There truly is no place like home for Ring of Honor’s Claudio Castagnoli. But Toronto comes pretty damn close.

“I really enjoy the city,” Castagnoli recently told SLAM! Wrestling. “We did a double shot there one time at the Markham Fairgrounds. Lance Storm was working those shows and we were there two days in a row. I had a great time.”

The Switzerland-born Castagnoli agrees that Toronto ranks near the top of the list of great wrestling cities, and he remembers his experience in Toronto being very pleasurable each time he’s had the opportunity to visit.

Claudio Castagnoli strikes a pose in November 2010 in Toronto. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

“I love Toronto. The architecture of the city is very European,” Castagnoli said. “You can get out of your car anywhere in the city and just walk around, and take in the sights. I went to a Blue Jays game there and I really had a great time.”

Castagnoli says one of the things that stands out the most about Toronto is the passion of its fans. Of course, Ring of Honor is a company that was built on passion, so they surely know enough to spot that same passion. Perhaps that may be what makes Toronto such a great wrestling city.

“The fans that come to our shows in Toronto, come to see good wrestling. And that’s what we give them,” Castagnoli said. “If you go to some of the shows for the mainstream companies, some of the fans do not have that same passion. The fans who come to our shows know everything about us.”

One of the toughest, yet most common questions that a wrestler can be asked is “what was your favourite match?” And perhaps the most common response to that question is “my next one.” With Castagnoli’s next match being in the city that he loves so much, that might ring true. Castagnoli takes on Kyle O’Reilly in a “Special Challenge” match Saturday night in Toronto.

Claudio Castagnoli headlocks Homicide in New York City in March 2011. Photo by George Tahinos.

“When you’re a main guy, some of these young, up-and-comers are going to try to make a name for themselves off of you,” Castagnoli said. “Kyle O’Reilly is in his home country, and all the fans might be behind him. I’m looking forward to the match, but I’m not ready to step down though.”

Surprisingly, Castagnoli’s own match may not even be the highlight of his evening. What he is most looking forward to is watching his tag team partner Chris Hero walk out of Toronto as the Ring of Honor World champion. Hero hopes to take the title from the current champion Eddie Edwards in the main event, which could also possibly steal the show.

Ring of Honor makes its much anticipated return to Toronto Saturday night, from the Ted Reeve Arena. Bell time is 7:30 p.m.