On November 9th Christian suffered an ankle injury during a house show on WWE’s European tour and was sent home to recuperate. There has been no official announcement as to when he’s likely to return to action (there rarely is with WWE) and there are no reliable rumours. ‘Captain Charisma’ is expected to be on the sidelines until the beginning of 2012 at the earliest.
It’s a real shame. Christian has been one of the promotion’s most reliable workers and a highlight of SmackDown throughout 2011. The injury has deprived Christian of the spot he’s worked hard for and the blue brand of a reliable heel.
Had he been able to compete at Survivor Series Christian likely would have once again been pinned by ‘The Great White’ Sheamus to bring their lopsided feud to a close. It’s difficult to say what would have come next for him. A rivalry with Daniel Bryan was rumoured, and it’s possible that the recent Big Show v Mark Henry v Daniel Bryan program has only come about because the original Christian v Bryan plan had to be scrapped. If that’s the case it’s worked out well for everyone except ‘Captain Charisma’: Bryan got some time in the spotlight, ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ got carried to some enjoyable matches, and fans got to watch.
With a smirk like that Christian was always cut out for the heel role.
Hopefully the former two time World Heavyweight champion’s services won’t be forgotten while he’s on the injured list. This year he has been involved in an incredibly enjoyable feud with Randy Orton and participated in several match of the year contenders, mainly against ‘The Viper’. His rivalry with Sheamus was a slight comedown in that there was no championship involved and Christian was rarely allowed to look as competitive as he had against ‘The Apex Predator’, but the two men still provided entertaining segments and matches.
When he returns he deserves to be rewarded for his hard work. That could take the form of a third World Heavyweight championship reign (which isn’t impossible as it would nicely set up a Christian v Daniel Bryan title match at WrestleMania) or a feud with a headline star such as John Cena or CM Punk, or something else entirely. The important thing is that WWE acknowledge the man’s efforts and ensure he remains at the top of the card.
Being one of the company’s best all-round workers should mean this is an automatic process but sadly that’s not the case. WWE officials, most notably Vince McMahon, have never viewed ‘The Instant Classic’ as headline material and as such he has never been afforded the protection of the booking team as men like Orton and Cena have. He may have been elevated to the level of World champion earlier this year, but it was done grudgingly after the loss of established headliner Edge.
WWE needs to recognise what they have in Christian and begin giving him the star treatment upon his return. He has the experience, verbal skills and in-ring ability to be a tremendous asset for several years to come. He just needs to be allowed.