Claudio Castagnoli is a 40-year-old professional wrestler from Switzerland. He is currently signed to the WWE and performs on SmackDown as the wrestler known as Cesaro.
Castagnoli began his wrestling training in Switzerland and made his professional debut for Germany-based promotion, Westside Xtreme Wrestling, in 2000. Early in his career, Castagnoli teamed with Ares to become the tag team, Swiss Money Holding. While working in Switzerland, the team met Chris Hero and Mike Quackenbush who persuaded them to perform in the United States. They performed for IWA Mid-South and Chikara.
In 2004, Castagnoli received his green card and came to the United States where he began wrestling in various promotions including Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Chikara, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Pro Wrestling Noah and Evolve Wrestling.
Castagnoli Signs WWE Contract
In 2011, Castagnoli signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment and began working in its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (now known as NXT) under the ring name, Antonio Cesaro. He made his debut match at a live event in September 2011 where he lost to Seth Rollins.
In early 2012, “Cesaro” made his first WWE live event debut in a tag team with Michael McGillicutty. A few months later in April, Cesaro made his WWE television debut on SmackDown in a backstage segment with Aksana and Theodore Long.
Since Cesaro’s television debut, he has had a successful professional wrestling career with the WWE. At SummerSlam 2012, Cesaro won his first singles title where he defeated Santino Marella for the United States Championship. Cesaro held the title through various feuds with The Miz, the Great Khali, Kofi Kingston before losing to Kofi Kingston on an episode of RAW in April 2013. His reign lasted 239 days.
Cesaro Wins Battle Royal
In 2014, Cesaro won the inaugural André the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania after he entered as contestant #17. He won the battle royal by eliminating The Big Show after body slamming him over the top rope and out of the ring in a manner reminiscent of Hulk Hogan’s body slam of André at WrestleMania III.
In December 2014, Cesaro teamed with Tyson Kidd and at Fastlane in February 2015, they defeated the Usos to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. At Extreme Rules, Cesaro and Kidd lost the Tag Team Championship to The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston), ending their reign at just over two months.
Cesaro and Sheamus Team Up
In 2016, Cesaro and Sheamus were put in a tag team by RAW General Manager, Mick Foley, and won the RAW Tag Team Championship titles at Roadblock: End of the Line where they defeated The Usos. They lost the titles at the Royal Rumble kickoff show to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson and failed to regain the titles from the Hardy Boyz after they won them at WrestleMania 33. Cesaro and Sheamus dubbed themselves “The Bar” and they defeated The Hardy Boyz at Extreme Rules to win the RAW Tag Team Championship for the second time. The Bar successfully defended their titles until SummerSlam where they were defeated by Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. They regained their titles later that year from Rollins and Ambrose.
Cesaro and Sheamus failed to regain the titles throughout 2018 despite numerous rematches with the Hardy Boyz. The Bar was drafted to SmackDown in April ’18 and got a title shot at SmackDown 1000 where they won the titles from The New Day with the help of Big Show. The held onto the titles until January 2019 where they dropped the titles at the Royal Rumble to the Miz and Shane McMahon. Cesaro was drafted back to RAW in the 2019 draft.
Cesaro Aligns With Shinsuke
In May 2019, Cesaro debuted a new entrance and theme and began feuding with Ricochet. Later that year in October, Cesaro was drafted to SmackDown. He aligned himself with Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn and he and Nakamura teamed up to challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, but they were unsuccessful. Cesaro participated in the Royal Rumble in 2020 but was eliminated by Brock Lesnar.
Cesaro and Shinsuke Tag Team Champions
Throughout 2020, Cesaro began teaming with Nakamura more frequently and challenged The New Day for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships. They defeated The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) in a tables match on July 19, 2020 at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules.
On the October 9th episode of Friday Night SmackDown, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura lost the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship titles to Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods.
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (2 times)
- Global Gauntlet (2008)
- King of Trios (2010)
- Tag World Grand Prix (2005)
- Tag World Grand Prix (2006)
- Torneo Cibernético (2007)
- Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling
- CAPW Unified Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Combat Zone Wrestling
- CZW World Tag Team Championship (2 times)
- Last Team Standing (2006)
- German Stampede Wrestling
- GSW Tag Team Championship (2 times)
- Juggalo Championship Wrestling
- JCW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom
- IPW:UK Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Independent Wrestling Association: Switzerland
- IWA Switzerland World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
- PWG World Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- Global Tag League Fighting Spirit Award (2011)
- Global Tag League Technique Award (2010)
- Revolution Pro Wrestling
- Undisputed British Tag Team Championship (1 time
- Ring of Honor
- ROH World Tag Team Championship (2 times)
- Race to the Top Tournament (2007)
- Tag Wars Tournament (2010)
- Swiss Wrestling Federation
- SWF Powerhouse Championship (1 time)
- SWF Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Westside Xtreme Wrestling
- wXw World Heavyweight Championship (2 time)
- wXw Tag Team Championship (3 times)
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- WWE United States Championship (1 time)
- RAW WWE Tag Team Championship (5 times)
- WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (2 times)
- André the Giant Memorial Trophy (2014, inaugural)