AEW star Claudio Castagnoli knows exactly why his alliance with Paul Heyman in WWE, which looked excellent on paper, flopped so miserably.
Claudio told Chris Van Vliet at Starrcast V that Heyman was instructed to exclusively talk about Brock Lesnar during their segments. Then, Castagnoli (as Cesaro) wrestled matches that didn’t really mean anything or do much for his long-term trajectory.
The constant focus on Brock, who was off-screen at the time, got in the way and turned what should’ve been a magical pairing into something that actually hampered Cesaro’s development; fans wanted to cheer him following his WrestleMania XXX Battle Royal success, but Heyman’s heel persona clashed with that.
So, Claudio floundered until WWE got bored.
Castagnoli described this booking failure as “a series of unfortunate circumstances” on-screen, but he’s grateful for the time he got to spend under Paul E’s learning tree on the road. Claudio learned a ton from Heyman during road trips, and he’ll never forget some of the invaluable advice he was given during that period.
However, becoming a “Paul Heyman Guy” did sod all for Cesaro’s prospects. He was merely a vehicle for Heyman to continue crowing about Lesnar.