WWE: Christian's 10 Career-Defining Moments
Some careers are not judged on championship victories. Some careers are not based on main event pedigree. Some careers are defined by moments that will live forever in the annals of wrestling history.
One such man is Christian, who fought and clawed his way to the top of the wrestling business after 17 years of aspiring to be a world champion in WWE.
Christian's "Peeps" have been clamoring for their hero to be given a shot at main event glory for years, and he was finally afforded that opportunity when he won the World Heavyweight title at Extreme Rules 2011.
But even if Christian had never reached the heights that he hit after the retirement of his best friend, Edge, he would always have been remembered as an icon in the wrestling business.
Tag team specialist, cocky heel, beloved babyface—it never mattered what part Christian was playing.
He was always able to get a reaction out of the crowd and remains to this day one of the most over heels in the company.
In my opinion, Christian is a lock for a future place in the Hall of Fame and still has a lot to contribute to the business before his retirement.
Here are 10 of the moments that have defined Christian's veteran career.
1. Wins Light Heavyweight Title in His Debut Match with WWF: 1998
Jason Reso had wrestled on the Canadian independent scene as Christian Cage and was signed by the WWF after his best friend, Adam Copeland, put in a good word for him with Vince McMahon's talent scouts.
The two had been a tag team on the independent circuits and best friends since high school.
In Christian's debut match on WWF television, he wrestled Taka Michinoku for the Light Heavyweight title.
He was accompanied to the ring by Gangrel, whom he would later join as part of the Brood along with Edge, and became a singles champion in his first match.
This would go down as an upset, because Christian was a relative unknown at the time, but it was a sign that the WWF saw something in him as a future star.
This would lead to the formation of the vampiric group known as the Brood, as Edge joined forces with his best friend and Gangrel.
The group's popularity would rise due to their impressive entrance where they rose up through the flames in eerie style.
It was the angle that would set up Edge and Christian as a legitimate tag team when they eventually split from Gangrel.
2. Formation of Edge and Christian: 1999
Gangrel played a part in Christian's career until 1999, when the two young Canadians dropped the "vampire" gimmick and became a promising young tag team.
E&C would become one of the greatest tag teams in the history of the wrestling business, contributing heavily to a revolution of the division.
At the start of their partnership, they remained borderline Goth, harking back to their vampire heritage, but eventually they would warp into the comedic pair of "cool dudes" that they would be remembered as.
The chemistry between these two was electric both in the ring and during backstage skits, and they provided much hilarity.
They would become WWF tag team champions an incredible seven times together, and both Edge and Christian can trace their singles success all they way back to the formation of this duo.
3. Win Tag Team Titles in a Ladder Match: WrestleMania 2000
When Edge and Christian sparked a three-way tag team feud with the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boys, history was about to be made.
These three teams would go on to completely regenerate the tag team division and revolutionise the business with a series of highly dangerous and electrically exciting matches.
Their first big match at WrestleMania 2000 would also become the first time that Edge and Christian won the tag team titles.
They took part in a Triangle Ladder match that stole the show at an otherwise underwhelming WrestleMania card.
It would spark one of the greatest tag team feuds of all time and many high-octane matches would follow.
4. Helps to Pioneer the Concept of the TLC Match: 2000-2001
Edge and Christian had an obsession with chairs that led to the formation of the Two-Man Con-Chair-To finishing move.
The Dudley Boys famously used tables throughout their career in ECW to win matches and to break their opponents in half.
The Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff, possessed a high-flying style that was perfectly complemented by ladders which allowed them to perform some of their more exciting moves.
These three gimmicks merged together to create the concept of the TLC match—Tables, Ladders and Chairs.
This match type now has its own PPV and has led to so many classic WWE moments.
The pioneering of this concept may go down as the principal legacy of these six wrestlers to the wrestling business.
In the first ever TLC match at SummerSlam 2000, Edge and Christian would triumph in one of the most brutal and impressive matches of all time.
Few expected these teams to emulate their SummerSlam match when they met again in Houston, Texas at WrestleMania X-7 for TLC II.
This match featured even more crazy bumps, epic spots and memorable moments, and ultimately Edge and Christian would triumph again.
These matches helped to cement Edge and Christian's status as a legendary tag team, and the TLC match is still synonymous with Christian even now in 2011.
5. Wins Intercontinental Title in a Battle Royal: 2003
After Edge and Christian split as a tag team, it quickly became clear that it was Edge that had been picked by Vince McMahon as the "Shawn Michaels" of the team.
The feud between Edge and Christian over the Intercontinental title was far from memorable, and Christian was only able to nail down a brief reign with the prestigious mid-card championship.
Christian was in danger of becoming lost in the shuffle, but he created a memorable heel character for himself that quickly got over.
It was at this point in 2003 that he began to call his fans the "Peeps" after endorsement from the Rock.
The WWE proved that they still had faith in Christian when they awarded him the victory in a Battle Royal for the vacant IC title.
Booker T technically won the match, but the referee was down and Christian cleverly nailed Booker with the belt and won the match.
Christian would become a three-time Intercontinental Champion in his WWE career, and this moment signified that his wrestling career was still on the rise.
6. Defeats Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XX: 2004
It is very rare in wrestling that attempted emotional storylines come off as anything other than forced and fake.
But the comedy tag team of Christian and Chris Jericho engineered a very convincing break-up angle based around Jericho's on-screen relationship with Trish Stratus.
The seeds were planted in the buildup to Christian's WrestleMania match with Y2J for a Trish Stratus heel turn at 'Mania, as she cost Jericho the win.
This was a huge singles win for Christian on the "grandest stage of them all" against a man bound for future main event success.
Jericho and Christian put on a match that would be expected from two great Canadian workers, and their feud was filled with highlights.
7. Refuses to Sign a New WWE Contract; Signs with TNA: 2005
In Christian's last run with the company in 2004, he became "Captain Charisma," a cocky and overconfident heel who employed Tyson Tomko as his bodyguard and "problem solver."
Christian would have a memorable war of words with John Cena that led to an epic "battle rap" between the two that led to the immortal line, "Tomko, give me a beat!"
But his character was taking no direction, and the WWE seemed to have no main event plans for him, so he refused to re-sign a contract in 2005.
This was a huge turning point in his career, as many questioned his decision to become the first high-profile WWE talent to make the jump to TNA.
Jeff Jarrett's brainchild was very much the second company at that point, and Christian gave them some mainstream attention in the wrestling world.
He cut a promo on debut that outlined his desire to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
He had never been given the ball to run with as a World Champion with WWE, and Christian earned a lot of respect with his decision not to rest on his laurels.
8. Wins the NWA World Heavyweight Title for the First Time: 2006
One of the main reasons that Christian had decided to jump ship to TNA was the WWE's reluctance to push him as a main event superstar.
He had not been given the ball to run with as a world champion in Vince McMahon's company, but here at last was his opportunity to write his name into the history books.
In February 2006, at the Against All Odds PPV, Christian defeated TNA founder Jeff Jarrett to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
It must have been a bittersweet victory for Christian, who had dreamed of becoming WWE Champion since childhood, but he showed the world that he was main event material, and he showed Vince McMahon that he had made a big mistake in letting him leave.
He would become a two-time NWA Champion in TNA, engaging in classic matches with the likes of AJ Styles, Sting and Kurt Angle.
When he decided to leave the company in 2008, the WWE were only too eager to snap him up again.
9. Returns to WWE: 2009
After Christian's TNA contract ran out, he saw to a few independent bookings, but ultimately his only goal was to return to the WWE and fulfill his unfinished business.
He made his return to WWE TV in February 2009, interrupting then-ECW Champion Jack Swagger on the third-string show.
Despite the apparent lack of reaction from Todd Grisham, this moment felt important, and there was a sense that Christian had come back to where he always belonged.
He began a feud with Swagger for the ECW Champion, eventually winning the watered-down WWE version of the formerly prestigious title on two occasions.
Many have commented that Christian was relegated to ECW as a punishment for his departure, but "Captain Charisma" repaid his dues without complaint and was ready to break out once again after ECW folded for the final time.
10. Wins the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules: 2011
Christian was drafted to SmackDown after the end of ECW and seemed to be wasting away in the mid-card until he tore his pectoral muscle, an injury kayfabe attributed to newcomer, Alberto Del Rio.
By the time Christian was ready to return, his best friend, Edge, was the World Heavyweight Champion and Del Rio, as the Royal Rumble winner, had challenged him at WrestleMania.
Christian returned to save his friend from the Cross Armbreaker at the Elimination Chamber and was heavily involved in the buildup to Edge's WrestleMania bout.
All the signs were pointing toward a Christian heel turn that would cost Edge the title and spark one last feud between the two best friends.
But what we didn't know was that Edge was on his last legs and that this would be his final match before he was forced to retire.
One of the only positives to come from the curtailing of one of the all-time great careers was that Christian would take his place in the Ladder match with ADR for the vacant World title at Extreme Rules.
This had an incredibly emotional and incredibly real feel to it, as Christian was so close to finally fulfilling his dreams of becoming World Champion in the world's top wrestling promotion.
The slow climb up the ladder to retrieve the title with Edge tearfully cheering his best friend on was symbolic of the mountain that Christian had had to climb to finally reach the pinnacle of the wrestling world.
This is a moment that will live long in the memories of wrestling fans, and it can be argued that this truly defined the career of Christian.
After all the trials and tribulations, after all the bumps in the road, he had achieved his childhood dreams at long last.
Christian has a special place in the hearts of many fans that have witnessed the entirety of his long and winding career path.
Despite his current dastardly, whining heel character, he still has a huge fanbase, and the outrage that resonated around the wrestling world when Randy Orton ended his title reign after just five days is a clear sign of his popularity.
Orton against Christian was one of the feuds of 2011 as the two put on a series of great matches before "Captain Charisma" finally turned heel and won the World title back via a disqualification.
Christian is currently on the injured reserve list, but when he returns he will still have a huge part to play on SmackDown and his affiliation with the World Heavyweight Championship is far from over.
As always, I will be taking suggestions in the comments section as to who you want to see featured next in this series.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the career of one of my all-time favorite wrestlers.
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