Claudio Castagnoli On What Led To His WWE Departure

Claudio Castagnoli

Claudio Castagnoli has revealed that it was a promo from an NXT legend that made him realise he needed leave WWE.

On February 24th Claudio Castagnoli’s WWE contract expired, ending his 11 year run with the company. While the decision caught some by surprise, others understood the star’s desire to move on to pastures new.

Speaking during an appearance at Starrcast V with Chris Van Vliet for his Insight podcast, Castagnoli opened up about why he decided to leave WWE. The Ring of Honor World Champion explained that while there wasn’t one moment which made him decide to leave, he noted that a tipping point came when Johnny Gargano delivered his farewell promo in NXT back in December.

“A lot of thought, a lot of thought actually. I felt for a while that I needed a change, and then leading up to it there was just a bunch of signs. A bunch of stuff that different people said that they probably didn’t even realise that they said it, that kind of helped me make up my mind.

On of the things that just popped in my head was was Johnny Gargano’s last promo in NXT when he said to always bet on yourself, and that was maybe the last straw, one of those, like ‘yep he’s 100% right.’ Rather go out on your own horse. Is that even a saying? It is now!” [Laughs]

Continuing on the star broke down the reasoning behind his decision to quietly step out of the limelight rather than announce he exit. The Swiss Superman detailed how his decision was built on wanting to retain the magic in wrestling.

“So it was just a lot of things kind of leading up to it. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, because a lot of people do. A lot of people, you know when Cody left he made that list of everyone he wanted to wrestle? Then after that everybody made that list and it was the new favourite thing.

So I just wanted to do it different, I’m against the grain a lot, where I’m ‘everyone is doing this, let me try and do this over here’ and I felt it was better that way because if I want to keep wrestling, then I pop up somewhere, it’s gonna be a bigger surprise.

And I feel wrestling is all about moments and if I’d have been like ‘Oh I’m leaving’ people would have know. Like, oh he’s gonna show up somewhere, but it’s kind of quiet nobody really knows what’s gonna happen, or when it’s gonna happen and that’s the beauty of wrestling. You wanna be surprised. Yeah you wanna know, but you want to be surprised. To me that’s a very important thing.”

H/t to Inside The Ropes