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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Time For A New Religion: Christian
October 5, 2005 by Euan Williamson


The first time I saw him was probably pretty much the same time that most of you would've seen him. A young man called Edge had had his debut in the WWF months earlier, initially being a figure in the crowd that the cameras caught every week, he was wrapped in a veil of mystery and eventually exploded on to the scene to save the highly popular Sable at the time. I had already begun to develop a fascination with the character of Edge as well as the even more blatantly vampiric character of Gangrel when the subject of this column slid his way into the WWF as the silent subservient pupil, and veritable doppelganger of his master, the aforementioned Gangrel. That man was of course Christian.

I have long believed that Christian is one of the most overlooked wrestlers in the WWE, firstly by the WWE themselves, and up until recently, the fans of the WWE. Therefore, the aim of this column is to present a brief history of Jason Reso's career in the WWE and at the same time share my opinions with you as to why he has the talent to go a lot further within the company. Back to the past...

Quickly after winning the Light-heavyweight belt in his first official match at Judgement Day '98 against Taka Michinoku, Christian(with the overseeing eye of Gangrel) convinced Edge to join himself and Gangrel to create a small faction known as 'The Brood'. It was at this point that the three of them firmly became the most interesting thing in the WWF to me. The whole gothic imagery such as coming up through the ground in a ring of fire, to the silent nature of the trio, to their dress was instantly appealing to myself and I presume was so because of my growing interest in the myth of the vampire and the roots of it traced back to Transylvania and my interest in forms of music such as Black Metal that had close ties with this theme aswell.In the end of the day, 'The Brood' was more popular than it was successful and after feuds with 'The Job Squad', The Hardy Boyz and Tiger Ali Singh to name a few, and the impressive visual idea of the 'bloodbaths', Christian and Edge ditched Gangrel and formed the revered tag-team that would go on to win seven titles.

In the early days of Edge & Christian, in my mind, it was always Edge that stood out more than Christian. This was for a few reasons, namely, Edge is a couple of inches taller than Christian (which is one of the advantages he has over Christian as a singles wrestler) and is perhaps more striking to the eye and flashy in the way he goes about the ring during matches. During this period, E & C were also given very little time on the microphone, partly because of their image, and well, partly because they were not very good at it. No Way Out 2000 is a good example as, after defeating The Hardy's for number one contendership, they cut a poor promo backstage with Edge being the better one of the two. At this stage it certainly looked like Edge was the future and that Christian was maybe just there for the ride until they split up.

After capturing the titles for the first time at WrestleMania 16, E & C began to turn heel over the coming months and it was then that they started to come out of their shells on the mike with such signatures as their 'five second pose for flash photography' and 'reeking of awesomeness' It was at this point that Christians' mike skills really came to the fore. I found him to be consistently funnier than Edge and far less forced and natural than his counterpart when doing backstage skits Furthermore, the way he walked to the ring and those glasses that he wore just had me in stitches every time. It was about this time that I started to notice how hard Christian actually works in the ring. Sure, he has his comical heel spots that are still present to this day but all of his moves are executed in a crisp, efficient and professional manner that, if you strip away the comedy, shows a serious and more than competent in-ring worker who could be painted as a very serious wrestler if he was given more of a chance in the booking of his matches Look at how he executes his punches and kicks. They are thrown in a ruthless and overtly aggressive manner intent on doing serious damage to an opponent however, are belied by the character spots in his matches, that with some fine tuning, could turn him into a nastier more business like wrestler.

Furthermore, Christian can bump like crazy when required. A fine example of this is the second TLC match at WrestleMania X7 which was a match crammed with high spots such as Edge's spear or Hardy's and Dudley's flying through tables One such impressive spot is Spike Dudley doing his 'DudleyDog' to Christian into two tables with Rhyno lying on top of them, however, the most impressive in the match, in my opinion, is Christian falling from one of the big ladders in the middle of the ring all the way to the floor with no tables or wrestlers to break his fall. It is this kind of bump that can go unnoticed but if you were to watch a collection of Christian matches then you would see that he consistently takes bumps and makes his fellow wrestlers look good. In addition to this, Christian has remained very healthy indeed. To my knowledge he has only been out injured properly once since he has been with the WWE and that was only for two to three months. Not bad, considering he has been with them since 1998 and has been involved in a collection of the highest risk matches seen in the WWE. To summarise Christians' work in the ring, how often have you seen him have a poor match" Sometimes the matches are not booked in his favour, however, give him fifteen to twenty minutes and a reasonably decent opponent and, without fail, he will deliver a very good and entertaining match.

To return to the timeline and further emphasize one of Christians' strengths we must look to when E & C split up. It was at this point, when Edge went face and Christian went heel, that he was truly allowed to express himself. That feud over the IC title with Edge was too short and horribly gave the rub to Edge and left Christian high and dry but since then Christians' charisma has shone through. How many other wrestlers recently have been able to remain heel for over four years and consistently draw heat"A handful at best.

In the way that I loved Rock's character of 2003, I love Christians' character. Always entertaining on the mike, he's witty and razor sharp and always knows the best buttons to press to draw heat from the crowd. He's the kind of guy whose morals are non existent and is always on the side of wrong yet he's a rogue who you can't help but want to win. WrestleMania XX is a prime example of Christian being used correctly as he went over Jericho and took the love of Trish with him. The kiss at the top of the ramp was priceless purely for his facial expression as was the execution of his 'Unprettier' moments earlier for exactly the same reason. Indeed, it was a masterstroke to cut this guys hair short and reveal the comical faces that he can pull to the world .Another good example of the entertainment side was his vignette with Cena at the Royal Rumble this year as the rap that he produced was brilliant in its mediocrity that was backed up by his overt smugness and confidence. In my opinion, there has been no one better on the mike for comic timing and crapping on the fans since The Rock and for a while this year there was a glimmer of hope that Christian would be moved up to the next level. Suddenly, the crowds seemed to appreciate the work that Christian puts in, they began to understand his humour on the microphone and dig it and so they began to cheer for him. Not too long ago he came out to the ramp for a heel promo during the RAW in Britain and received a standing ovation that visibly left him and Tomko completely taken aback and almost emotional. Without going into too much more detail, since then, he had his title shot at Vengeance, got farmed out to Smackdown and has since received one of the biggest reverse pushes I have ever seen. One can only guess as to why this is.

In summary, I believe that Christian is a very good worker in the ring has a good moveset when allowed to use it and has a very good looking compact finisher that has superb impact behind it .In addition, he can bump really well and has stayed healthy over the years and is still relatively young. Combine this with his boundless charisma and wit and you have a wrestler that deserves to be pushed far higher. The only weakness I can see is his size but this shouldn't be much of a factor, although Vince would probably argue otherwise. In closing, I'd like to add that the way the fans started to back Christians' heel character this year reminded me of a certain Stone Cold Steve Austin's slow face turn of '96 into '97.Combine that thought with someone whose the best entertainer since The Rock.

Thanks for reading and please reply with your thoughts.

by Euan Williamson ..


Michael Stanton wrote:
To be honest with you, I have always felt that Christian was a great in-ring wrestler and could always handle the wrestling better than 85% of the guys in the ring including the current World Heavyweight Champion of Smackdown. Christian deserves a good run as US champion on Smackdown and it should be a clean victory over Chris Benoit. He is a former Heavyweight champion and this would give Christian a huge boost over a proven man. Christian's promos are fun to watch and can make you just laugh out loud. The Peep Show was great and he does have that humor that few wrestlers have on there own. He is an under-used and under-loved talent who all fans should respect.
Randall Flagg wrote:
Christian is hands-down one of the best overall performers in wrestling today, and one of the WWE's biggest failures. Not a failure on his part, rather a failure of Vince/his writers to see what he has to offer and capitalize on it. They could have a PPV involving nothing but Christian being Captain Charisma, just running his mouth, and it would get better reviews than 90% of this year's offerings. Unfortunately, Christian isn't 6'10", 320 lbs. of chemically-enhanced bulk, so he'll never get the treatment he deserves in WWE. As fans, our only hope is that one day Christian decides he wants to be the star he obviously can be, and signs with TNA once his current contract expires (a decision I hope many in the WWE make). Vince has shown he can take a turd and make it a "star" (meaning give it far more air-time and pushes than it deserves). He's also shown he can take pure sports-entertainment gold and misuse/ignore it completely (see Tag-team wrestling and Cruiserweights).
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