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Cesaro wasn't looking to leave WWE, didn't like contract extension offer

Dave Meltzer has provided an update on Cesaro's departure from WWE.

In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer provided an update on why Cesaro and WWE weren't able to come to terms on a new contract.

It was reported yesterday that Cesaro had "quietly exited WWE" after failing to come to terms on a new deal. The two sides had been in negotiations for a new agreement, but Cesaro turned down the contract extension that he was offered.

Meltzer wrote that Cesaro wasn't looking to leave WWE, but he didn't like the offer that he was given to re-sign:

Cesaro’s (Claudio Castagnoli, 41) contract has expired as of this week. The two sides were in talks on a new deal but couldn’t come to terms. Given the huge money they’ve offered others whose deals have been up (Zayn, Owens and Styles) it would indicate he did not get that level of an offer. He also hadn’t gotten any backdoor AEW offer when he was negotiating so it wasn’t that he got a better offer elsewhere. That isn’t saying AEW may not make an offer now that he’s a free agent. Right now he’s leaving the promotion unless something changes. This was more of a WWE decision than a Cesaro decision in the sense he wasn’t looking to leave like others were, but they made an offer he didn’t like. He is free to go anywhere immediately.

Obviously he’s a great worker who is one of those guys who has been listed as most underrated and underpushed since basically his start with the company in 2011. Even when he did get over, it was an organic thing from the crowd so the company never went with it. One thing is that Bryan Danielson and CM Punk and to a degree Rey Mysterio were all exceptions to the rule, as guys like Ziggler, Zack Ryder and Cesaro would somehow get over big for a short period of time, Vince never saw them as stars and figured it was just a fluke thing, and after a short period of time the fans started seeing them as lesser talent because that’s how they were portrayed. With Ziggler it was the funniest because people thought he was great, and then when the company never pushed him, it was like people saying he really wasn’t that great and couldn’t be a top guy even when those who worked with him thought otherwise. To a degree, Cesaro’s rep was hurt by never being pushed past a certain level with the idea since they never pushed [him] he must not have what it takes to be able to get past a certain level. 

Danielson last year was super high on Cesaro while he was on the [WWE] booking team and put him over clean a few times, only for him to be fed to [Roman] Reigns and not even look competitive and the fall even farther backwards to where people stopped caring about him. We haven’t heard anything about him and AEW, which has made a lot of good working additions who are younger. He’d be perfect for NJPW in my mind but until things get back to normal in Japan it’s not really something he could do past working Strong, which no doubt he could do right now, but it’s so much less money.

Cesaro's last match before his WWE contract expired took place on SmackDown on February 11, with him losing to Happy Corbin.

In January, Cesaro wasn't included as one of the 30 participants in this year's men's Royal Rumble match. He told Sports Illustrated in an interview earlier this month that he was disappointed not to be part of the Rumble.

“Yes, I was [disappointed],” Cesaro said. “A lot of people would have liked to see me in the Rumble, and a lot of people would have liked to see me win. That would have put me on the next path of my journey. I saw Big E say in an interview he’d like to see me win, and that was very nice. I appreciate the support of my colleagues, but unfortunately, that did not happen.”