Swiss Cyclone Symphony
One day and long ago, I saw something that I had not yet been face-to-face with as a child. I saw a funnel cloud swirling down from the heavens; for anyone else, that wouldn’t mean anything. For those that lived in Small Town, U.S.A., however, this was Tornado Alley, where these cyclones would be quite common. This funnel cloud didn’t become anything substantial, so therefore all was well.
That didn’t stop my fascination with tornadoes.
It made me think. It made me think of nature’s windy monstrosities. Twisters borne of rage and wind are nothing short of compelling. Hauntingly so. Beautiful when observed at a distance, yet destructive in their carnage, as they leave devastation in their wake. The houses in the vicinity are to be destroyed, and families left with devastation that signifies the life they knew is suddenly gone. It was a thought I would never forget.
Such is the way of Claudio Castagnoli, or as he was until recently known, Cesaro. The name did not and does not matter. Double-C is an absolute whirlwind of madness in the squared circle, leaving behind the same ruination as the aforementioned tornadoes. The aftermath of his spectacle displays a burst of a spiraling force. Claudio could grab you by the ankles and spin you around and around to dizzying degrees until he would release. Then, Claudio would leave you to roll into recovery – if you can even make it that far. If a hot tag were to come his way, no one would be safe, as he is a living weapon. He’s something made out of a factory and a body honed by effort and determination. And he is so, so many things.
Castagnoli has eerily fit into many roles as a wrestler and a sports entertainer – a brawler, a puro fighter, a tag team partner, and a technical wrestler. He is the hand that fits in many a glove, not just in wrestling but in life itself. He travels the globe searching for moments to make and sights to inhale. He explores far and wide as a coffee enthusiast, documenting his findings on his alternate Instagram page, @claudioscafe, and even peddling his patented bean juice, Claudio’s Cafe. The Swiss native is never content, never wavering to complacency with the body he’s sculpted utilizing CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, and traditional weightlifting without steroids. For Pete’s sake, he speaks German, Swiss-German, French, English, and Italian. All of that, and he’s a nerd and gamer to boot. Forgive the nationality-based pun, but Castagnoli is an irrefutable human Swiss Army Knife.
Any wrestling roster would be lucky to count him in their ranks, and many have had the pleasure of doing just that with even the addendum of being champion. He’s held gold in RevPro, PWG, Pro-Wrestling NOAH, CZW, Chikara, WWE, and perhaps the most important and impressive Juggalo Championship Wrestling.
Though he could hang as a singles competitor, Claudio Castagnoli has this intangible, innate gift to be a natural team player. He was a member of numerous teams like The Kings of Wrestling and The Bar and teamed with Tyson Kidd and at one point had the international star Shinsuke Nakamura as a tag partner.
I can’t forget his time in Chikara with the villainous stable Bruderschaft des Kreuzes either; he adds the proper amount of seasoning to make any team flavor feel a kick on any wrestling fan’s taste buds.
How fitting is it though that at the AEW and NJPW co-branded event Forbidden Door, the Swiss Cyclone blew away the hinges on a door once thought forbidden, assimilating with the Blackpool Combat Club, led by the man Castagnoli retired, William Regal, fitting in with the mat-based technicians.
The Swiss Superman had battered down and held his own against his opponent in Zack Sabre Jr., the resilient alumni of Suzuki-gun, until he stood victorious.
Claudio reemerged at the night’s close to aid his allies in the Blackpool Combat Club. The team featured Shota Umino, Proud ‘n’ Powerful, a horizontally-prone Hiroshi Tanahashi, and a still open and infected wound from the past: his Eddie Kingston. Filled with adrenaline, he stood with them in defiance to the Jericho Appreciation Society and Minoru Suzuki, and together, they inflicted vitriolic violence upon the coalition of sports entertainers.
Since stepping through the Forbidden Door, Claudio has already proven to be a viable and important member of the Blackpool Combat Club, he has swung through many accomplishments already, having won the Ring of Honor World Championship off of Jonathan Gresham and having immediate classics with the likes of Konosuke Takeshita, Dustin Rhodes, and Dax Harwood, before losing the title to Chris Jericho at AEW’s Grand Slam edition of Dynamite. A short, yet explosive reign with gusts of energy that cemented the honor of Castagnoli and the illustrious title.
Though there are unresolved issues with his new coworkers, such as the aforementioned Mad King from Yonkers, Castagnoli is a force to be reckoned with.
While it is bittersweet to see Claudio’s time as Cesaro came to a likely end, he leaves moments and memories in WWE, such as becoming the winner of the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale (what a mouthful!), his many tag teams, his phenomenal match at NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff against Ilja Dragunov, and much more, yet as we passionate fans are wont to do, we craved more for Cesaro.
Maybe he will give us that “more” in his new role, but in the wake of his WWE departure, he blew in with strong gusts that memorialize him forever in the annals of wrestling fans’ memories.
Claudio Castagnoli has been reborn as he leaves the Cesaro Section, a past once left behind, and how mighty the wind blows in All Elite Wrestling.
Claudio’s tornado path has not dissipated yet – it has simply moved to a new city to wreak havoc.