AEW: Christian Cage’s veteran value to All Elite Wrestling

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08: Christian is introduced during the WWE Smackdown Live Tour at Westridge Park Tennis Stadium on July 08, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08: Christian is introduced during the WWE Smackdown Live Tour at Westridge Park Tennis Stadium on July 08, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images) /

AEW is chock full of new and brash talent, but it also has its fair share of veterans that elevate the new generation every day. Christian Cage brings that level of veteran value to the game and younger talents like Jungle Boy have benefited from it immensely.

Other veterans at AEW include Billy Gunn, Kaz, Christopher Daniels (who serves as talent relations with the company), just to name a few, and each of them brings something to the table. What’s amazing about young wrestlers in particular, as opposed to most others in society these days, they’re willing to listen to those that have more experience, and in the end, they know full well that it can only help them in their endeavors in the business.

Christian’s return to the Royal Rumble

Christian’s longtime friend and Hall of Famer, Edge, made a triumphant return to the Royal Rumble this past January after a triceps injury he suffered at last year’s Backlash, but Christian also returned as a surprise entrant.

Christian has stated in WWE’s recent Edge WWE 24 documentary that premiered on the WWE network, which chronicled his return, that he had been inspired by his friend’s return at the previous Rumble and WrestleMania, to come out of retirement himself.

Which he eventually did, to the pleasure of the WWE Universe.

His intentions to return to in-ring action, however, weren’t made clear until he premiered on AEW TV where he stated that he was there to help the younger members of the roster…something he’s been doing since we’ve seen him at AEW, and something he wasn’t given a chance to do at WWE.

Something that the fans didn’t get either was yet another match pitting Edge and Christian against one another, which was something they both have stated that they would have wanted.

Edge has since made these statements regarding Christian’s AEW debut:

“You know, I’m not bummed. I want him to be happy, and I want him to get the respect that he deserves. Because I’d like for him to get the on-air respect that the locker room shows him…If you ask anyone within our industry, he’s one of the names where people go, ‘Man, that dude.’ …So I just want him to be wherever he’s going to get that respect. Because whatever the initials are, he’s my best friend…I want him to be able to do hopefully what I get to do, which is go out on your own terms, and see this thing through properly instead of just like, ‘You’re done.’ ‘Wait, what? I’m what?’ We’ve both been in that scenario. So I just want him to go wherever that’s gonna be.”

Christian’s rise…and retirement

Since the Attitude Era, Christian has achieved milestone after milestone. He attained tag team royalty with his childhood friend, Edge; he had a good singles run that led to matches with Chris Jericho as well as others; he even left WWE to dominate at Impact (then TNA) as Christian Cage, where he finally won a major championship—specifically the NWA title—before returning to WWE in a more dominant capacity, which ultimately led to his retirement which was officially announced in 2017, but he had suffered a concussion back in 2014, after which he performed for the company in outside of the ring capacity, hosting and commentating on many superstar pre-show panels.

Of his retirement at that time, he has said: “I had to retire, like, right around 40…’cause of the concussion stuff”. These comments were made on E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness in September of 2017.

The perfecting of the ladder match

The ladder match was invented in Stu Hart territory, Stampede Wrestling, by wrestler Dan Kroffat. There is of course a conflicting belief that it was invented by Kendo Nagasaki, so both men have been attributed with the invention.

Perhaps the popularity of the ladder match cannot be attributed to one single man or woman in the business of professional wrestling. The advent of the type of match can, especially in WWE and the name that comes to mind is, of course, Shawn Michaels, who faced Bret Hart in the first-ever ladder match in WWE and subsequently Razor Ramon at WrestleMania 10, but the perfecting of the format was made possible with countless bouts and the overall success of the type of match cannot be talked about without including Christian.

Christian, alongside Edge, Matt and Jeff Hardy, and the Dudley Boys made it clear as to just how a ladder match should function via the TLC match at WrestleMania 17.

Premiering on AEW and what he’s done so far…

Of course, being in AEW is perhaps better than another and perhaps last run in WWE. WWE was good to Christian up until a certain point. The unfortunate thing for Christian was that he always seemed to hit an invisible ceiling at the company.

But in AEW he can do what he wouldn’t have been able to do in WWE, which elevates his own legacy to the status it merits to be elevated to, and he can elevate the younger members of that roster. In the end, it works out for everybody.

He has shown up in excellent shape, as he always has, and seems ready to do business, as the old-timers in the business have always been fond of saying.

Next. NXT: Three NXT performers that need to be called up to the main roster. dark

Putting his veteran value to good use

I don’t see it as impossible that he turns on Jungle Boy in order to make him, with a long feud and series of matches, or anyone else on the roster. He has defeated his old nemesis Matt Hardy and perhaps now he can change direction.

The point here is, is that the sky is kind of the limit with a legend like this. AEW just needs to figure out when and how, as it seems as though Christian is certainly roaring to go.