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Cesaro becomes free agent as WWE contract expires

The 41-year-old reportedly turned down a new deal.
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Cesaro's WWE contract has expired and he is now a free agent, according to a report from PW Insider and confirmed by our Dave Meltzer. 

WWE is believed to have offered Cesaro a new contract, but it was rejected. He had been on a one-year extension that expired earlier this week. Because his deal ran out, he will not have to wait for a 90-day non-compete window to sign with another company or wrestle elsewhere.

Fightful Select reported that the news has been met with "disappointment and dismay" as Cesaro was very well-liked. There had been plans to use him on future shows, but that is no longer the case. 

The 41-year-old last wrestled for WWE on the February 11th edition of Smackdown, losing to Happy Corbin. He hadn't won a match on WWE programming since defeating Ridge Holland on the November 26th, 2021 episode of SmackDown. There were reportedly no plans to push him in recent months unless he re-signed.

He had been in the company since 2011.

Last year before agreeing to stay in WWE, Dave Meltzer wrote in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Cesaro was set to be the "babyface star" of a SmackDown gauntlet match. The spot was then given to Shinsuke Nakamura as Cesaro hadn't re-signed at the time.

"The gauntlet match that Adam Pearce won on SmackDown, the babyface star making spot of running through the field and then getting screwed at the end was an idea of (Daniel) Bryan and his pick for the spot was Cesaro. However, since Cesaro hadn’t signed yet, it was switched to Nakamura, so Cesaro was going to be the face originally," he wrote.