Christian has seemingly been on the shelf more than he has been in the ring over the past few years, but the popular veteran will finally make his return to WWE programming Friday night on SmackDown after missing several months due to a concussion.
WWE announced the news during the Jan. 27 edition of Monday Night Raw:
Christian spoke to his fans via Twitter:
Fans are likely cautiously optimistic when it comes to Christian, due to the fact that he can't seem to stay healthy. However, there is no question that he adds a great deal of depth and the legitimacy to the roster since he can do whatever is asked of him.
In fact, it can be argued that Christian is one of the most versatile performers in WWE history. He is essentially the personification of a Swiss army knife in that he is capable of filling a number of different roles. In addition to being one of the greatest tag-team wrestlers of all time alongside Edge, Christian is a former Intercontinental, European, Hardcore, Light Heavyweight, ECW and World Heavyweight Champion.
Christian has been one of WWE's best mid-card wrestlers since parting ways with Edge in 2001, but he has also shined when placed in higher-profile positions. Christian was the face of TNA during his run with the company from 2005 through 2008, and he eventually ascended to a main-event level in WWE when he captured the world title.
Although Christian's two world title reigns were brief, he was very good as the top heel on SmackDown when given the chance. It remains to be seen how the creative team will choose to utilize him this time around, but there is no doubt that Christian's return gives the writers a multitude of options.
At 40 years of age, it's unlikely that Christian will be put in position to secure a major title, but that can't be said with certainty based on how prominent Big Show has been as of late. Christian's age clearly works against him to a certain extent, but the fact that he has become injury prone is what will limit him more than anything.
How should Christian be utilized now that he's back?
Most fans agree that Christian is the total package in terms of in-ring work and promo work, but he simply can't be trusted to take care of his body in the ring. WWE would have a lot of egg on its face if it injected Christian into the World Heavyweight Championship or WWE Championship scene and he got injured again, so don't expect it to happen.
With that said, there is a great deal of rising talent within the mid-card right now, and Christian could be used to elevate some of those guys. Christian doesn't possess the same level of star power as someone like Chris Jericho, but there is no reason why he can't fill a similar role in terms of putting on great matches and giving up-and-coming Superstars wins over a legitimate opponent.
Aside from capturing the WWE Championship, Christian has pretty much done it all in professional wrestling. He has to feel pretty secure when it comes to his place in WWE history, so it's easy to envision Christian accepting the role of elder statesman in order to groom the next generation of stars.
No matter how you slice it, having a true pro like Christian back in the fold can't be considered anything other than a great thing for the company.
Christian is part of a dying breed in WWE, as most of the major players from the Attitude Era are long gone, but he reminds fans of that time in wrestling, and he still brings plenty to the table in the present day as well.
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