Christian has been a part of more classic ladder matches than anyone on the current WWE roster.
Had Edge not suffered cervical spinal stenosis, there would be a more heated debate about who is WWE's king of the ladder match. As it stands, Christian claims that position.
He has contributed to a long list of ladder-centered masterpieces as both part of a tag team, surrounded by multiple challengers, and in one-on-one clashes.
WWE would be wise to get him back in time to start a feud and book him in a ladder match at Extreme Rules 2013. Wade Barrett and the WWE would both benefit from having Captain Charisma climb toward a swinging Intercontinental title.
Christian's quickness, his fearless daredevil approach and his craftiness have made him a valuable component in great ladder match after great ladder match. Whether diving from impressive heights or taking major punishment, he has helped compose some of the company's most thrilling and most dramatic versions of the match.
There have been more spectacular athletes involved with ladder matches like Shelton Benjamin and there have been men like Shawn Michaels who can be considered godfathers of the WWE ladder match, but no one's ladder resume is as extensive as Christian's.
It is a resume that began as one-half of one of WWE's most entertaining teams.
At No Mercy 1999, two teams grabbed fans' attention in a chokehold by delivering a stunning tag team ladder match.
The Hardy Boyz defeated Edge and Christian in the first of their many famous ladder matches. Christian was a leaping, smashing cog in that thrill ride. He took a big chunk of the punishment handed out by Jeff and Matt Hardy and flung his body around the ring like he was only renting it.
The following year, he and Edge upped the danger level in two classic ladder matches against the Dudleys and The Hardy Boyz. WrestleMania 2000 and SummerSlam 2000 gave fans two unforgettable matches filled with high risks and innovation in excess.
All six men outdid themselves at WrestleMania X-Seven in a TLC match for the tag titles.
Edge, Christian and their foes each established their star status in those battles. You don't accelerate fans' heart rates as much as they did without garnering a glut of respect.
Christian nor his partner necessarily stood out from the six-man assemblage responsible for those jaw-dropping matches. It was a collective ascension, the fame and adoration being equally distributed.
Money in the Bank
For Christian and Edge to become more than princes of the ladder match, more than components of a tag team circus, they needed to have success on their own.
Edge went on to win a Money in the Bank ladder match as well as rob Mr. Kennedy of his briefcase en route to two World Championships, but WWE success isn't always measured in victories. The showmanship along the way is just as important.
Though Christian never won a Money in the Bank ladder match, he seemed to be present and vital to many of the best versions of the match.
Captain Charisma has battled in five of the 12 Money in the Bank matches, beginning with the very first one. WrestleMania 21 saw Edge become WWE's first Mr. Money in the Bank, but Christian was right there launching himself over the ropes and swinging the ladder like a baseball bat.
Christian went on to entertain in his attempts to secure the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 25 and 26 as well as Money in the Bank 2010 and 2012. It seems that every time there is a fantastic, moving Money in the Bank battle, Christian is right in the middle of it.
He has yet to be the last man standing in one, but he has been a breathtaking showman each time out. When the field has been whittled down, when it's just one-on-one, Christian has been even better.
The dissolving of Christian and Edge's partnership led to one of the more intense and emotional ladder matches in WWE history at No Mercy 2001.
It was about more than the Intercontinental title; it was about pride, bragging rights and personal animosity. It was yet another great match to add to each man's resume.
Christian would later go on to showcase what he could do without Edge by his side or at his throat.
He had one of the best Intercontinental matches in company history against Rob Van Dam on an episode of WWE Raw in 2003. He stole the show at the first-ever TLC event in a ladder match against Shelton Benjamin.
His resume also boasts an excellent ladder match against Chris Jericho at Unforgiven 2004 and a tour de force against Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules 2011.
In each of these, Christian has been a master storyteller.
He has gone beyond the thrill of big spots, using the ladder to help elevate the cathartic nature of a win or loss. Few moments involving a ladder have been as satisfying as seeing Christian climb toward the World title with his longtime friend Edge right behind him.
With Edge now retired, Christian remains as the most prolific and proficient WWE star of the ladder match. The king has been away for some time, recovering from injury, but he shall soon take back his rightful place, on a throne sitting at the top of a ladder.