known as Cesaro in WWE.
Speaking with Renee Paquette on a special episode of The Sessions during Starrcast V, Danielson revealed that it truly was his idea to have Claudio replace him at Forbidden Door – but when he spoke to Tony Khan about the idea, the AEW President revealed the secret news that the star was already signed to the company.
“So when it was clear that I wasn’t going to be on Forbidden Door, I called Tony [Khan] and I was like ‘Hey, I got a great idea. Put Claudio in my place.’ I didn’t say that we should sign Claudio, I didn’t know that Claudio was signed. But I did say ‘I’m sure that Claudio would just come in to do a spot.’
“He [Khan] goes ‘I talked to his agent and I don’t think he is just going to come in to do a spot.’ I was like oh, ok. But then he said ‘Just so you know, don’t tell anybody but I have already signed him.’ So yeah, he was already there.”
If you use any quotes from this transcript, please credit The Sessions and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.