Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from All Elite Wrestling and WWE.
Claudio Castagnoli's Original Debut Plans
The biggest pop of Sunday's Forbidden Door pay-per-view belonged to a debuting Claudio Castagnoli, who replaced Bryan Danielson in his match against Zack Sabre Jr.
Danielson said during Wednesday's Dynamite that Castagnoli was his hand-picked replacement, which Tony Khan revealed was actually the truth—although Khan had already locked in the former WWE star to a contract beforehand.
The AEW president revealed Castagnoli was originally tabbed to debut at July 23's Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view had Danielson been able to return from injury in time for Forbidden Door.
"I figured there was a chance that if Bryan made it back, there was a good chance that he would have started at Death Before Dishonor, and it would have been a great moment there," Khan told reporters Sunday night. "As long as Bryan is OK, that’s the most important thing. I think he will be fine. It was great to have a great moment here at Forbidden Door. Things worked out perfectly.
"I talked to Bryan on the phone last weekend, and he told me that he wasn’t feeling 100 percent. As soon as he said that, I said 'We’re eight days from the pay-per-view. If you’re not feeling 100 percent today, don’t even think about wrestling on the pay-per-view. Don't even think about wrestling at Blood & Guts. ... He mentioned Claudio and I said, ‘That’s funny, I have Claudio under contract.’ I hadn't told anybody."
While bringing Castagnoli back at Death Before Dishonor would have been a nice full-circle moment for the former Ring of Honor star, a debut on the biggest possible stage at Forbidden Door was probably a better move. As much hype as there will be for the Ring of Honor return, there is no way it will have nearly as much hype or the buyrate of Forbidden Door.
Allowing Claudio that moment—and that incredible pop—is a major way to build hype with the AEW audience.
Jon Moxley's Original Forbidden Door Plans Revealed
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEWxNJPW?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEWxNJPW</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForbiddenDoor?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForbiddenDoor</a> was a HUGE night for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackpoolCombatClub?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackpoolCombatClub</a> w/ the debut of <a href="https://twitter.com/ClaudioCSRO?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ClaudioCSRO</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/JonMoxley?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JonMoxley</a> capturing the Interim <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AEW?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AEW</a> World Title! See all the action now on all major cable & satellite providers, <a href="https://twitter.com/BleacherReport?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BleacherReport</a> and internationally on <a href="https://twitter.com/FiteTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FiteTV</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/ppv_com?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ppv_com</a> <a href="https://t.co/3FMcqcoMbV">pic.twitter.com/3FMcqcoMbV</a>
It turns out Jon Moxley was originally supposed to have a supporting, rather than starring, role at the Forbidden Door pay-per-view.
We already knew it was originally CM Punk slated to face Hiroshi Tanahashi for the AEW Championship.
What wasn't known, until it was reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, is that Moxley was originally planned only to be part of the multiman tag match that started the show. It's unclear whether it was supposed to be a four-on-four tag match or if Mox was slated to replace Wheeler Yuta or Eddie Kingston in the match in its initial incarnation.
Suffice it to say Mox rocketed up the card the minute Punk went down with his injury, and we're going to get an eventual Moxley-CM Punk feud out of the deal.
No one would ever wish for injuries, but AEW found a way to make the most out of a bad situation at multiple points in the build to Forbidden Door.
FTR Relish in Victory, Shade WWE
It's no secret FTR left a lot of money on the table to leave WWE and join AEW, thanks in large part to their frustration with the creative direction.
Dax Harwood has said it. Cash Wheeler has said it. Pretty much everyone involved has acknowledged that FTR was one of the first defectors from WWE to AEW to truly turn down riches in exchange for creative happiness.
After taking home the winner-take-all tag championship match at Forbidden Door, the pair relished in their moment while poking fun at a low point in WWE creative.
The reference was to a secret camera segment in which The Usos "caught" Wheeler shaving Harwood's back. It was part of an ongoing series of comedy-related storylines involving FTR on the WWE main roster, as their direction moved significantly away from what brought them success in NXT.
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