Tony Khan Originally Planned To Debut Claudio Castagnoli In ROH

Claudio Castagnoli

While Claudio Castagnoli made a splash with his debut at Forbidden Door, that wasn’t always Tony Khan’s plan.

Plans for the Forbidden Door pay per veiw changed drastically due to a number of injuries sustained by AEW and NJPW stars alike. In particular, Bryan Danielson opened the June 22nd episode of Dynamite with the news that he was not medically cleared to compete in his scheduled match against Zack Sabre, Jr. but would be choosing an opponent to take his place.

Fans were delighted when that opponent turned out to be Claudio Castagnoli, who hadn’t wrestled since his departure from WWE in February. Castagnoli was victorious in his AEW debut, and the newest member of the Blackpool Combat Club shows no signs of slowing down as he was also crowned the new ROH Champion at Death Before Dishonor.

During the Death Before Dishonor media scrum, Tony Khan revealed that he initially planned for Castagnoli to debut at ROH, but that plans changed because of Bryan Danielson’s injury. However, the AEW President believes that everything worked out for the best.

“The original plan was for him to debut here [at Death Before Dishonor]. It would have been a different build to the pay-per-view than what we did, and I think in a way, everything worked out perfectly. We saw tonight [Saturday] in the announcement that Bryan Danielson is back, he’s going to return at Fight for the Fallen Wednesday against Daniel Garcia.

“Originally, my vision when we spoke was for Claudio to come back at Ring of Honor and debut as a mystery wrestler. I think there would have been a lot of anticipation for who it was going to be, but I also think that it would have been a great delivery, and I honestly think that if the fans had gotten drawn to the possibility of who it could be, wishing and hoping that it was going to be [Claudio], who I believe was the best free agent wrestler available, it [could have led to more anticipation].”

“I also knew when we spoke there was a possibility that he would come in as the replacement for Bryan at both Forbidden Door and the Blood & Guts match. So, everything worked out great.”

h/t WrestlingInc