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Thursday, January 21, 2016

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Retrospective: Christian Cage- Success in TNA, WWE's Loss

By @MeenHendrix




Christian. A legend in the business largely overlooked by fans and his employer. Often left in the shadow of Edge, Christian never was giving a realistic chance to be the guy in WWE. He experienced great success as a Tag Team Wrestler and a Singles Wrestler in the midcard (4x Intercontinental Champion, 7x Tag Team Champion, European Champion, Light Heavyweight Champion and Hardcore Champion). However despite this he was never seen as a big time player by the WWE.

Fast Forward to October of 2005. Christian's contract expired and he refused to re-sign with the company. A month later, he makes his first apperance at TNA's Genesis Pay Per View. Now known as Christian Cage, he got off to a fast start and became the Number One Contender to the NWA Heavyweight Championship 1 month after joining TNA. Christian was booked as a main event competitor right from the start. He was finally given the chances he had always felt he deserved from WWE. By February of 2006 he was the NWA Heavyweight Championship. He went on to perform some great matches as champion including a Six Sides of Steel Cage match at Lockdown against Abyss.





What was lost in all of this was The Instant Classic's ability to take the ball and run with it. Anything he was asked to do he accomplished it. He had a high profile feud with Kurt Angle. 2 guys who were never on the same level in WWE. Christian vs Angle would be a feud for the European Championship or another midcard title. Christian already good on the mic, took it a level higher. TNA brought Tyson Tomko in and the Problem Solver and Captain Charisma were up to their old tricks again. Throw in the Phenomenal One AJ Styles and you got one bad ass stable with a brawler, mat wrestler and high flyer. Christian accomplished a lot in TNA. A 2-Time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Christian staked his claim to greatness. Once his contract expired WWE would soon be calling once again.

Christian's return to WWE in 2009 was met with great fanfare and success in the beginning. He instantly became the face of ECW winning the ECW Championship twice before losing it on ECW's final night as a brand to Ezekiel Jackson. Then WWE dropped the ball with him. Understandably so Christian battled multiple injuries including concussions so I understand WWE's hesitation to give him many opportunities. However, that's no excuse for leaving him directionless after ECW folded until 2011. He won his first World Heavyweight Championship (5th World Title overall) in a stellar match with Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules only for him to lose it 5 days later to Randy Orton. The "One More Match" storyline was awesome, but also featured bad booking. Christian winning the title back from Orton by DQ at Money in the Bank 2011 only made him look weaker. Dropping the title again the next month dropped him down even further. There was no huge payoff for Christian. He put on fantastic matches with Orton and it should have ended with him carrying the belt a little longer before transitioning to the Hall of Pain storyline and simply using Christian, who was a better talker, in place of Randy Orton. Christian then got another opportunity at the World Heavyweight Championship in 2013, delivering another instant classic with Alberto Del Rio, but again with no payoff for Christian during what was a pretty boring  run with the title for Del Rio. Christian proved his worth and WWE still dropped the ball after a great start in his return. (Again I understand WWE being hesitant to letting him run with the title however he was healthy in 2011). I wish he got more opportunities, but WWE definitely didn't expand on TNA's success with Christian.

-Ameen

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