topcenter

WRESTLING COLUMNS

Farewell, Claudio Castagnoli
November 16, 2006 by Rob S.


Editor's Notes: You may have noticed that there are multiple columns up on the website about the rumored return of Degeration-X. If you read a column (ANY column) and decide to send in feedback, PLEASE be sure to indicate which column you are responding to by typing the TITLE of the column in the subject line. Also, DO NOT FORGET to sign your name. Thanks!


It seems that I started liking indy wrestling at just the wrong time. I missed most of the awesome ROH vs. CZW feud from earlier this year, most of Chris Hero's great CZW title run, and just caught the end of Claudio Castagnoli's glorious indy run. "Who is Claudio Castagnoli"" You might ask. "Double C" is a 6 foot 5 inch, 222 pound Swiss machine. (All stats courtesy of OWW.) He is the master of the European Uppercut and the practitioner of the Ricola Bomb. And now he's headed to the dreaded WWE.

Claudio began wrestling in his native country of Switzerland. There, he teamed with another Swiss wrestler named Ares and formed the Swi$$ Money Holding tag team. Claudio and Ares would often cross the border to wrestle in Germany. It was there that Claudio first met Chris Hero. Hero explains in a shoot interview that he knew Claudio was going to be big the first time that he saw him wrestle. When Claudio and Ares travelled to the U.S. for a brief period of time, Hero met up with them and gave them a bit of training, but the two quickly left again for Switzerland. Claudio loved the U.S. so much from this one experience that he decided that he wanted to come back for good. After flying solo for a while in such promotions as ROH, CZW, and CHIKARA, Claudio formed a highly successful tag team with his good friend Chris Hero.

Known as the Kings of Wrestling, Hero and Castagnoli quickly rose to the top of the ladder in CZW and won the tag belts for the first time on September 10th, 2005 by defeating Necro Butcher and Toby Klein (aka the Tough Crazy Bastards). Meanwhile, in ROH, Claudio continued to compete in great singles matches as Hero was not yet a part of that company. Hero was brought into ROH at the beginning of 2006, however, in the already-infamous ROH vs. CZW feud. It was unknown where Claudio's allegiance lied. Would he stay loyal to ROH or side with his buddy Chris Hero" At first, it seemed as if Claudio was going to do the former, but on April 22nd, 2006 at ROH's 100th Show, Castagnoli turned on ROH and helped Team CZW defeat Team ROH. At ROH events from this point on, the ROH fans' previous cheers of "Heyyyy!" turned to boos.

Meanwhile, over in CHIKARA, Hero and Claudio won tag team gold by defeating 5 teams over 2 nights in a tag team tournament. Weeks prior to this, they had lost the gold in CZW to their arch-enemies the Blackout.

The ROH vs. CZW feud came to a head on July 15th in Philadelphia in a cage of death match. This is where I come in. I went to the event not knowing who Claudio Castagnoli or pretty much any guys from CZW were, but after it was over, I had a newfound respect for all of them. Team ROH won the brutal match to end the feud for good and banish the CZW wrestlers from all ROH rings, but Hero and Castagnoli were invited to stay for not simply being "garbage wrestlers." While still holding the CHIKARA belts, the Kings upset the champion team of Austin Aries and Roderick Strong to win the ROH tag title belts on September 16th. On October 14th in CZW, the Kings defeated the Blackout to take back their belts. They now held an unprecedented 3 sets of tag team gold.

With all of the gold and all of the accolades being thrown their way, WWE started to take notice. They saw in Claudio a large, well-built man who could wrestle, and that was enough for them to take interest. While they were also somewhat interested in Hero, he does not have the physique that WWE seems to NEED in their generic-looking wrestlers, so it is unlikely that he was as highly sought after as Claudio. While holding all 3 tag team belts, Claudio went down to Deep South Wrestling for a tryout in October. WWE officials were said to be very impressed, and Claudio was offered a developmental deal around November 4th. On November 8th, suspicions were put to rest as it was announced that Claudio Castagnoli had taken the WWE deal.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the right thing for Claudio to do, but it puts the indy promoters in a tough spot. Claudio has been assigned to start at OVW in December, so ROH, CZW, and CHIKARA have to figure out a way to effectively get the belts off of the Kings of Wrestling. Well, CZW already has, and in controversial fashion too. On their November 11th Night of Infamy event, the Kings were booked to wrestle two members of the Blackout. Under normal circumstances, the Blackout team would consist of Ruckus and Sabian. However, Ruckus had scheduling conflicts and could not attend the show, so Robbie Mireno had to take his place. Now, no offense to Robbie Mireno, but he's worthless as a wrestler. He usually only does the mic work for the Blackout (and he's good at that), but there's no way CZW could put him over cleanly against Hero and Claudio. So they had CZW heavyweight champion Eddie Kingston take out Hero as the Kings came down the entrance ramp, leaving Claudio to fend for himself against Mireno and Sabian. He was able to hold his own for a while before Kingston re-emerged and took out Claudio after a ref bump. Many fans were outraged by what happened. One fan was walking back and forth yelling, "F*ck CZW! You deserved better than this, Claudio!" I tend to agree with him. In CZW's defense, they had little time to plan a good match as Claudio had only announced that he was accepting the deal 3 days before the show, but I still think they could have thought of something better than this. The fans gave Claudio a standing ovation as he made his way up the ramp and chants of "Thank you Claudio!" broke out. He took a little bow and disappeared from the old ECW building for good.

As of this writing, the Kings of Wrestling are still the ROH and CHIKARA tag team champions. We will have to wait and see how those 2 promotions handle Claudio's imminent departure, but hopefully they can pull off something better than CZW. Even though he's leaving, the Kings of Wrestling are still the tag team of the year in my mind. Knowing WWE, Claudio will mire in OVW or be buried in the under-card on SmackDown!, but I seriously hope that this does not happen. I'm hoping against hope that WWE fans will take to him like the indy fans have done over the past few years and get him over on a larger scale.

Hopefully in a year or two I will turn on the television and flip over to RAW only to hear cheers of "Heyyyy!" from the crowd as Claudio delivers uppercut after uppercut on his opponent. If not, it's been fun while it lasted Claudio, and thank you for all of your hard work. Here's one more for the road: HEYYYYYYYYYY!

by Rob S. ..


wrote:

wrote:

wrote:

wrote:

wrote:

wrote:

wrote:

wrote:

If you have any comments, reactions, rebuttles or thoughts on this column, feel free to send them to the email below,
If your email is intelligently written, they will be posted underneath this messege..
We at OnlineWorldofWrestling want to promote all points of view, and that includes YOURS.




© 2007, Black Pants, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.

[ CHAT ROOM | FLASH | SEARCH | FORUMS | DOWNLOADS | TAPES | WRESTLINKS | GUESTBOOK | THANK YOU | CONTACT ]