More and more recently, I've noticed people using the following verbiage: "Christian isn't going anywhere creatively. He's not being pushed. He's not in line for a title shot."
The bulk of that quote I'm paraphrasing from other articles and editorials, however if it were put into past tense, I might agree. Here, it's being used in present tense, and given that Christian has been out with an injury for at least three months, it doesn't sit right with me to say he's NOT presently being pushed.
He can't go anywhere. He's been out.
Given what I've read, I'm already touching on a fact that sets this apart from other Christian rants stating oh-so emphatically that he's a misused talent, that he's getting buried, and WWE needs to utilize him more. If not, let me get the ass-kissing out of the way so I can harp on the real argument.
Christian is absolutely the total package.
He's got great in-ring skills. He's 37 so he's got plenty of in-ring experience mixed with enough youth still left to have a good run at things. His mic work is terrifically entertaining, along with being a great fit for WWE's PG format. And his schtick of calling the crowd his "Peeps" goes great for being a heel or a face.
His loyalty may be in question with Creative/Management, as they tend to dislike when wrestlers become stars in TNA, then come to WWE, however I really don't fault Christian for that.
In fact, Christian's career can actually compared to the popular cartoon show, Family Guy. How?
Both the wrestler and the cartoon started as quirky sideshows in the big leagues. Just as they were about to carve out their own unique niche, they parted ways with their respective big league companies and popped up shortly after in the minor leagues.
Christian rose to major success, capturing the NWA Title.
Family Guy, although not creating new episodes on the late night branch of Cartoon Network, entitled [adult swim], still garnered a massive cult following.
Both were later recaptured by their respective big league companies that they had parted ways with.
Not to say Family Guy is stagnating; it is getting to that reliable John Cena circa 2006/2007 territory, where it's not a boring show to watch, but you tend to know what you're going to get when its on.
Christian, on the other hand, did receive a push upon his return. Many ignore that fact.
The part that isn't ignored is that he returned to WWE's "ECW" program, immediately entering into a confrontation with then ECW Champion Jack Swagger. Later, he would capture said ECW Title. Since neither ECW, nor the ECW Title, are around anymore, many strike this from history as if it either never happened, or is useless to consider.
I'm not disagreeing with this approach, and I'm not even suggesting that a brief push with a failing ECW rebirth is equal to what Christian likely deserves during his second run with WWE. I'm merely pointing out that he was pushed, just on a network and a show not many people watched.
Let's be realistic for one moment, and detract from what our instincts are telling us about what Christian does or does not deserve.
What did we really expect to happen when Christian came back? Before his contract expired, he'd been booked in lots of storylines that ended suddenly, failed at almost every step to gain serious momentum, and after acquiring secondary titles, lost them shortly after.
Did we really think his return to WWE would be of proportionate standing to his role in TNA? That he was going to return to WWE and demand a WWE Championship match? I know I didn't.
Family Guy was allowed to initially rag on the FOX network upon its return by going through the laundry list of dumb and ridiculous shows FOX decided to air and then cancel shortly after. Family Guy is also known for being edgy and pushing boundaries at every step, so it was only natural to see this occur.
Vince and WWE Management tend to enjoy rubber stamping certain wrestlers and performers with the privilege of digging WWE for its decisions.
Edge and Triple H pretty much have tenure. Despite certain policies, Jim Ross was given something of a free hand to at least appear to tell things like they were during commentary, even while censoring himself by saying things like "that other wrestling company," etc., which he only did on rare occasions.
CM Punk seems loyal enough to WWE that his big mouth isn't going to be a problem, in fact, he's been encouraged to throw in more inside jokes.
Christian? I guess he hasn't earned that level of respect yet.
After ECW flopped yet again, Christian was Heath Slater's pro on Season 1 of NXT, after which he was drafted to Smackdown, where two major things could have happened:
Rebirth of a feud/tag team: Edge could have been kept on Smackdown, after their crossing paths for one night as they were traded, to reevaluate his relationship with Christian, similar to how Triple H and Shawn buried their long-standing hatchet to take on a common enemy in Vince McMahon.
I guess Creative felt that DX Revisited hadn't garnered enough fan support to warrant a reunion of Edge & Christian, so this was scrapped, and Edge moved to Raw.
The shadows rise as one: Matt Hardy, another secondary member of a famous WWE tag team, and also notorious for living in the shadow of a more famous partner/brother, could have been paired up with Christian so that the two of them could form their own tag team, showing everyone what they were truly made of.
Unfortunately, Matt had to act like an egotistical teenager, obviously listening to so many of the IWC clamoring for him to be treated better, and eventually earning his release by posting YouTube videos critical of the company.
Had Matt stuck around, WWE might very well have had the three renew their feud and Christian and Matt could have again rode Edge's coattails to stay relevant.
Again, it was not meant to be.
Since his cameo at the Slammy Awards last Monday, we've all been curious where Christian's going to land once he gets back. Looks to be his feud with Alberto, and with word spreading about Mysterio wrestling injured, we may just see that happen.
In case you haven't read the TLC results for this Sunday's PPV, Edge has won the World Heavyweight Championship, beating Alberto, Mysterio and former champion, Kane. Despite Mysterio holding the big gold belt numerous times, this was Alberto Del Rio's first real shot at a top tier title in WWE.
With as much support and backing as Alberto has going for him, and with Mysterio and Kane fighting age and injuries, it's not out of the question to see Alberto challenge Edge for the WHC, but where does that leave Christian?
I'm not trying to conspiracy-theory my way into thinking Christian is actually inches away from earning himself his first top tier title in WWE. I'm merely speculating on possibilities, of which there are tons.
However, WWE tends to get confused when too many possibilities hover in the air. Creative tends to go with either:
A) What's most logical for the characters involved (i.e. Cena "doing the right thing" and sacrificing his career at Survivor Series to keep Barrett from winning the WWE Title) or
B) Avoid all the obvious possibilities and pull a total swerve, just to keep from giving us storylines we predict (i.e. Cena retaining his title in a Last Man Standing match by duct taping Batista's feet to the ring post. Given some of TLC's results, I may write an article about that as well).
The problem with option B is that most critical fans are actually in favor of the sportsmanship. We like looking at two wrestlers, comparing records, reviewing the "tale of the tape," and considering factors that maybe people aren't taking into account, in order to decide who might win.
We know it's booked and scripted. We just like treating it as if it were a real sport. Instead, the only factors that matter are the storyline ones they officially present us with.
In Christian's case, before his injury, there were a number of different pathways his career could take, but similar to how things were looking before his last contract expired, pathways were either closing fast or not being utilized, and people are still saying during his recovery...
"Christian isn't going anywhere creatively. He's not being pushed. He's not in line for a title shot."
Again, he's still injured, still recovering. People talk about him so often like he's been here the whole time. He's been gone since September, his movement in the company can't go anywhere.
There's even been talk that Christian himself might be frustrated with his treatment since returning. None of us would blame him, but WWE can't ignore how valuable this guy is.
I've speculated that MVP and JTG should have been a tag team after Cryme Tyme broke up. This might've been a bit harder for them to pick up on. Christian's value, especially during his most recent stint of recovery, is a lot easier to realize.
When he comes back, he's coming back to a pretty different Smackdown. Lots of things have changed. Nexus has caused much heavier havoc than when Christian was around last. Lots of Smackdown stars have been released to make room for newer faces.
Christian sits in a pretty good spot. He's not as new as guys like Sheamus, McIntyre, or even MVP, but he's not as old as Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, or his former on-screen older brother, Edge.
We see Christian with a microphone, and we know enough about his capabilities to speak and entertain, yet we also know that there's still so much he hasn't shown us.
WWE has clearly been easing up in the most microscopic bits when it comes to their PG rating. Not implying any kind of end to it, but not sticking to it so tightly either. And for Christian's promos to reenter into such a landscape would be ideal.
I'm not going to sit here and spew the same rehashed arguments about how Christian's "The Man," how he should be pushed to the top right away and how WWE is full of ignorant idiots for not pushing him.
Until he returns, we need to stop talking about him like he's been on every episode of Smackdown since his injury, like he's been jobbing all this time and not been on the bench, and WWE is purposefully keeping him down.
They have kept him down in the past, yes, but Triple H has been out even longer and his return might not be until first quarter next near.
You'd hate to hear friends badmouth you while you're standing right here and I think we should all stop talking about Christian in the present tense. He's got a ways to go before he gets back.
As eager as we all are to see Edge and Christian in the ring together again (whether against each other or on the same side), even a feud with Alberto at this point would elevate him. Alberto's proving to be top talent. Even when he loses, the guy is just touchable as far as entertainment quality.
Promoting that feud, giving Mysterio time off, it's all in the cards that Christian will rise again to popularity.
If Edge and Christian cross paths again, I can't say. Seems possible. WWE didn't seem to want to reunite E&C before.
Then again, the Undertaker/Kane feud played out pretty masterfully in my opinion, and with Taker coming back eventually and Kane no longer champion, it's likely the two of them will deal more with their family issues and pasts than simply championships.
If Taker makes it back by Wrestlemania time and Kane is healthy enough, maybe the Devil's Favorite Demon can take Taker's holy grail...his streak.
Regardless...Christian is coming. The Peeps will rejoice, the Coalition will sound off, and we'll all see another deserving star from years back get what's coming to him.