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Christian Cage

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Christian Cage
Christian WM Axxess 2015.jpg
Christian in March 2015
Birth name William Jason Reso
Born (1973-11-30) November 30, 1973 (age 44)
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Residence Tampa, Florida, United States
Spouse(s) Denise Hartmann (m. 2001)
Children 1
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Christian[1]
Christian Cage[2]
Conquistador Dos[3]
Male Nurse[4]
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[1]
Billed weight 212 lb (96 kg)[1]
Billed from Tampa, Florida (WM18, TNA)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1]
Trained by Dory Funk Jr.[2]
Ron Hutchison[5]
Debut 1995[5]
Retired 2014[6]

William Jason Reso (born November 30, 1973) is a Canadian actor, podcaster and retired professional wrestler best known for his time in WWE under the ring name Christian, a shortened version of his original ring name Christian Cage that was also used during his tenure in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Reso was trained by former professional wrestlers Ron Hutchison and Dory Funk Jr. and made his wrestling debut in May 1992.

Reso wrestled in Canadian independent promotions early in his career, where he frequently competed in singles and tag team competition with longtime best friend Adam Copeland. In 1998, Reso signed a developmental deal with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and was rebranded as the storyline brother of Edge, Copeland's WWF persona. Reso made his debut the following year and immediately captured his first title in the company, the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship. Edge and Christian gained notoriety as a tag team for their participation in Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches and winning the WWF Tag Team Championship on seven different occasions. The team parted ways in 2001, after which Reso held various heavyweight singles titles, including the European Championship, the Hardcore Championship and the Intercontinental Championship.

In November 2005, Reso signed with TNA under his Christian Cage ring name, where he won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship twice. Reso left TNA in late 2008 and re-signed with WWE, where he won the ECW Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship twice. He is the twenty-third Triple Crown Champion and the eleventh Grand Slam Champion in WWE history.

Early life[edit]

Reso was born on November 30, 1973 in Kitchener, Ontario,[2] the son of an American father and a Canadian mother.[2][7] He played ice hockey and was a wrestling fan as a child.[7] Reso lived in Huntsville and East Luther-Grand Valley[7] before moving to Orangeville, where he met Adam Copeland, who became his best friend and eventual tag team partner.[5][8] The two attended Orangeville District Secondary School together, from which Reso graduated.[5][8]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (1994–1998)[edit]

In September 1994, Reso enrolled in a wrestling school at Sully's Gym, run by Ron Hutchison.[5] One of Reso's early ring names was Christian Cage, a combination of the names of Christian Slater and Nicolas Cage.[5][8] Cage's wrestling career began in June 1995 in a match against Zakk Wyld, which resulted in a draw.[5] In 1997, he was a part of Thug Life, a stable that included Joe E. Legend, Zakk Wyld, Rhino Richards and Sexton Hardcastle (Adam Copeland).[9] As a tag team on the Canadian independent circuit, Copeland and Reso were known as High Impact and later The Suicide Blondes.[10] The duo held titles in numerous promotions and competed in the United States and Japan.[11] Reso won the East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) Heavyweight Championship on July 18, 1998, which he held until October 15, 1999.[12]

When Copeland received a tryout match with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), Reso went with him and they faced off in an untelevised tryout match, which Copeland was booked to win.[11] After the tryout, once Copeland was promoted from his developmental status to touring with the WWF, he put in a good word for Reso and got him invited to the WWF-affiliated Dory Funk, Jr.'s Funking Conservatory training camp in 1998.[13] After completing his training at the conservatory, Reso signed a contract with the WWF to become a full-time performer.[11]

World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Edge and Christian (1998–2001)[edit]

Christian (left) with Edge in their Brood attire, which they used along with gothic symbols

When Reso came to the WWF, he shortened his ring name to Christian.[5] Christian made his television debut at the WWF's pay-per-view event Breakdown: In Your House on September 27, distracting Edge during his match against Owen Hart to reveal his allegiance to Gangrel.[14][15] Christian won the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship in his debut match against Taka Michinoku at Judgment Day: In Your House on October 18.[5][16]

Christian was given the character of a vampire and formed an alliance with Gangrel and Edge, who (in storyline) was finally persuaded to join what became known as The Brood.[17] At Rock Bottom: In Your House on December 13, The Brood defeated The J.O.B. Squad in a six-man tag team match, then they briefly feuded with The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness and later joining the team, but upon learning that Christian was beaten into telling Ken Shamrock the whereabouts of Stephanie McMahon, The Undertaker punished Christian by flogging him.[17] More loyal to The Brood than to The Ministry, Edge and Gangrel betrayed The Undertaker and rescued Christian from sacrifice later on.[citation needed]

Christian signing autographs in 1999

In 1999, Christian and Edge parted ways with Gangrel, who associated himself with The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy) to form The New Brood.[citation needed] As a result, they began feuding with The Hardy Boyz and went on to compete in a ladder match for the managerial services of Terri Runnels and $100,000 at No Mercy on October 17, which The Hardy Boyz won.[18] At Survivor Series on November 14, Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz faced Too Cool and The Hollys in a four-on-four Survivor Series elimination match, but they lost. At Armageddon on December 12, Edge and Christian competed in a eight-team battle royal which was won by The Acolytes. At the Royal Rumble on January 23, 2000, Christian competed in the Royal Rumble match, but he was eliminated by Rikishi. At No Way Out on February 27, Edge and Christian defeated The Hardy Boyz in a tag team match to determine the number one contenders to the WWF Tag Team Championship. At WrestleMania 2000 on April 2, Edge and Christian defeated The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) to win their first WWF Tag Team Championship in a triangle ladder match, which ultimately led to the creation of the Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) match.[19][20] At Backlash on April 30, Edge and Christian defeated Road Dogg and X-Pac to retain titles. At Judgment Day on May 21, Christian, Edge and Kurt Angle lost a six-man tag team match to Rikishi and Too Cool, to whom they lost the titles soon after only to win them back in a four corners elimination match at King of the Ring on June 25. At Fully Loaded on July 23, Edge and Christian lost to The Acolytes Protection Agency (Bradshaw and Faarooq) by disqualification, but they retained the titles.[citation needed]

Edge and Christian (right) at King of the Ring performing a five-second pose

Following their victory, Edge and Christian portrayed themselves as villains, shifting their in-ring personas from borderline goth to a comedic pair of "cool dudes". During this time, their trademark became the "five second pose", where they performed a pose in the ring for five seconds "for the benefit of those with flash photography" to mock, insult, or amuse the fans.[5][21] At SummerSlam on August 27, the Edge and Christian successfully defended the tag team titles in the first ever TLC match against The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz.[22] At Unforgiven on September 24, Edge and Christian lost the titles against The Hardy Boyz in a steel cage match and were not allowed another title shot. At No Mercy on October 22, Edge and Christian dressed up as Los Conquistadores defeated The Hardys for the titles. The next night on Raw Is War, The Hardy Boyz dressed as the Los Conquistadores and defeated Edge in a handicap match after Christian was taken out backstage to regain the WWF Tag Team Championship. At Survivor Series on November 19, Edge and Christian teamed with Right to Censor's Bull Buchanan and The Goodfather in a four-on-four Survivor Series elimination match which they lost to The Dudleys and The Hardyz. At Armageddon on December 10, Edge and Christian regained the tag team titles in a fatal four-way match involving The Dudley Boyz, K-Kwik and Road Dogg and The Right to Censor, but they lost them eight days later to The Rock and The Undertaker only to win them back days later on SmackDown! thanks to special guest referee Kurt Angle. At the Royal Rumble on January 21, 2001, Edge and Christian lost the WWF Tag Team Championship to The Dudley Boyz.[23][24] At No Way Out on February 25, Edge and Christian were unsuccessful in regaining the tag team titles,[25] but they eventually recaptured them in the second ever TLC match at WrestleMania X-Seven on April 1.[26][27]

On the April 19 episode of SmackDown!, Edge and Christian were defeated by The Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) for the WWF Tag Team Championship.[28] At Backlash on April 29, Christian was part of the triple threat match for the WWF European Championship which was won by Matt Hardy. At Judgment Day on May 21, Edge and Christian competed in a tag team turmoil match which was won by Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. On the May 24 episode of SmackDown!, Edge and Christian competed in a fatal four-way tag team TLC match for the WWF Tag Team Championship in which Benoit and Jericho retained the tag team titles.[citation needed]

After losing the tag team titles, friction arose within the team after Edge won the 2001 King of the Ring tournament on June 24.[29] It was also during this time that Edge was becoming a fan favorite during The Invasion storyline. Christian turned on Edge shortly afterward,[30] resulting in the two feuding for Edge's WWF Intercontinental Championship for several months.[31]

Championship reigns (2001–2004)[edit]

At Unforgiven on September 23, Christian defeated Edge to win the Intercontinental Championship, but he lost it back to Edge in a ladder match at No Mercy on October 21.[citation needed] Christian resumed a singles career by winning the European Championship from Bradshaw in October 2001.[32] At Rebellion on November 3, Christian faced Edge in a steel cage match for the Intercontinental Championship, but he failed to win the title. At Survivor Series on November 18, Christian defeated Al Snow to retain the European Championship. At Vengeance on December 9, Christian and Test faced Albert and Scotty 2 Hotty in a losing effort. In January 2002, Chrstian lost the European title to Diamond Dallas Page. At the Royal Rumble on January 20, Christian entered the Royal Rumble match, but he was eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin. At No Way Out on February 17, Christian and Lance Storm entered a tag team turmoil match with the winners getting a WrestleMania tag team title shot which was won by The Acolytes Protection Agency.[citation needed] After a series of defeats, Christian announced he would quit the WWF, but Page persuaded him to reconsider and adopted him as his protégé.[5] Christian betrayed Page and faced off against him for the European Championship at WrestleMania X8 on March 17, but he lost.[5] Christian began throwing tantrums in his gimmick at the time whenever things did not go his way and during the same event defeated Mighty Molly to win the WWF Hardcore Championship, but lost the title to Maven later that night.[33]

Christian in 2002 as World Tag Team Champion alongside Lance Storm

Following WrestleMania X8, Christian formed an alliance with fellow Canadian wrestlers Lance Storm and Test in June 2002, calling themselves The Un-Americans and winning now named WWE Tag Team Championship (formerly the WWF Tag Team Championship, which was renamed due to the WWF being forced to rename itself World Wrestling Entertainment) at Vengeance on July 21, but they lost the titles on the September 23 episode of Raw to the team of The Hurricane and Kane.[34] Christian later formed a tag team with Chris Jericho and competed in a fatal four-way tag team TLC match for the WWE Tag Team Championship on the October 7 special episode of Raw Roulette, but they failed to win the titles only to win them (renamed World Tag Team Championship) on October 14.[34][35] At Armageddon on December 15, Christian and Jericho lost the titles in a fatal four-way elimination match involving the teams of The Dudley Boyz, Booker T and Goldust and Lance Storm and William Regal.[36]

In 2003, Christian self-proclaimed himself as the new "People's Champion" and began calling his fans "The Peeps" after receiving advice and endorsement from The Rock.[37][38] On the May 5 episode of Raw, Christian faced Goldberg, but the match ended in a no contest when 3-Minute Warning got involved which led to a rematch on May 12, where Christian lost to Goldberg in a steel cage match.[citation needed] At Judgment Day on May 18, Christian went on to win a nine-man over-the-top-rope battle royal for the vacant Intercontinental Championship.[31] The following night on Raw, Christian appeared on Chris Jericho's talk show The Highlight Reel sporting a new haircut and ring attire.[39] Christian lost the Intercontinental Championship to Booker T on the July 7 episode of Raw,[31] but he regained the title after Booker was legitimately injured at a house show on August 10.[31] At Unforgiven on September 21, Christian defeated Jericho and Rob Van Dam to retain the title in a triple threat match, but he lost the title to Van Dam in a ladder match on the September 29 episode of Raw. At Survivor Series on November 16, Christian was a part of Team Bischoff taking on Team Austin and during the match eliminated Bubba Ray Dudley before being was eliminated by Shawn Michaels, though in the end Team Bischoff won the five-on-five Survivor Series elimination match. At Armageddon on December 14, Christian and Jericho defeated Lita and Trish Stratus in an intergender tag team match billed as the "Battle of the Sexes".[citation needed]

Also in 2003, Christian and Jericho began romances with Lita and Stratus, respectively; and as part of the angle it was revealed to be a bet over who could sleep with their respective female first, with a Canadian dollar at stake.[40][41] Despite the bet, Jericho continued his relationship with Stratus, which ultimately resulted in Christian and Jericho turning on each other. At the Royal Rumble on January 25, 2004, Christian competed in the Royal Rumble match, but he was eliminated by Jericho.[citation needed] At WrestleMania XX on March 14, Christian faced Jericho in a singles match with Stratus on Jericho's side, but Stratus accidentally struck Jericho, allowing Christian to defeat him.[42] Stratus then joined forces with Christian, becoming his on-screen girlfriend in the process. At Backlash on April 18, Christian and Stratus faced Jericho in an intergender handicap match which they lost.[citation needed] During a steel cage match against Jericho on the May 10 episode of Raw which he lost, Christian suffered a severe back injury, causing him to miss almost four months of in-ring action.[8][43] Christian returned on the August 30 episode of Raw, resuming his feud with Jericho and ending it in a ladder match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship at Unforgiven on September 12.[44]

Later feuds (2004–2005)[edit]

Christian's gimmick became that of a cocky, obnoxious and overconfident villain, dubbing himself "Captain Charisma" in October 2004. At Survivor Series on NOvember 14, Christian debuted "Just Close Your Eyes" by Waterproof Blonde as his theme song.[citation needed] On December 6, Christian was forced to wrestle by Chris Jericho (who was the Raw General Manager for the night) as Captain Charisma, complete with a superhero costume.[45] Christian was often accompanied by Tyson Tomko whom he called his "problem solver" and usually won his matches with interference from Tomko. Christian was loosely paired with Edge again several times in late 2004 and early 2005.[citation needed] Despite being a villain, he acquired a fanbase, who he referred to as his "Peeps",[46] "Peepulation" (a play on the word "population")[47] or the "Christian Coalition".[48] At New Year's Revolution on January 9, 2005, Christian and Tomko faced Eugene and William Regal for World Tag Team Championship, but they failed to win the titles, At the Royal Rumble on January 30, Christian competed in the Royal Rumble match, but he was eliminated by eventual winner Batista.[citation needed]

In April 2005, Christian participated in the first-ever Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21 on April 3.[49] Following this, Christian, who had an encounter with SmackDown wrestler John Cena at the start of the year, began commenting on Cena, claiming he was a better rapper than Cena and denouncing him as "poseur" while being noticeably cheered during these segments.[8] Soon after, then-WWE Champion John Cena was drafted to Raw, where Cena successfully defended the WWE Championship in a triple threat match against Christian and Jericho at Vengeance on June 26.[50]

On the June 30 episode of SmackDown!, Christian was drafted to SmackDown in the 2005 WWE draft lottery and replaced Big Show in a six-man elimination match for the newly created SmackDown! Championship, but he lost to John "Bradshaw" Layfield.[51] Soon after, Christian was given his own interview segment on SmackDown! called The Peep Show.[52] At The Great American Bash on July 24, Christian faced Booker T in a losing effort. At No Mercy on October 9, Christian competed in a fatal four-way match for the United States Championship which was won by Chris Benoit.[citation needed]

On October 31, his contract with WWE expired.[52] According to wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, Reso was asked on the spot to sign a new contract, but he declined.[52] His last match occurred during the tapings for the November 4 episode of SmackDown!.[52] Despite his quitting, Christian appeared on the October 31 episode of Raw and at Taboo Tuesday on November 1, fulfilling his obligations to the company as he was one of five SmackDown wrestlers eligible to be voted Chris Masters and Snitsky's opponents by the fans.[53][54]

Before leaving WWE, Reso filed to trademark the nickname of "Captain Charisma", which allowed him to use it as Christian Cage in the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), but after WWE disputed the trademark claim by citing a provision in the terms of his old contract he stopped officially using it on TNA programming by the summer of 2006, calling himself "The Instant Classic" from early 2007 onwards although he still continued to be referred to as "Captain Charisma" in off-screen appearances and sometimes wore his "Captain Charisma" entrance jumpsuits to the ring at live events.[55]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling[edit]

NWA World Heavyweight Champion (2005–2007)[edit]

Christian with "Coach" Scott D'Amore during his debut at Genesis in November 2005

On November 13, Reso made his debut in the TNA promotion at TNA's pay-per-view event Genesis under his old ring name Christian Cage.[56] Cage then made his way the ring, where he grabbed a microphone and announced his intentions to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship held by Jeff Jarrett after taking a few shots at his former employer.[56] "Coach" Scott D'Amore and Bobby Roode of the villainous Team Canada alliance then made their way to the ring and D'Amore then offered Cage a position in Team Canada (since Reso is Canadian), even giving him a Team Canada T-shirt and telling Cage to take his time on making a decision.[56] Later in the night after the main event, a six-man tag team match pitting the team of Jarrett and America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) (AMW) against Rhino and Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon), Cage ran down to the ring while Team Canada (D'Amore, Roode, Eric Young and A-1), AMW and Jarrett were assaulting Rhino and Team 3D.[56] After Cage entered the ring, he removed the jacket he was wearing to reveal the Team Canada T-shirt he was given earlier by D'Amore, who immediately rejoiced that Cage was seemingly a member of Team Canada until Cage turned on D'Amore and performed his finishing maneuver, solidifying Cage's character as a fan favorite.[56] Cage, Rhino and Team 3D attacked AMW and Team Canada and threw them out of the ring as they then forced the remaining Jarrett through a wooden table after Cage removed his Team Canada shirt to reveal a hidden TNA T-shirt.[56]

Cage made his first appearance on Impact! during the November 19 episode by engaging in a verbal sparring bout with Monty Brown.[57] This led to a match against Brown to become number one contender to the NWA world title at Turning Point on December 11, which Cage won.[58] At Final Resolution on January 15, 2006, Cage teamied up with Sting to defeat the team of Monty Brown and Jeff Jarrett.[59] Cage went on to defeat then-NWA world champion Jarrett for the title at Against All Odds on February 12, 2006.[60] Cage had his first title defense at Destination X on March 12, where he defeated Brown to retain the NWA world title.[61] On the March 25 and April 2 respective Impact! episodes, Abyss, his manager Father James Mitchell and Alex Shelley showed two pre-taped video packages that had been compiled in the weeks before the episodes, with first on March 25 depicting Mitchell stalking Cage's wife Denise, confronting her and even threatening that "they were coming".[62] The second aired on April 2, with Abyss, accompanied by Mitchell and Shelley, who was taping the segment with a camcorder like the previous video package, attacking Cage at his home in Tampa, Florida and nearly drowning Cage in his own pool.[63] This storyline led to Cage facing Abyss at Lockdown on April 23 in a six sides of steel cage match for the NWA world title, with Cage prevailing and attempting after the match to attack Mitchell and gain revenge for all his recent evil deeds against Cage and his family, but Abyss stopped him, took a steel chain, wrapped it around Cage's neck and attempted to hang him with it until he passed out, after which Abyss and Mitchell stole the NWA world title belt and left the arena.[64] The storyline between Abyss and Mitchell and Cage continued until Sacrifice on May 14, where Cage defeated Abyss and regained the NWA world title belt under Full Metal Mayhem rules.[65]

At Slammiversary on June 18, Cage's NWA World Heavyweight Championship reign came to an end as he was defeated by Jeff Jarrett in a King of the Mountain match, which also involved Abyss, Ron Killings and Sting.[66] Larry Zbyszko and referee Earl Hebner intervened at the end of the match by helping Jarrett win.[66] The title was declared vacant until TNA's main authority figure at the time, Management Director Jim Cornette, awarded the title belt back to Jarrett on the June 29 episode of Impact! on the condition that he defend it against the winner of a four-way match involving Cage, Samoa Joe, Scott Steiner and Sting at Victory Road.[67] Jarrett agreed to the condition and Sting became the new number one contender at the event on July 16.[68]

Christian at a TNA live event in 2007

After Victory Road, Cage befriended the new number one contender Sting on the July 27 episode of Impact! by asking for forgiveness for doubting Sting's agenda by coming to TNA in January of that year.[69] Cage went on to say that he had asked Cornette the week before if he could be in Sting's corner in his match with Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Hard Justice, but Cornette had told him he needed Sting's approval.[69] Sting accepted Cage's offer, with interviewer and occasional ring announcer Jeremy Borash announcing Sting's decision in a backstage segment on the August 3 episode of Impact!.[70] On August 13, Cage was in Sting's corner at Hard Justice as he faced Jarrett (with Scott Steiner in his corner) and during the contest interfered to help Sting win numerous times—as did Steiner for Jarrett—until Cage turned on Sting by taking Jarrett's signature guitar and bashing it over his head—turning his character into a villain.[71] Cage then allowed Jarrett to pin Sting and retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[71]

After the event, Cage began a feud with Rhino one of Reso's real-life good friends as Rhino questioned Cage on his actions at Hard Justice on the August 17 episode of Impact!, but Cage replied saying he did it for the good of TNA.[72] Cage went on to explain later in the episode during a sit-down interview with TNA commentator Mike Tenay that he attacked Sting because he felt Sting did not show enough passion during the encounter to "get the job done" and win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[73] The following week on Impact!, Cage came down to the ring where he addressed his attack on Sting further until he was interrupted by Rhino, who attacked after a small debate, starting a brawl between the two which came to an end after Cage laid Rhino's head on a steel chair, picked up another chair and bashed it over the outside of Rhino's head performing a one-man con-chair-to in the process.[74] This led to a match against Rhino at No Surrender on September 24, which Cage won.[75] A rematch was held at Bound for Glory on October 22, which Cage also won under 8 Mile Street Fight rules.[76] They had their final bout on the November 16 episode of Impact!, where Cage defeated Rhino in a barbed wire six sides of steel cage match.[77]

Christian's old WWE enforcer Tyson Tomko (now going simply by Tomko) made his TNA debut on the November 23 episode of Impact! helping Cage in a match against Sting.[70] With Tomko at his side, Cage set his sights on the NWA World Heavyweight Championship now held by Abyss and at Turning Point on December 10 fought Abyss and Sting in a three-way match for the title, but he failed to win the match as Abyss won to retain the championship after pinning Sting.[78] Cage fought for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship once again at Final Resolution on January 14, 2007 against Abyss and Sting, this time in a three-way elimination match that he won by pinning Sting after Abyss was already eliminated to win the championship.[79] After Final Resolution, Cage prepared for his title defense against the new number one contender Kurt Angle, who had defeated Samoa Joe in a 30-minute Iron Man match at Final Resolution to gain the opportunity.[79] Heading into their encounter at Against All Odds on February 11, Cage announced on the January 17 episode of Impact! that he had hired a special consultant to assist him in training for his bout with Angle.[80] This consultant was revealed on the February 8 episode of Impact!, who turned out to be Scott Steiner after he attacked Angle following a match pitting the team of Angle and Joe against Cage and A.J. Styles.[81] Cage went on to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Angle at Against All Odds with Joe as the unofficial special outside enforcer.[82]

Christian's Coalition (2007–2008)[edit]

Christian (right) and Tomko (left) were reunited in TNA while in the alliance called Christian's Coalition

On the March 8 episode of Impact!, Cage proclaimed that he, Tomko and Scott Steiner were an "inseparable family", which he called Christian's Coalition.[83] After a short feud with Samoa Joe, culminating in a victory for Cage at Destination X on March 11 for the NWA world title,[84] Cage was announced as a captain of a five-man team for the Lethal Lockdown match at Lockdown against Team Angle during the March 15, 2007 episode of Impact!.[85] At the event on April 15, Team Cage (Cage, Tomko, Steiner, A.J. Styles and Abyss) went on to lose to Team Angle (Angle, Joe, Rhino, Sting and Jeff Jarrett).[86] A stipulation was added that the wrestler who got the pinfall would become number one contender for the NWA world title and have their title shot at Sacrifice.[87] Sting was the individual who gained the pinfall victory for Team Angle and became the new number one contender.[86]

Christian making his way to the ring in August 2007

Abyss was later kicked out of the group after he attacked Cage on the April 19 episode of Impact!.[88] Steiner was the next to leave the group after he was attacked by Tomko following their tag team title match at Sacrifice.[89] Cage was set to defend the NWA world title against Sting at Sacrifice, but Angle was added to the match on the May 3, 2007 episode of Impact!, making it a three-way match.[90] At the event on May 13, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the owners of the NWA World Heavyweight and the NWA World Tag Team Championships, stripped Cage and Team 3D of the titles.[91] NWA Executive Director Robert K. Trobich stated the reason was that Cage refused to defend the NWA world title at NWA live events.[91] Cage, still holding the physical NWA world title belt, defended what was billed as the World Heavyweight Championship against Sting and Angle, who was the victor of said contest by making Sting submit (who had "technically" just pinned Cage at the very same moment) and was announced as the new World Heavyweight Champion.[89] On the following episode of Impact!, Angle came to the ring with a new championship belt in-toe and announced he was the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion,[92] a championship that TNA had just introduced at Sacrifice.[93] Afterwards, Cage and Sting came to the ring and the three began to argue over who was the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, but due to the controversial finish to their match at Sacrifice the title was declared vacant by Cornette and a tournament was held for the title which culminated in a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary on June 17.[92] Cage won entry into the match on the June 14 episode of Impact! by defeating Abyss.[94] Cage failed to defeat the four other men (Styles, Joe, Angle and Chris Harris) and win the title as Angle hung the title belt to become the new and undisputed TNA World Heavyweight Champion.[95]

After defeating Harris at Victory Road on July 17[96] and him, Tomko and Styles losing to the team of Andrew Martin, Sting and Abyss at Hard Justice on August 12 in a Doomsday Chamber of Blood match to become number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship,[97] Cage restarted his feud with Samoa Joe and the two met at No Surrender on September 9, where he defeated Joe by disqualification when Joe refused to release his rear naked choke submission hold he had applied.[98] The two had a rematch with Matt Morgan as the special outside enforcer at Bound for Glory on October 14, where Cage lost to Joe and ended his 23-month-long undefeated streak by not officially being pinned nor made to submit.[99] Cage and Joe fought one more time on the October 18 episode of Impact!, with a spot in the 2007 Fight for the Right tournament to become number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.[100] Cage defeated Joe to gain entry.[100] Cage made it all the way to the final round of the tournament, where he fought Kaz on the November 8 episode of Impact!, defeating Kaz due to interference from Styles and Tomko on Cage's behalf, but the match was declared a no contest, with the finals being determined in a ladder match at Genesis on November 11.[101] However, Cage failed to win the tournament final the second time around at Genesis.[102] Later in the night, Styles and Tomko helped Angle retain the TNA World Heavyweight CHampionship during the main event as Cage looked on from the ramp.[102] Styles and Tomko were later announced as members of Angle's new group, The Angle Alliance, which led to a title match between the two at Final Resolution on January 6, 2008 and also turning Cage into a fan favorite in the process.[103]

Christian in September 2008

On the January 3 episode of Impact!, Tomko left both Christian's Coalition and The Angle Alliance.[104] Cage failed to win the title at Final Resolution as a result of Styles' betraying and attacking him during the bout, ending Christian's Coalition.[105] At Against All Odds on February 10, Cage got a rematch against Angle with Samoa Joe as the special outside enforcer, but he once again was defeated by Angle as this time Tomko interfered and cost Cage the match.[106] Cage teamed with Joe and Kevin Nash (known as The Unlikely Alliance) at Destination X on March 9 to defeat The Angle Alliance (Angle, Styles and Tomko) in a six-man tag team match.[107] On the March 13 episode of Impact!, Cage and Tomko were announced as opposing team captains for a Lethal Lockdown match at Lockdown.[108] At the event on April 13,Team Cage (Cage, Rhino, Nash, Morgan and Sting) went on to defeat Team Tomko (Tomko, Styles, Brother Devon, Brother Ray and James Storm) at the event.[109] Afterwards, Cage and Rhino began competition as a regular tag team, with the pair being involved in The Deuce's Wild Tag Team Tournament for the vacant TNA World Tag Team Championship, but they failed to win the tournament and the championship at Sacrifice on May 11.[110] At Slammiversary on June 8, Cage and Rhino were involved as single competitors in a King of the Mountain match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but they failed to win the match.[111] Cage and Rhino went on to team with Styles (who had made amends with Cage and Rhino) in a losing effort against Angle, Brother Devon, and Brother Ray in a Full Metal Mayhem match at Victory Road on July 13.[112] At Hard Justice on August 10, Cage and Rhino defeated Team 3D in a New Jersey Street Fight.[113] Cage was involved in a three-way match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against the champion Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle at No Surrender on September 13, but he failed to win the title.[114] Cage then went on to participate in another three-way match against Styles and Booker T at Bound for Glory IV on October 12, which Booker T won.[115] Cage was defeated in his final TNA match on November 9 by Booker T for the newly established Legends Championship at Turning Point on November 9, with the stipulation that if Cage lost, he would have to join the newly formed Main Event Mafia.[116] On the November 13 episode of Impact!, Cage had his final appearance in TNA before his contract expired as during the telecast he was to be inducted into The Main Event Mafia, but Cage was attacked and "injured" by Angle, Booker T, Nash and Scott Steiner after Angle learned that he would go back to WWE when his contract expired.[117]

One night return (2012)[edit]

In 2012, Reso made a one night return to TNA at Slammiversary 10 under his old ring name Christian Cage to announce the number one moment in TNA history as voted by the TNA fans (Sting's 2006 return in the aforementioned Final Resolution tag team main event). This was part of a deal which in return WWE were able to use Ric Flair in programming and induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of the Four Horsemen stable.[118]

Independent circuit (2006)[edit]

In March 2006, Reso competed as Christian Cage three times in the United Kingdom for the One Pro Wrestling (1PW) promotion. His first appearance was on March 4 at their All or Nothing: Night 1 event, where he defeated Rhino.[119] His second appearance was at 1PW's Know Your Enemy: Night 1 event on May 26, defeating Steve Corino.[119] At Know Your Enermy: Night 2 event on May 27, 2006, Cage fought against the champion Abyss and Corino for the 1PW World Heavyweight Championship in a three-way dance, but failed to win as Corino gained the fall and the title.[119]

In May 2006, Reso made two appearances for the Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion as Christian Cage. His first appearance was on May 12 at ROH's How We Roll event in a tag match with Colt Cabana against Bryan Danielson and Christopher Daniels, which Cage and Cabana won.[120] His second appearance was a loss to Christopher Daniels at ROH's Generation Now event on July 29.[120]

Return to WWE[edit]

ECW Champion (2009–2010)[edit]

Christian at a WWE live event during his second run with the promotion

During an interview with TNA President Dixie Carter in January 2009, she confirmed that Reso's contract with TNA had expired and that he had re-signed with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).[121] Reso did not appear for the promotion until the February 10 episode of ECW under his old ring name Christian, confronting then ECW Champion Jack Swagger as a fan favorite.[122] Later that night, Christian defeated Swagger in his first match back.[122] On the February 24 episode of ECW, Christian faced Swagger again for the ECW Championship in a losing effort.[123] Christian won a tri-branded 15-man battle royal on the March 10 episode of ECW,[124] gaining entry into the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXV on April 5, which he failed to win.[125]

Christian won an elimination chase tournament to become the number one contender to the ECW Championship, gaining a title match at Backlash.[126] At the event on April 26, Christian defeated Swagger to win the title.[127] At Judgment Day on May 17, Christian defeated Jack Swagger to retain the title.[128] At Extreme Rules on June 7, Christian lost the title to Tommy Dreamer in a triple threat hardcore match also involving Swagger.[129]

On the June 15 episode of Raw, Christian faced Dreamer for the ECW Championship in a losing effort.[130] After unsuccessfully challenging for the ECW Championship in a Championship Scramble match that also included Swagger, Finlay and Mark Henry at The Bash on June 28,[131] Christian regained the ECW Championship from Dreamer at Night of Champions on July 26.[132]

On the August 4 episode of ECW, Christian retained the ECW title in an Extreme Rules match against Dreamer.[133] Christian then began a rivalry with William Regal over the ECW Championship, retaining the title against him at SummerSlam on August 23.[134] and at Breaking Point on September 13.[135] After a few months of defending the ECW Championship on ECW only, retaining the title against the likes of Zack Ryder and Yoshi Tatsu,[136][137] Christian was part of Team Kingston in a Survivor Series elimination match at Survivor Series on November 22, where he eliminated both Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes before being eliminated by Randy Orton. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 13, Christian successfully defended the title against Shelton Benjamin in a ladder match.[138] In late December 2009, Christian became the longest reigning WWE-era ECW Champion.[139] At the Royal Rumble on January 31, 2010, Christian successfully defended the ECW title against Ezekiel Jackson.[140] On February 16, Christian lost the ECW title in an Extreme Rules match to Jackson on the final episode of ECW.[141]

World Heavyweight Champion (2010–2011)[edit]

Christian at a WWE live event in April 2010

On the February 22 episode of Raw, Christian was announced to have re-signed with the Raw brand, defeating Carlito later that same night to gain entry into the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI on March 28, which he failed to win.[142] Later, it was announced that he would be a Pro on NXT, mentoring NXT Rookie Heath Slater.[143]

Christian was drafted back to the SmackDown brand due the WWE draft.[144] On the May 7 episode of SmackDown, he was placed in a Intercontinental Championship tournament, defeating Cody Rhodes to get to the finals, where he lost to Kofi Kingston.[145][146] On the July 2 episode of SmackDown, it was announced that Christian would compete in the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match at Money in the Bank on July 18,[147] which he lost.[148]

In September 2010, Christian tore his pectoral muscle and was expected to be sidelined for approximately six months.[149] Following surgery, WWE released a statement that revealed he was expected to only be sidelined for four months.[150] The injury was put into a storyline with Alberto Del Rio attacking Christian backstage on the September 24 episode of SmackDown.[151] Christian made his return from injury at Elimination Chamber on February 20, 2011, saving Edge from an attack by Del Rio.[152] On the March 4 episode SmackDown, Christian saved Edge from another attack by Del Rio.[153] On the March 7 episode of Raw, Christian made his in-ring return from injury against Del Rio's bodyguard Brodus Clay, picking up the victory.[154] On the March 11 episode of SmackDown, Christian reunited with Edge and defeated Del Rio and Clay in a tag team match.[155] On the following episode of SmackDown, Christian defeated Del Rio in a steel cage match, but was afterwards attacked by both Del Rio and Clay.[156] Christian was in the corner of Edge when he retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Del Rio at WrestleMania XXVII on April 3.[157]

On the April 8 episode of SmackDown, Christian lost to Del Rio in a number one contender's match for the World Heavyweight Championship after a distraction from Brodus Clay. After Edge's sudden retirement from wrestling on the April 15 episode of SmackDown, Christian won a 20-man battle royal to face Del Rio for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules on May 1, where Christian defeated Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship.[citation needed] On the May 6 episode of SmackDown, Christian lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton.[158] At Over the Limit on May 22, Christian failed to regain the championship from Orton.[159] On the June 3 episode of SmackDown, Christian was the special referee for a World Heavyweight Championship defense by Orton against Sheamus, which Orton won only to be hit by Christian after the match with the title belt, turning into a villain for the second time since 2005.[citation needed] At Capitol Punishment on June 29, Christian faced Orton for the World Heavyweight championship once again, but he failed to capture the title.[160] At Money in the Bank on July 17, Christian won the World Heavyweight Championship after Orton was disqualified for kicking him in the groin (the stipulation was if Orton was disqualified or the referee made a bad call, he would lose the title).[161] At SummerSlam on August 14, Christian lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Orton in a No Holds Barred match.[162] On the August 26 episode of SmackDown, special guest General Manager Bret Hart announced that Christian would face Orton in a steel cage match on the August 30 episode of SmackDown for the title, which Christian lost to end their feud.[163] Christian then began feuding with Sheamus, leading to a match between the two at the Hell in a Cell on October 2 and Vengeance on October 23, both of which Christian lost.[164][165]

On the November 4 episode of SmackDown, Big Show performed a chokeslam on Christian and received a storyline neck injury, preventing him from competing that night and starting to wear a neck brace.[166] On November 9 during the WWE European Tour, Christian injured his ankle and was pulled from a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match at Survivor Series on November 20.[167] In December, Christian briefly appeared at the Slammy Awards and Tribute to the Troops.[168][169]

Championship pursuits and injuries (2012–2014)[edit]

At Elimination Chamber on February 19, 2012, Christian returned from his injury to show support for John Laurinaitis.[170] Christian returned on the March 16 episode of SmackDown, hosting an episode of The Peep Show and given a spot on Laurinaitis' team in a 12-man tag match at WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1.[171] On the March 26 episode of Raw, Christian was injured once again after (kayfabe) re-aggravating his neck and shoulder in a match with CM Punk.[172] This was to write him off at WrestleMania XXVIII as it was later reported that Christian has not yet been fully medically cleared to compete due to a history of shoulder injuries.[citation needed] Despite the injury, Christian still appeared at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony to induct long-time friend Edge.[173]

Christian as Intercontinental Champion during his fourth reign

Christian made his return at Over the Limit on May 20, where he won a battle royal to receive a title match for either the Intercontinental or United States Championship and—despite originally selecting to face Santino Marella for the United States Championship—went on to defeat Cody Rhodes later in the show to win his fourth Intercontinental Championship, turning into a fan favorite once again.[174] Christian later explained his turn as inducting Edge into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012 made him realize that his career could end in an instant and wanted to end his career with the fans support, wanting to win multiple championships and leave having a Hall of Fame career, much like his best friend.[175] At No Way Out on June 17, Christian retained the Intercontinental title against Rhodes in a rematch.[176] On the June 29 episode of SmackDown, Christian and Marella defeated Rhodes and David Otunga to qualify for spots in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match.[177] At Money in the Bank on July 15, Christian was unsuccessful as the match was won by Dolph Ziggler.[178] At Raw 1000 on July 23, Christian lost the Intercontinental Championship to The Miz and failed to regain it in a rematch.[179] In mid-2012, Christian once again took a leave of absence due to a legit aggravated shoulder injury.[citation needed]

After a ten-month absence, Christian returned from injury on the June 17, 2013 episode of Raw, defeating Wade Barrett.[180] Later that week on SmackDown, Christian was attacked by The Shield while delivering a promo after defeating Drew McIntyre.[181] On the June 26 episode of Main Event, Christian took on Shield member Dean Ambrose, which resulted in a disqualification win for Christian following interference from Ambrose's stablemates, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.[182] That same week on SmackDown, Christian teamed up with The Usos to defeat The Shield, handing the stable their second loss in six-man tag team matches.[183][184] At Money in the Bank on July 14, Christian competed in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match, but was unsuccessful as the match was won by Randy Orton.[185] During the match, Christian had his teeth chipped after a strong punch from Sheamus through the rungs of a ladder.[186] On the July 29 episode of Raw, Christian defeated World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match.[187] That same week on SmackDown, Christian defeated Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam in a triple threat match to become number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, after which he was attacked by Del Rio during a post-match interview.[188] On the August 9 episode of SmackDown, Christian again defeated Del Rio in a non-title match.[189] At SummerSlam on August 18, Christian failed in his title challenge against Del Rio.[190] On the September 9 episode of Raw, The Shield dragged out an assaulted Christian as a message to anyone that disrespected Triple H following Edge's opinion on Triple H's recent abuse of power.[191] On that week's SmackDown, Edge promised Christian would return soon and get his payback.[citation needed] Christian returned and appeared on the 2013 Slammy Awards, where he presented an award and appeared in a segment involving John Cena and Randy Orton.[citation needed]

Christian returned on the January 31, 2014 episode of SmackDown to defeat Jack Swagger in a qualifying match for the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.[192] On the February 17 episode of Raw, Christian attacked Daniel Bryan from behind while he was distracted by Kane and mocked Bryan during the match, reverting back to a villain.[193] At Elimination Chamber on February 23, Christian eliminated Sheamus before being eliminated himself by Bryan.[194] On the March 24 episode of Raw, Christian won a fatal four-way match including Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus to challenge Big E for the Intercontinental Championship, which did not come to fruition due to Christian suffering a concussion, in what would be his final match as a professional wrestler.[6]

Part-time appearances and retirement (2014–2017)[edit]

Christian hosting The Peep Show at Night of Champions

After suffering his concussion, Christian appeared on pre-show discussion panels for WWE for events including NXT TakeOver, Money in the Bank and Battleground.[195][196][197] In 2014, he went on to host The Peep Show program with Chris Jericho at Night of Champions in September and with Dean Ambrose on the November 7 episode of SmackDown.

Edge and Christian were the guest hosts for the December 29 episode of Raw, where WWE commentator Jerry Lawler referred to Christian as "retired".[198] Pro Wrestling Insider corroborated Lawler's statement, adding that because of multiple concussions and other injuries, the company considered Christian retired as an active wrestler.[199] On October 27, 2015, Christian's profile was moved to the alumni section at WWE.com and noted that he had left active competition.[1] On the March 2, 2016 episode of Talk Is Jericho, Christian said that while he has had no formal discussion with management regarding his retirement, he is unlikely to wrestle again.[200] He confirmed his status on the September 22, 2017 edition of E&C's Pod of Awesomeness, saying: "I had to retire, like, right around 40... 'cause of the concussion stuff".[201]

Starting on February 21, 2016, Reso began appearing along with Edge in the WWE Network exclusive The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness, but In July 2017 it was announced that the show was canceled from the Network.[202]

In mid-May 2016, it became known that Reso had been released from his talent contract.[203] On the June 22, Talk Is Jericho podcast focusing on the Chris Benoit tragedy, Jericho mentioned Christian as an example of modern wrestlers who had to retire as the WWE would no longer give them medical clearances due to concussion related injuries (this was largely as a consequence of the Benoit incident as well as better knowledge of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other concussion related risks).[204]

In January 2018, Christian made a one-night return to WWE, hosting The Peep Show with special guests Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins, but it was later interrupted by The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus).

Other media[edit]

Reso has been a playable character in most of WWE video games starting from WWF Attitude until WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 and then reappearing in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 and appears in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, WWE '12, WWE '13, WWE 2K14, WWE 2K15, WWE 2K16, WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18. He also appeared in TNA iMPACT! video game in 2008. In 2007, TNA Home Video released a DVD titled The Instant Classic: Christian Cage, covering his beginnings in the independent circuit and other various subjects up to his second NWA world title reign.[205] Reso is also the host of the DVD The Ladder Match 2: Crash and Burn. In September 2015, Edge and Christian were guests on the Stone Cold Steve Austin Podcast, which aired on the WWE Network.

Personal life[edit]

Reso currently lives in Tampa, Florida, with his wife Denise, a German model whom he met while on tour in England. The couple married on May 25, 2001. On December 9, 2013, Reso announced on WWE.com that he had taken time off due to recurring post-concussive symptoms and during the time off his wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Isla.[206]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Shoot 'Em Up Senator's guard
2007 Dark Rising Ricky
2009 Bloodstained Memoirs Christian Cage
2010 Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf Officer Pete Gallant
2017 SuperGrid Kurtis
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Casino Cinema Christian Cage
2014–2015 Haven McHugh
2017 Murdoch Mysteries Leonard Stoker

In wrestling[edit]

Christian setting up his Killswitch on The Miz
Christian performing a frog splash on Kurt Angle
Christian choking Randy Orton against the ring ropes

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

While with TNA, Christian became a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion
When returning to WWE in 2009, Christian won the ECW Championship twice

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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