Home > Christian, Guest Blog, Kieran > Christian’s Title Defeat – Tragedy …… Or Opportunity? by Kieran

Christian’s Title Defeat – Tragedy …… Or Opportunity? by Kieran

Well, you can almost smell the outrage as thousands of keyboard warriors direct their bile at Vince McMahon and the WWE for making the unforgivable decision to have Christian drop his freshly won World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton on Smackdown.  I’ve seen some hugely dramatic reactions to a decision that was probably made almost as soon as the draft was finalized, including statements like “I’m never watching WWE again” and “How could Vince do this to Christian?” There was no doubt that the Internet Wrestling Community would be up in arms at the dawning of new title reigns for both of their favorite whipping boys, John Cena and Randy Orton, in the same week, but the scale of the vitriol has surprised even me.

Jason “Christian” Reso is currently the online wrestling forums most celebrated WWE superstar and in my eyes deservedly so.  He is an experienced and versatile performer, capable of putting on exceptional matches with a variety of opponents and possesses an undeniable charisma and poise on the microphone.  His look may be unexceptional (though he remains in superb shape for a man in his late 30’s) but he is the fortunate beneficiary of an enormous groundswell of goodwill that stems from his lengthy WWE career, his achievements as one half of Edge & Christian and his real life friendship with the now retired Adam “Edge” Copeland.  His thrilling ladder match victory over Alberto Del Rio was well received and a fitting tribute to someone who has made huge contributions to some of the company’s finest hours.

 

That said, up until this point in time, Christian has never quite managed to truly breakthrough and force himself into the main event and be spoken about in the same breath as true WWE top-liners.  He was always perceived within the company as having less of an upside than his former tag team partner, and frustrated at his failure to become the star many believed he could be, he departed for the greater opportunities offered in TNA in 2005 (It’s worth noting that at this point Edge had not yet reached his potential as a top-tier superstar, his first WWE Championship win would come in January 2006).  While Christian’s time down in the Impact Zone proved fruitful with him winning the NWA World Heavyweight Title twice, it is arguable that his time there counted against him in the WWE upon his return. Certainly another 3 years plugging away in the WWE may have seen his main event opportunity arrive sooner.

His triumph last Sunday was a well merited reward for all his efforts since his return, both in carrying the dying ECW as a superb fighting champion and strongly rehabbing from the torn pectoral muscle he sustained last September.  A superbly assembled instant classic with the Mexican Aristocrat culminated in Captain Charisma climbing the ladder and retrieving the great prize of a World Championship as his oldest friend looked on proudly.  It was a rare moment of real emotion in an often fake business and I took a great amount of satisfaction in seeing Christian’s talent and dedication rewarded.  However, it has been overlooked by many that he only had this opportunity due to the career ending injuries sustained by his former partner.  If not for Edge’s retirement forcing the WWE to radically rethink their booking plans this would have in all likelihood been the bout in which Del Rio finally achieved his self proclaimed destiny of winning the title.  Instead, Christian ascended to the World Heavyweight Championship on a wave of sentiment stemming mostly from affection for the departing “Rated-R Superstar”.  He was immensely over on Sunday, but this was more due to his history and close relationship to “The Ultimate Opportunist” than to his own outstanding qualities.  The victory was the correct outcome in that match and the right climax to the story, but Captain Charisma won the title almost as a surrogate Edge and was cheered as such by the fans.

In that sense, dropping the belt was the right option.  Christian deserves to be a World Champion, and I believe he will be again, but it needs to be on his own merits, not as a stand-in for someone else.  This title reign would have always been overshadowed by the spectre of the “Rated-R-Superstar”, leaving fans with the perception that the Peep’s hero was nothing more than a watered down Edge.  There has always been much more to his character than that, but people have short memories.  His superb run in ECW was seen by relatively few and he hadn’t really hit the ground running on Smackdown before that September injury stalled his progress.  Since his return at Elimination Chamber he has been booked solely as Edge’s sidekick and while this association pushed him into the main event spotlight it was clear who the junior partner was.  Now that the story of his lifelong friend’s retirement has been concluded he is a position to strike out on his own and establish his own motivations.  It is time to give the audience a reason to invest in Christian the man, not Christian – Edge’s running buddy.

 

I’ve seen the brief title reign described as an “insult”.  Does anyone really believe that Christian considers it an insult?  He looked to be an incredibly happy man on Sunday night; try telling him that the moment which was probably the pinnacle of his career was insulting.  When you think of the list of greats who never held a World Title it may help to put the idea in perspective.  The likes of Owen Hart, Curt Hennig, Davey Boy Smith and Ted Dibiase all missed out on that honor and would have been extremely grateful for the opportunity to  call themselves a World Champion, for however brief a spell it may have been.  It is also worth noting that Christian may have been given the title just to gauge how fan’s reacted to him as a Champion and how he carried himself in the role.  Similar dry runs have been performed with the likes of Edge and Jeff Hardy (albeit not as brief as Christian’s) and when they proved themselves to have the aura of a Champion as well as the necessary talent they soon found themselves with the championship again.  Yes, Hardy let his personal demons curtail his rise, but Edge built one hell of a main event career off the back of a 2 week January 2006 reign.   A spell during which he was essentially portrayed as having stolen the belt using the first-ever Money In The Bank cash in.  In contrast to this, Christian didn’t pick up the belt on a fluke, he was portrayed as the worthy winner of a superb status-enhancing match.  He carried the belt like a Champion on Smackdown, cut a fine emotional promo and then subsequently lost an excellent hard fought contest with a top superstar.  He wasn’t jobbed out, squashed or made to look weak.  Whether or not he holds the belt, he has still established himself as a strong top level talent who does not look out of place in the main event and this leaves him in a healthy position on a relatively weak Smackdown roster.

Christian is a professional and in all likelihood he had been marked to drop the belt before he had even won it. A co-operative attitude backstage in all of this will have won him plenty of friends and done him a lot of favors; the value of professional conduct should never be underestimated.  This shouldn’t detract from what he has achieved and equally shouldn’t distract attention from the fact that he has made great strides in the past month.  While he may have always been viewed as a contender by the Internet Community, he will now be viewed as a legitimate title threat by the WWE fan base at large.  His defeat by Orton need not be the end of the line; it could be the beginning of something far bigger.  There’s the inevitable rematch to come, which I would expect to see at “Over The Limit”, and if he acquits himself well there then the potential opportunities are huge.  Perhaps a turn may be in the offing, I’ve certainly always found that while he plays a face role effectively he is a more natural heel (much like his former tag partner).  The pool of heel talent on Smackdown is currently very shallow indeed, it is not quite Cody Rhodes’ time yet, Orton has already crossed swords with Sheamus multiple times and it would be too much to ask for him to pull a decent match out of the barely mobile form of Mark Henry.  A sarcastic, aggressive Christian could be the perfect antagonist for the Viper, leading to a potentially excellent program over the summer.

So, yes, they may be able to take the belt from Captain Charisma, but I doubt it has come at any great personal or professional cost to him.  He has taken his chance and propelled himself towards the main event and I believe he will remain there for some time to come.  In fact I will hazard the guess that the next time Christian wins a World Title (and it will surely come) it will be all the sweeter for him because he will have done it entirely on his own, rather than being carried to it in the wake of his closest friend’s emotional retirement.

  1. May 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    You make a lot of good points, Kieran. Especially when you said that this way people don’t remeber Christian’s title run as only a lucky break becuase Edge had to retire. So next time he wins the title it’s more legit. I’m not totally sure how I feel about that. In some ways I agree and in other ways I haven’t been so invested in a title reign, especially such a short one, for a long time and I think maybe thay could have overshadowed Edge.

    I’m not sure what’s going to happen to Christian. A lot of people forget he was overshadowing John Cena and Chris Jericho before he left the WWE. So maybe a heel turn will make him a more legit main eventer.

    And great work Kieran, you certainly know what you’re talking about.

    • May 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      While I always believed Christian more than deserving of a World Heavyweight Championship run, the stigma of him only being a champion because of Edge’s retirement would have always followed him. Now that he has finally lost the championship I’m sure that his taste of the gold is going to make him go even harder just so he can get that adrediline rush of being the champion again. Like Kurt Angle or Triple H, all they wanted was World Championships, nothing else mattered to them and when a hot up and comer beats someone like that it puts them over immediately. Opportunity indeed.

    • May 8, 2011 at 3:38 am

      Thanks man, glad you enjoyed it.

  2. The Modern Native
    May 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I’m not a huge Christian fan. Never have been, but he deserves a run as champ. Before I complain though, if we see something good come from this, then it was worth it. Sometimes more can come from a loss than a win.

    J, if you read this before posting my article, hold off for a bit. I think I’m gonna teak it a bit and add to it. I re-read it, and it really looked rushed. I’m not happy with it in its current state. Thanks man.

    • May 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Your post was in the process of being the next one up. I was gonna give it a few hours before I put it up so the most recent stuff could marinate and do its thing right quick.

      I will hold on to it, just let me know when you feel it is ready. I like the idea you had presented in your column. 🙂

  3. May 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    On another note. I’m fine with both Orton and Cena being Champions. If not Christain, Orton should have the title. And as long as the Miz isn’t WWE Champ I’m fine with Cena.

  4. Ace O. Hart
    May 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Kieran, I must say that as much as I have enjoyed your previous articles, I’ve got to say this has been my favorite so far. I don’t think I could give a higher compliment than to say I really enjoyed reading it, and was disappointed when it was over. Thanks for the great read.

    • May 8, 2011 at 3:39 am

      You’re welcome buddy, I’m just happy people are reading my work. Hopefully there’s plenty more where that came from. I have a few ideas up my sleeve.

  5. May 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    great column this week. i agree with what you wrote……people really need to let the storyline play out before they criticize the title change. it is not like christian is going to end up in midcard hell now….he is going to play a big role on sd for the rest of the month.

    • May 8, 2011 at 1:21 am

      Unless Vince really does hate him….

    • May 8, 2011 at 3:40 am

      Yeah you’re right, it’s way too early for people to start over-reacting the way they have been. I think there’s a long game being played here.

  6. TKO
    May 8, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Well put Kieran, well put. Christian got it, when many others didnt, thats all that matters. Scripted sport, he cant be all that mad. He had a big night, he’s and a great career. Orton is the future and I aint mad about it no more

    • May 8, 2011 at 1:22 am

      Fuck that Christian should fuck him up and get his shit back, lol.

    • May 8, 2011 at 3:42 am

      I’m hoping very much to be pleasantly surprised by how this saga continues – I strongly believethere’s a lot of wrestling to be done before we’ve had the final word on Christian and Orton.

  7. May 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Wow, good job on making Christian’s title lost actually look like a good thing. You showed us some very good thoughts.

  8. Stephen
    May 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Christian deserves nothing but the midcard. He sucks.

    • May 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      He doesn’t suck though. With the last generation of main eventers slowly disappearing its time for Christian to be elevated up the card.

  9. Max
    May 9, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Good read Kieran. I like JCITY’s stuff but you might be my favorite writer in here after him. And Stephen, must you be such an ass in every post? Seriously, J, ban that guy already.

    • May 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      When you open a restaurant its good to have different things on the menu because tastes vary from person to person. If it was just me this would resemble a fast food place. Burgers everyday with the occasional fries. As a team we are looking to be more of a 5 stars restaurant with stuff so good you would want to take home a doggybag.

    • May 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      And I’m not banning anyone as long as they don’t get too overbearing and start to personally attack other people. They can diss me I don’t care I’m used to it, free country and all that 1st amendments rights and shit so fuck it. To be honest I’m surprised only one hater made it over to this site.

  10. Capt. Smooth
    May 9, 2011 at 6:02 am

    If Christian does turn heel and wins the title, I doubt it will be clean, so that may not make it “legit” in the eyes of most fans. Just a waste.

    • May 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      I just hope he brings back Tomko and actually gets him to kick a beat this time.

      • Capt. Smooth
        May 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm

        No.

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