Who: Claudio Castagnoli
Also Known As: Very European, the Swiss Stalwart
Weight: 222 lbs.
Hometown: The United Banks of Switzerland
Promotions: ROH, PWG, Chikara, NWA Hollywood (alumnus), EVOLVE (alumnus), CZW (alumnus), Pro Wrestling NOAH, IWA-MS (alumnus), JCW
Affiliations: His most famous and classic affiliation is with Chris Hero. As the Kings of Wrestling, they've made the indie tag team scene their bitches on two separate occasions. They're often seconded by Sara del Rey, and in ROH, regrettably by Shane Hagadorn. In Chikara, Claudio is one of the most prominent figures in the BDK.
Youtube: Claudio's Cafe Found Here
Les Artess Driver
KRS-ONE (with Chris Hero)
Ragnarok (with Ares and Tursas)
PWG World Heavyweight Championship (current)
Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (2x, Chris Hero 1x and Ares 1x)
2010 Chikara King of Trios Champions (with Ares and Tursas)
Chikara Tag World Gran Prix Champions (2x, 2005 with Arik Cannon, 2006 with Chris Hero)
2007 Chikara Torneo Cibernetico winner
ROH World Tag Team Championships (2x, with Chris Hero)
CZW World Tag Team Championships (2x, with Chris Hero)
JCW World Tag Team Championships (with Chris Hero)
2010 Wrestling Observer Tag Team of the Year (with Chris Hero)
Promo on Chuck Taylor
Responding to Chris Hero's challenge
Clutch of Doom promo on The Colony
Dead Men Don't Laugh promo on Team Frightning
All About Claudio Castagnoli:
His Matches - In the indies, Claudio is a giant among men. Yes, there are other guys, including Hero, who have the height, but Claudio actually looks like he shouldn't be there. This isn't a bad thing, as it totally creates some unique style contrasts the smaller guys around the independent scene. Wrestling Claudio is almost like a litmus test. See, many of the smaller guys in the indies do good flips or have an impressive workrate or they look good against each other. But when they wrestle Claudio, if they can't bump huge for his offense, then they're not worthy of your praise.
But Claudio is not to be a man defined by other people. No, the reason why he's more than just a canvas for guys to bump off is because he looks so natural in the ring. He can do the big power stuff and look really aggressive, but he has a sense of fun, almost whimsical nature to his offense at times. I love his "no hands" approach to his UFO, and the giant spin, especially done on guys like Grizzly Redwood, is an amazing, crowd-involving move. He makes everything look easy and fun.
His Character - It's funny, he's such a mild-mannered-seeming guy from his Tweets or when he's a face, but he can turn the menace on and it works. He's extremely versatile, and honestly, despite his size, you don't expect that from him because he's so charismatic and personable that it can be hard to picture him terrorizing small children and being evil. That's why he needs to be seen to be believed.
And for a guy whose third language might be English, let alone first or second, his promos are surprisingly smooth. He's definitely the immigrant wrestler success story, and over the last decade, he's become one of the most well-rounded character wrestlers in the indies right now.
Why You Should Know Him - It's not a secret. Claudio is one of my favorite wrestlers on any level right now. A lot of people agree with me here. HE always gets a reaction, no matter what side of the alignment chart he's on. He's also made people in higher places notice. Once before, he had a WWE contract. If you believe the scuttlebutt, he and Hero have one on the table now. Again, it's a rumor. Believe me, the only people who know whether there is one there or not are the Kings and the HR people in WWE. I'm fine with that. But, if those rumors are true, I can say that there aren't two guys in the indies right now who aren't signed to a major company (especially since Austin Aries just won an Impact contract as we speak) who deserve to get paid more.
But if they don't have a contract offer or if they choose ROH over WWE? Well, it might be selfish of us, but at the same time, we'll get to see more of Claudio in the indies. That's a good thing for us indie devotees. No matter where he's at though, he's definitely a guy to seek out. He's very much one of the most well-rounded, best wrestlers going today.
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein - Please visit his site to view the plentiful amounts of pictures he's taken for DGUSA, ROH and other indie feds: Get Lost Photography