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Christian sees 'golden opportunity' in move to Smackdown
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


Christian heads to the ring at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Monday Night Raw on May 17, 2010. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

Not so long ago, Jay Reso could have stood in the middle of the ring at Scotiabank Place and, with a smirk, ripped on the Senators.

But even that may not have been enough for the fans to boo one of WWE's top all-around stars, talented in the ring and electric with a microphone in his hands.

You see, Reso, a 36-year-old has endeared himself to Canadian fans as Christian. And as hard as he tried on some nights, the fans cheered and cheered. He was one of their own. He was Canadian.

Tonight, Tuesday night, Christian will stand in that same ring. And he'll be a hero again. Now splitting his time between Toronto and Florida, Christian, a life-long Maple Leafs fan, appreciates the love. And you'd expect nothing less from a kid who grew up north of Toronto, in Orangeville, with boyhood buddy Adam Copeland, who would morph into Edge.

"It's special to come home. I can't go anywhere in Canada without the fans treating me like a hometown boy," he says. "It sets the Canadian fans apart from other fans.

"In Vancouver, one time I got on the microphone and started cutting on the west coast and Vancouver. Then I said they weren't really as good as people from Toronto. The Vancouver fans cheered me louder. So I said: 'I was just testing you.'

While he's viewed as a "face" -- a do-gooder, as opposed to wrestling's heels, the villains -- he says his game doesn't really differ much from years gone by.

"The funny thing is if you asked me four or five years ago, there was no way people were going to cheer me," he says. "I have a naturally sarcastic humour so it would be easy for people to look at me with a preconceived notion and not like me. It's a lot harder to get people to like you than to hate you. But I haven't changed what I do. I just throw it out there."

Christian was recently "drafted" onto the Smackdown! roster. He couldn't be happier.

"This is a golden opportunity for me," he says. "The door has opened and it's up to guys like Kofi (Kingston) and myself to kick that door open.

"Ever since I started, my goal wasn't just to get to WWE, my goal was to get to the top. Now, I have another opportunity and I can't stop till I reach my goal. I get that situations arise and take you off course, but you have to put yourself back on course.

"I think you see the best performances from Christian when I'm under pressure. I have a serious fear of failing."

"The fans know I give it 110% every time I'm in the ring. My goal is to steal the show. My body of work speaks for itself."

There'll be some formidable challenges along the way.

Holding the world title is the All-American American Jack Swagger. There are plenty of other obstacles. The Big Show is a walking house, a beast of a man at seven feet tall. And CM Punk and his Straight Edge Society (Luke Gallows and Serena) have been creating plenty of havoc in recent weeks. Layla is the new women's champion.

The roster of "faces" is strong with the fans getting behind superstars like Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix and MVP.

Christian feels invigorated, returning to WWE after a three-year stint in TNA.

"When I left WWE, I knew I was going to come back," he says. "I started on the road as a 24-year-old. I had been on the road eight years straight.

"I needed those couple of years to mentally and physically heal a bit."

And he's feeling very good about himself.

"I'm not a 25-year-old, but I feel like a 25-year-old," he says. "I'm in the best shape I've ever been in.

"When I started on the road, I was a kid. Now, mentally, I feel more mature. I've grown up.

"I can honestly say there's no 25-year-old in the company that can keep up with me."

RELATED LINKS

  • Christian bio and story archive

    Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.baines@sunmedia.ca.