Why did Christian leave WWE?
Christian is a former World Champion in WWE who had spent seven years in Vince’s company before departing the company rather suddenly in mid-2005. His departure was met with surprise, as he was a rather popular wrestler among WWE’s hardcore fanbase, and was better off on the SmackDown roster where he had a better chance of standing out than he would’ve had he remained on RAW.
So why did he leave WWE in the first place?
Popularity alongside Edge
Christian debuted with WWE in 1998, and soon he and Edge joined forced with Gangrel to become known as ‘The Brood’. Their gimmick grew in popularity over time, and by 1999, Edge & Christian had formed their own identity as one of three teams that re-defined WWE’s tag team division (the other two being the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz).
Between 1999 and 2001, Edge & Christian were one of the best teams in WWE, performing daredevil stunts and wowing audiences with their matches, all while winning multiple tag team titles together. But that pairing was not meant to last forever.
At King of the Ring 2001, Edge won the eponymous title and tournament, which led to the dissolution of the Edge & Christian tag team.
Edge then moved to SmackDown, where he became one of the famed ‘SmackDown Six’, a group of wrestlers that wrestled one another in high-profile matches that brought the Blue Brand some much-needed attention and popularity.
Within a few years, Edge went from being a ‘glorified tag team wrestler’ to one of WWE’s biggest singles stars.
Christian, meanwhile, experienced far less success. While he did become a staple of the RAW brand for a few years and did have some interesting feuds with the likes of Chris Jericho, he wasn’t anywhere near Edge’s level.
Christian eventually turned into a winning crybaby character that threw tantrums when he lost and drifted further down the card while his former partner went in the opposite direction. He was very much the Marty Jannetty to Edge’s Shawn Michaels.
By 2005, it was obvious that Christian wasn’t going to be taken seriously as a potential top guy by anyone in WWE with important positions. As a result, when his contract ended on October 31st, 2005, and he was asked to sign a new one on the spot, he chose not to. In doing so, he fulfilled his final obligations to WWE and then parted ways with them.
The biggest reason for Christian’s departure appeared to be issues with his push and presentation. Many former members of WWE’s creative team have opined that this negative view of Christian came all the way from the very top of WWE. Vince McMahon wasn’t said to be a big fan of Christian’s and at one point even put a blue dot on a photo of Christian’s face because he disliked that face so much.
If the company’s CEO dislikes your face so much that he’s willing to cover it instead of look at it in a photo, how do you think he’d feel when meeting that face in person?
He has also since stated that he was feeling burned out at the time, and he felt that his ‘thing’, his moment, would never come. Because of this feeling of being of being stuck on a treadmill, he went to TNA and became a major player there for a few years.
He won their version of the world title, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and flirted with the main event for the majority of his tenure there. This ended up being a key period for Christian, as he proved to at least some of his doubters that he had the potential to main event and carry a brand as a world champion.
Christian’s TNA run lasted about three years before he returned to WWE during the ECW brand’s final days. He was thrust immediately into the ECW main event scene, but by then that brand was on its last legs anyway and didn’t have much in the way of momentum. Christian would spend much of 2009 and 2010 floundering in mid-card feuds and ended up more or less back in the same spot as he was in before he had departed.
But things took a major turn in 2011 when his former tag team partner and real-life best friend Edge retired suddenly after WrestleMania XXVII. Edge vacated the World Heavyweight Championship and Christian soon won it, only to lose it shortly afterwards to Randy Orton and engage in one of the best feuds in recent SmackDown history.
Christian’s final wrestling match took place on March 24, 2014, which saw him win a Fatal-4-Way match to earn the right to challenge Big E for his Intercontinental Championship. However, that title shot never took place because Christian suffered a concussion which then forced him into retirement.
WWE has since taken a very strong stance regarding these types of injuries and has forbidden any of their stars from wrestling on their programming if they have suffered any type of concussion (just ask Daniel Bryan).
Although it didn’t end on a high note for Christian, at least he can hold his head high knowing that he proved some doubters wrong when he demonstrated that he was indeed worthy of being called a world champion.
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