Claudio Castagnoli arrived in Ring of Honor as the mystery opponent for Zack Sabre Jr. at the Forbidden Door pay-per-view but it was not what fans were expecting. Tony Khan, the owner of both ROH and AEW, had a drastically different plan in place for their former Cesaro.
For Death Before Dishonor, Big Cass was scheduled to debut but he was pulled when Bryan Danielson was injured.
“The original plan was for him to debut here [at Death Before Dishonor],” Khan confirmed. “It would have been a different build to the pay-per-view than what we did, and I think in a way, everything worked out perfectly. We saw tonight [Saturday] in the announcement that Bryan Danielson is back, he’s going to return at Fight for the Fallen Wednesday against Daniel Garcia.
In Ring of Honor, Claudio would have been introduced as a mysterious wrestler that the fans would want to see a return. The ROH members hoped that this would lead to a lot of excitement, but it could have created anticipation instead.
“I also knew when we spoke there was a possibility that he would come in as the replacement for Bryan at both Forbidden Door and the Blood & Guts match. So, everything worked out great.”
When asked why he started Death Before Dishonor with the Castagnoli vs. Jonathan Gresham ROH World Title Match, Khan reveals that he purposefully scheduled the match as the second main event, so FTR could close out the show.
“I thought it would be setting a tone, creating a great moment, and I wanted to give the chance at a match where CM Punk puts his world title on the line against Colt Cabana. I don’t know if it was 2/3 falls or not, but it seemed like the right opportunity to go with what we did in terms of main events for the night. Both matches were great on their own, and that’s what Dave proposed those two main event matches doing in a doubleheader opening and closing show.”