WWE Dumps Claudio Castagnoli, to Sign Donald Trump?


WWE officials are finalising the details of an on-air feud between Vince McMahon and Donald Trump that they hope will get them plenty of mainstream publicity. This began with Vince’s interview on Raw on New Year’s Day, which mentioned Trump’s argument with Rosie O’Donnell, and his comments during the Rob Conway “You’re fired” angle. The vague plan is to build to a “Battle of the Billionaires”, possibly at the Royal Rumble, with Vince in the corner of one wrestler and Trump in the corner of another. The deal was something NBC Universal approached WWE with in November, hoping to get Trump involved in an angle and match at the same time the new season of The Apprentice starts. Last season saw the show drop in the ratings so NBC are keen to drum up interest in Trump via various publicity stunts. It hasn’t been finalised yet as both NBC and WWE need to green light the booking and direction of the program but it seems more than likely Donald Trump will be on Raw soon.

The last two months of domestic house show business have been excellent for WWE. It has been their most successful stretch since March and April 2002. Internally, management is viewing ECW December to Dismember as rock bottom for the product as even people who refuse to accept criticism had to pay attention to the negative feedback for that PPV. From a creative standpoint they are determined to keep the attendance momentum going, with Vince McMahon pushing everyone harder than before.

A lot of people in WWE have high hopes for Johnny Nitro and Melina and see them as being maybe a year away from being at the level of a Randy Orton.

Claudio Castagnoli was apparently in the USA on a tourist visa rather than a working visa and WWE signed him before finding out. Mike Bucci is getting the blame for this and John Laurinaitis scrubbed Castagnoli’s developmental deal because getting him the working visa would have cost thousands of dollars, which he doesn’t feel Castagnoli is worth. There is also a lot of heat on Castagnoli for not telling them about it up front, although Gabe Sapolsky of ROH has said Castagnoli has a green card so none of this should be a problem.

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