The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Christian
June 1, 2005 by Dave Hanson
It is rare that the cultural landscape of our modern society is ever touched by a person of such extraordinary brilliance, that all must stop in awe of their majesty. So few of us, during the course of our lives, can look back and say that we were there to witness such a glorious display of the fantastic at its very peak; its apex, if you will. Such a time has finally come. All the world now has the chance to stop and witness the genius, and the spectacle that is... Christian.
Christian is a man who has been around the wrestling world for a decent length of time now. He had always shown talent, he had always shown promise... even as he and his tag team partner Edge gave us some of the most memorable tag team matches of the modern era, there was still a sense that Christian was a man who had, as Shawn Michaels says about himself, "talent on loan from God." And now, in the year 2005, with John Cena and Batista holding the top belts on their respective shows, there is another superstar who is just starting to hit his stride, to come into his own. That man is Christian. But enough of this mere praise. Where did this marvellous entertainer, this self-styled "Captain Charisma," come from after all" It is time we delved into the history of a man who is sure to be remembered for years beyond his time.
Christian was born William Jason Reso in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1973. After being trained by the likes of Ron Hutchison, Tom Prichard, and Dory Funk Jr., his first exposure to professional wrestling was on the Canadian Indy circuit in 1995. He wrestled under the name "Christian Cage," and was a member of a stable called "THUG Life," which also included future stars such as Edge and Rhyno. He made his WWF debut a few years later, being brought into the story as Edge's "brother," in the first of what would be many appearances together on WWF/E TV. Christian won the Light Heavyweight Title from Japanese wrestler Taka Michinoku in his very first WWF match, showing huge promise right from the start.
Eventually, Edge and Christian ended up being put together as a tag team, and a legacy was born. Their initial storyline as a tag team was with the Hardy Boyz - Jeff and Matt Hardy - and it was the start of a feud between the teams that would not only continue on-and-off for years and give the WWF some of its all-time best tag team matches, but later on would spill into real life. The first inklings of super-stardom for the two tag teams came at the WWF pay-per-view event "No Mercy," in 1999, when the teams faced each other in a ladder match. The ladder match was already one of the more popular "gimmick matches" in the WWF, ever since the legendary Intercontinental Title ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon (aka Scott Hall) at WrestleMania X. However, this tag team ladder match brought the concept to a new level, with the high-flying, risk-taking, daredevil wrestling styles of Edge, Christian, and the Hardyz. With that one match, the two teams had officially put themselves on the map.
From then on, Christian and his partner Edge would find themselves in a number of similar matches, popularizing the now-legendary "TLC" matches-Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. Going up against teams such as the Hardyz, the Dudley Boys, and even the combination of Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, Edge and Christian left their stamp on tag team wrestling by winning more of these matches than any other team, and also by cutting some of the most entertaining promos and interviews of the time; they gave us such memorable segments as "The 5-Minute Photo Opportunity", not to mention the legendary Con-Chair-To. Eventually, the team of Edge and Christian, sometimes called "E & C," reached the almost-inevitable fate of any talented tag team; the split followed by feuding with one another. This angle coincided with the much-talked-about "Invasion" angle in the WWE, involving WCW and ECW superstars attempting to "take over" the WWE, in a storyline that was actually more about Vince McMahon feuding with his own family members than it was about the WCW/ECW performers. However, in the midst of this larger angle, Edge and Christian put on some very memorable matches against one another, such as the highly entertaining Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title at No Mercy 2001, which ironically was the two-year anniversary of their tag team ladder match from No Mercy 1999 which made them famous as a team.
It was now clear that Edge and Christian were two men who were both talented enough as individuals to both succeed as singles wrestlers, something which doesn't often happen with tag teams; more often it is the case that one partner will flourish as a singles wrestler while the other fails-sometimes even both wrestlers will fail. Bret Hart reached phenomenal singles success while his former Hart Foundation partner Jim Neidhart went nowhere; the break-up of the Rockers led to Shawn Michaels' long and storied career while Marty Jannetty stagnated, and the attempted split-ups of the Hardyz and the Dudleys were both failures, prompting the WWE to later re-unite both teams.
However, singles success was to come sooner to Edge than it was to Christian, who floundered somewhat on TV, being portrayed as a "whiny loser" who needed to constantly be given pep talks by Diamond Dallas Page. Following that, he was put back into the tag team ranks, this time being paired with Lance Storm in one of WWE's many "Anti-American" angles. Following that, Christian was paired with Chris Jericho for another run with the tag titles, and beyond that, was made early fodder for the return of Goldberg to professional wrestling.
It seemed that the proven talent of Christian was doomed to wither away on the mid-card, with no rhyme or reason to his character, being stuck in many of the "we don't know what to do with this singles wrestler, so we'll pair him up with another singles wrestler we also don't know what to do with, and form a tag team" angles that WWE has done over the years. All this changed, however, when WWE made a move to correct a massive error that it hade made months before; WWE had retired the Intercontinental Title, and now they were bringing it back to life. In a 9-Man Battle Royal with the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, Pat Patterson at ringside, Christian beat out the likes of Rob Van Dam, Booker T, and Chris Jericho to be the first-man to hold the newly re-introduced IC Title.
From there, Christian debuted his new look, which is closer to the Christian we all know and love today-his trademark long hair was cut, and the last vestiges of his "whiny loser" character was abandoned as Christian was now portrayed as the supremely confident, brash, arrogant, and obnoxiously humorous heel that he is today.
From then on, the rest is history; he debuted his sidekick, Tyson Tomko, basically the white version of Ted Dibiase's Virgil; he worked more storylines with Chris Jericho, and debuted countless hilarious gimmicks and catch-phrases, becoming known as "CLB - The Creepy Little Bastard," and later, "Captain Charisma," referring to his fans as "His Peeps," or "The Christian Coalition." And, just recently, the WWE has finally released the first-ever Christian t-shirt, sporting the ever-so-cool "Captain Charisma" logo.
Today, we stand here on the verge of Christian's breakthrough into main-event status; recently he has wrestled current as-of-this-writing World Heavyweight Champion Batista in the main event of Raw, had a rap-contest with red-hot John Cena at the Royal Rumble, shared the ring with Vince McMahon at the announcement of the 2005 draft lottery, and worked a short program with the legendary Ric Flair. The wave of Christian's momentum appears to be reaching its crescendo, and any day now it is sure to break, and flood the shores with its unstoppable magnificence. We thank you, Christian, for the years of entertainment you have already given us, and we eagerly wait the years of entertainment that surely lie in your future, because THAT'S....HOW....YOU.... ROLLL!!!!!!!!!
by Dave Hanson ..
Here, even the author of this column, who is wearing a t-shirt supporting Christian's bitter rival, Chris Jericho, must stop and acknowledge the amazing fantastic awesomeness that is Christian.
Phil T wrote:
Dave YOU SUCK!!!! You beat me to it!! I was going to do a piece on Christian in July and now there is no point because you said it very well. I've read the last few pieces from you and I have enjoyed them immensely. This one on Christian is by far the best yet. My name is Phil T and yes I am a PEEP. I think it's obvious within the next month Captain Charisma will be over on SmackDown. I know WWE will push him right from the start; I just pray that it lasts and Christian just simply doesn't get lost in the shuffle like he currently is on RAW. My all time wish would be to see Christian take the title from Cena at SummerSlam and finally grab that brass ring that he is long over due. WWE is slowly recognizing those that deserve to be were they are and I hope they continue to do so and bounce back from two years of producing a gigantic pile of crap. Dave great job brother and on a side note you may want to lay off the roids, you are a monster. LOL
Jake Raynor wrote:
I am a peep and although I like Cena I would love to see Christian beat Cena at Summerslam for the TRADITIONAL WWE title and well done you've Christian's fairly short career and made a good article about him
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
I don't have a whole lot to say. Thanks for writing an article on Christian. As a long time Ric Flair fan, it has always been hard for me to allow another wrestler to step in that 'favorite' role that Flair has always occupied. Steve Austin was on his way towards that, but unfortunately had to change from a technical wrestler to a brawler due to his neck injury. Not that it was his fault, mind you, but even though Austin was always enjoyable, he wasn't quite enough to replace Ric in my mind.
Christian is really the only person in WWE who I think I can fully get behind. He is a classic heel wrestler, the likes of which we don't see enough of. Captain Charisma is a culmination of all the little things that make a great wrestler. Hopefully he will get the push he deserves and move on to be one of the greatest ever. It's a role he deserves.
michael nader wrote:
A couple of years ago Jericho was the heroic canadian that called other heels out on their flaws and edge and christian were the team of whiney canadians. Then Jericho turned bad and christian turned on Edge. Eventually y2j teamed up with christian and became the new team of whiney canadians while edge was the current canadian hero calling heels out on there flaws. Then Christian once again turned on his partner, and Edge turned bad. With Jericho's heel turn coming up, i think the writers should do the right thing and make edge and y2j team up to be the team of whiney canadians, and let christian be recieved by the people as the hero he is in real life. It's the wrestlers that are heels and lose most of the time to make the faces look good who are the real heroes in there. (raises beer) to captain charisma, and his long awaited turn for success. Good call Dave.
yes! christian is a great wrestler, now that he's on sd! he should be pushed fo the title run (oh before i forget let me continue the tradition of saying i am a peep)
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