Report: WWE Talent Shocked By Claudio Castagnoli Signing With AEW
A surprised reaction within WWE
While many expected Claudio Castagnoli (FKA Cesaro) to be Zack Sabre Jr.'s mystery opponent at Forbidden Door on June 26, especially after Bryan Danielson mentioned they would be a top technical wrestler, that expectation did not extend to the WWE locker room.
Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that a lot of WWE talent were shocked at Castagnoli's decision to sign with All Elite Wrestling. Their surprise reportedly stemmed from the size of WWE's offer and the feeling in the locker room that AEW must have offered Claudio the same or more money, something it was believed Tony Khan's promotion were no longer doing.
It was also believed that Castagnoli could have made a "very substantial amount of money" in WWE even though he likely would not have received a significant push.
Castagnoli left WWE in February of 2022 after both sides failed to agree to terms on a new deal, with WWE said to have made the former United States Champion an offer he didn't like.
Outside of shock, several WWE talents, including Xavier Woods and Becky Lynch, did congratulate Castagnoli following his AEW debut on Sunday.