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At Last - Christian Deserves a Third World Title Reign!
His name is synonymous with ladder matches and tag team championships, yet he is one of the most underrated wrestlers in WWE history. He is the third man, behind Buddy Rogers and Ric Flair, to hold both the NWA and WWE championships, yet this is a fact that is rarely acknowledged. He is the eleventh man to boast the prestigious title of Grand Slam champion, yet both of his World title reigns combined barely totaled 30 days. He has held championships in both televised promotions he has wrestled in, yet his name is eclipsed by his Hall of Fame former tag team partner. He can command a microphone, he can wrestle a five-star match, he is both venerable as a face and despicable as a heel. Yet, throughout his career, despite captivating fans with aerial moves and entertaining them with comic segments, Christian's name is not mentioned in the same breath as Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, or Edge. After nearly two decades of destroying his body for the business, and then watching his best friend enjoy a star-studded, decorated career, Christian finally won the World Heavyweight championship in 2011, only to have it ripped out of his grasp a mere five days later. The Great Khali's first and only period as champion lasted longer. Naked Mideon's tenure as European Champion outlasted both of Christian's title reigns.
For a life-long wrestling fan and a highly talented individual like Christian, this type of treatment is nothing short of a shame and a travesty. During his lengthy feud in 2011 with Randy Orton for the World title, Christian not only came out on the losing end of most of their matches, but when he finally did best Orton for the championship, it was on a bizarre stipulation that belied Christian's skill and desire. While their battles were certainly hard-fought and entertaining, Orton constantly taunted Christian about his emergence into the main event picture, telling him that he was only receiving title opportunities due to Edge's sudden retirement. Certainly Edge's retirement may have played a role by creating the proper storyline to give Christian an opportunity, but it is no less than the title shots earned by Rey Mysterio, which were likely generated by the death of Eddie Guerrero. It was rather rich of Orton to paint Christian in that light, since one would have to believe that as the son of Cowboy Bob, Randy's wrestling career was on cruise control from the moment he stepped into a WWE ring in his neon blue trunks. At 24 years old, Orton was already a world champion and on top of the game; at that age, Christian was still paying his dues in independent promotions, his dream of wrestling in the WWE drawing ever closer. Christian worked himself to his physical limits for sixteen years before he stood on that ladder and grabbed the World title, forever inscribing his name in the WWE's history books as a heavyweight champion. However, both of his title reigns were over before his fans - and probably Christian himself - had sated their thirst for gold.
After inducting his real-life best friend Edge into the Hall of Fame in 2012, Christian stated that he wanted to continue to win championships, retire as a babyface, and become a Hall of Fame inductee in his own right upon his retirement. Although 2012 saw Christian enter the Smackdown Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania and become an Intercontinental champion for the fourth time, a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery caused him to silently withdraw from television. Conspicuous only by his absence, Christian made an appearance via satellite in September, apparently still healing from his surgery. Since then, he has remained mum on Twitter, and his name has not been spoken on commentary. No announcement was made about his injury, no timetable was given for his return. The World title picture became stale and predictable, with Big Show and Sheamus facing each other multiple times, and Dolph Ziggler lurking in the shadows with his briefcase and contract, but never successfully cashing in. The fact that Christian's injury and surgery were not mentioned in detail on television is interesting due to the size of his fanbase, but this could work in his favor upon his return, since he could be thrust into virtually any storyline. Though the members of The Shield don't claim a leader and state that they work "for each other," maybe the one pulling the strings behind the scenes is Christian. This notion, however unlikely, would be an unpredictable way to get Christian back on television in a compelling storyline, though it would require him to work as a heel.
The ideal, and far more likely next appearance for Christian, would be at the upcoming Royal Rumble in January. Since little information exists on Christian's injury, the assumption that he will even be ready to compete at the Rumble is mere speculation. Perhaps he has been medically cleared for weeks, and has been waiting for the Rumble to make his return to ensure the biggest impact. Assuming that Ziggler finally cashes in his contract on January 27th, it wouldn't even be necessary for Christian to win the Rumble to get a shot at Ziggler. With either CM Punk or The Rock walking out of the arena that night as the WWE champion, it's likely that the winner of the Rumble will choose to face one of them at WrestleMania. If Christian enters into a program with Ziggler for the World championship, leading all the way up to WrestleMania, this is not only a fantastic rivalry for the fans, but it also presents Ziggler with the opportunity to learn from one of the best veterans in the WWE today. Even if Christian walks into 'Mania as the World champion and loses, he will have headlined the Show of Shows, further padding his resume and silencing his naysayers. It will also bring him one step closer to his coveted - and well deserved - Hall of Fame induction. To allow Christian to go into retirement with only two very short World title reigns would be a disgrace not only to Christian and all of his achievements, but also to his longtime fans who want to see him succeed.
One very valid concern that could throw a wrench into Christian's future career plans is if he is never medically cleared to compete again. As was proven with Edge, nagging injuries can sometimes throw even the best laid plans into disarray. The fact that the WWE has remained silent regarding the injury, and Christian has kept himself out of the public eye, sheds some uncertainty onto this situation. Of course, if Christian is not medically cleared, it will eventually be brought to light. However, in situations where someone has suffered an injury, it is usually mentioned on television and an estimate is usually given as to how many weeks or months the wrestler is expected to miss. The fact that this was not done for Christian is what makes this hiatus particularly worrisome. If Christian does not reappear at the Royal Rumble as a surprise entrant, the WWE needs to address his injury, and if or when he is expected to return.
While Christian's resume in both the WWE and TNA speaks for itself, the way that he has been booked and promoted causes the average fan to believe that Christian as a performer is nothing special. He may not do Swantons off of ladders like Jeff Hardy, engage in torrid trysts like Edge, or boast a third-generation pedigree like Orton, but he is no less a star than any of these men. Although the "Peeps" will always support Captain Charisma, after what he has given to wrestling, it is the correct course of action to give Christian at least one more run with a world championship, a run lasting longer than five days or a month. After all, this is the first and only man to ever hold the NWA, ECW and World championships. It's time that this was remembered and celebrated accordingly.
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