Claudio Castagnoli on AEW vs. WWE: A Soccer Analogy


Claudio Castagnoli on AEW vs. WWE: A Soccer Analogy
© Claudio Castagnoli/Twitter

Former WWE Superstar Claudio Castagnoli, who recently joined All Elite Wrestling (AEW) in 2022, shared his insights on the ongoing conversation about wrestlers transitioning from WWE to AEW during an interview with WrestleTalk.

Castagnoli, known for his decade-plus tenure with WWE, brought a unique perspective to the discussion, highlighting the evolving landscape of professional wrestling and the implications of being labeled an "ex-WWE guy." In the world of professional wrestling, where fan loyalties are often fiercely divided, the movement of wrestlers between promotions like WWE and AEW can stir up significant debate.

Castagnoli's move to AEW after over ten years with WWE added fuel to this ongoing discourse. However, Castagnoli views his career transition through a pragmatic lens, likening it to the career path of a soccer player moving between clubs.

WWE as Career Stepping Stone

"Before AEW's emergence, the primary avenues for a consistent, full-time wrestling career were with WWE or perhaps with New Japan for those willing to embrace the touring lifestyle," Castagnoli explained.

He emphasized that a stint with WWE was often seen as a necessary step in a wrestler's journey to prominence and financial stability. Reflecting on his time with WWE, Castagnoli expressed gratitude, acknowledging the invaluable experience and learning opportunities he gained from competing in thousands of matches under the WWE banner.

It was a period where he honed his skills and absorbed wisdom from some of the industry's most revered figures. Yet, Castagnoli firmly believes that his past association with WWE should not overshadow his current identity and contributions to AEW.

Drawing a parallel with soccer, Castagnoli questioned the rationale behind the perpetual 'ex-WWE' tag. "If a soccer player trains at Manchester Academy and then plays for Fulham, do we continuously refer to him as the ex-Manchester player? Similarly, in wrestling, moving to a new promotion like AEW should redefine an athlete's identity, rather than permanently branding them based on their past association with another league, such as WWE," he argued.

This perspective sheds light on the dynamic nature of professional wrestling, where athletes' careers are not confined to a single promotion. As the industry continues to evolve, with promotions like AEW offering alternative platforms for wrestlers, the conversation around career transitions and wrestler identities remains a relevant and thought-provoking topic.

Claudio Castagnoli Aew