Monday night on Raw, Christian defeated Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio in a Fatal 4-Way match to win a shot at WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E the next night on Main Event on WWE Network. It never happened though, as, according to Dave Meltzer at F4WOnline.com among other sources, Christian suffered a concussion on Monday and couldn't be cleared to wrestle.
This is Christian's second documented concussion in about seven months. He's been back for just under two months since returning from the last one, though he was cleared for at least a few weeks before he came back. At 40 years old, what's his breaking point? When does he call it quits? Or will someone else have to make that decision for him?
As we've become acutely aware in the last several years, concussions are nothing to mess around with. While the notion of taking a brain injury lightly has always been kind of absurd, they were considered "invisible" injuries by athletes and coaches.
As I noted a few weeks ago, WWE has made incredible strides as far as concussion awareness goes. Christian isn't going to be cleared until he passes neurological tests like the ImPACT protocol, balance tests, in-ring exertion tests and so on.
How soon that is coming less than six months after his last concussion, I don't know. WWE.com classified the injury as a "slight concussion," but there's no real indication as to what that means. Even if he's symptom-free pretty quickly, I'd expect WWE to be extra-cautious since he's not far removed from his last concussion at all.
While his neurological health is the biggest priority, it's not the only sign that Christian might need to call it quits. In general, he's been incredibly injury-prone in the last few years:
|Christian's Injuries Since 2010|
|Sep '10||Torn pectoral muscle||4 mos.|
|Nov '11||Severe high ankle sprain, lingering neck/shoulder issues||6.5 mos.|
|Jul '12||Lingering shoulder issues||10 mos.|
|Sep '13||Concussion||5 mos.|
The impact of the injuries is most visible in his records for 2012 and 2013, where he wrestled 57 and 31 matches, respectively, but he's missed a significant amount of time in the last four calendar years.
Whenever he comes back, he looks like he hasn't missed a beat and always puts on great matches, but inevitably, he gets hurt and disappears again.
If he's financially secure, he needs to take this latest setback as a sign. His best friend, Edge, was forced into retirement when WWE doctors told him they wouldn't let him back in the ring due to the state of his spinal injuries.
Christian can't let himself get to that point, whether it's due to his concussion history, lingering neck and shoulder problems or anything else. If he gets cleared to come back, he needs to talk to WWE about some kind of retirement tour and big final match before that decision is completely taken out of his hands.