On May 16th on FITE TV, the streaming service is going to premiere the Cagefighter: Worlds Collide film which the likes of Chuck Liddell, Gina Gershon, Luke Rockhold, AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, Jay Reso who most know as Christian, along with a cast full of MMA fighters and well-known actors are going to star in.
To promote the film, Christian took the time to chat with POST Wrestling about starring in the film, his career in pro wrestling and his thoughts about recent events within the wrestling world. While speaking about the film, Christian touched on the fact that there are many former and current MMA fighters in ‘Cagefighter’ and talked about the number of pro wrestlers who have made the jump from wrestling to MMA and vice versa.
“Gina Gershon is in the movie as well. Obviously, a well-known actor. She’s done some really big movies and she was great to work with as well. It was just cool how it all came together. It seems like this type of movie is really relevant at this point in time. We’ve seen over the past few years with pro wrestlers making the jump over to MMA, with guys like Brock Lesnar, we’ve seen CM Punk and more recently, Jake Hager, formerly Jack Swagger fighting for Bellator so, it kind of goes right in line with the current kind of what you’re seeing. Obviously Bobby Lashley did that as well. So, I think even way back, I feel like Ken Shamrock might have even been the very first kind of pioneer to go from pro wrestling into MMA. If I’m not mistaken, I think he got us started in pro wrestling. But yeah, it was an exciting project. We shot it up in Saskatchewan in Canada. It was freezing cold that Winter so, like you said, it’s very relevant to what’s going on now. It was a lot of fun to do. Obviously, some big names from wrestling and from MMA involved. So, and obviously… great partnership with FITE to have this streaming with what’s going on in the world, with everything kind of being put on hold here for a little while and hopefully it’ll provide a nice escape for people to check it out.”
Diving into his in-ring career, Christian was asked about his time with The Un-Americans which consisted of himself, Lance Storm, the late Andrew Martin who is known as “Test” and William Regal later joined the group. The Un-Americans have a total of three World Tag Team Championship victories between them and while being a part of that group led to Christian capturing championship gold, he shared that he did not believe in the character he was portraying at the time. Although he was working with some of his good friends, it was hard for him to bring the character to life when he didn’t believe it in and in-turn, that made it difficult for him to connect with the fans and make them believe in the character.
“Yeah, obviously I’m friends with all those guys so… you talk about acting before and playing different roles and you know, that was a hard — it wasn’t hard working with those guys because I was friends with all those guys and they were super talented so that wasn’t the issue. The issue, for me, was I couldn’t sink my teeth into that character as much as I wanted to because I didn’t necessarily believe in it, and the things I was saying and doing and it’s hard to go out there and make people believe when you’re trying to figure out how to do it. When you don’t believe 100 percent, it’s hard to go out and make people believe what you do. So, I struggled with that a little bit, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying, it was just I couldn’t figure out how to make that type of character connect with the audience the way I had before that and after it. So, it was a good learning experience for me as far as character development and things like that.”
Fast forward a year after Christian departed from The Un-Americans, he formed a team with Chris Jericho. One particular moment from his time working with Jericho that was brought up to Christian was when he played the role of Jericho during the 2003 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Jericho and Shawn Michaels were on a collision course to their match at WrestleMania XIX and in the Rumble match months before, Michaels entered in at number one and Jericho was supposed to enter at number two. Instead, it was Christian who came out to Jericho’s music and that allowed Jericho to come in from under the ring and eventually throw Michaels out of the Rumble match.
Christian shared that-that was Jericho’s idea and as a performer, he likes when there is a chance to swerve a crowd.
“I think that might’ve been Chris’ idea honestly. He was going into a feud at that time with Shawn Michaels and it was kind of a good little swerve. Kind of start it off hot, and it made sense since we were kind of these smarmy little characters that would do anything to get a little bit of an advantage so, it just made sense and it was good for both of us. You know, for crowd reactions and like you said, it was a good surprise. Any time you can surprise a crowd and get a little reaction that way, you’ve done your job.”
Christian is a part of the WWE Backstage crew on FS1. Renee Young, CM Punk, Booker T, Paige, Ember Moon along with “Captain Charisma” are regulars on the show. Christian stated that he loves being a part of the show and enjoys getting to chat wrestling with those who love the sport like he does. One particular member of the cast who Christian meshes well with is Booker T. The two former WWE Intercontinental Champions speak highly of one another and that continued during this interview. He said he and Booker have always been good friends and maintained a good relationship throughout the years.
“We’re good friends. We wrestled a lot together over the years. When he came to WWE, we were kind of paired together at a lot of live events. Like even non-televised events for probably a year or maybe even more. We’d basically wrestle each other every night, and we came to have this chemistry on and off-screen type thing and just became good friends. We just have this kind of thing where we just try to poke the other one, see if we can get the other one to laugh, but we have a good rapport and good chemistry and a good relationship for sure.”
In 2005, Christian’s contract with WWE expired and instead of re-signing with the company, he made the decision to leave and he joined TNA where he would go on to become a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Christian said there were multiple factors that led to him leaving WWE such as the schedule, alleviating some pain off of his body from the years he tagged onto it with WWE and most importantly, it was about betting on himself and proving that he could be a headline performer and be on top of a company as the world champion. The goal was to always return to WWE but Christian wanted to prove to himself that he could be the guy.
“I think in life you gotta bet on yourself. There was a lot of factors with WWE. My contract was coming up and my body was kinda worn down from being on the road as long as it was and I needed to give my body a break from that schedule. Growing up there, I was really young, so I needed to find myself, who I was as a person, so it gave me an opportunity to do that and at the time, TNA was running out of Orlando, so it was a drive for me. I didn’t have to get on a plane. So that was a benefit of that, but yeah, the goal was to leave and to come back and to bet on myself and to prove to myself more than anything that even if it was on a smaller scale, I could carry a show. I could main-event matches, I could be the guy that was counted on as the face of the show, and that was very much the goal and the goal was to bet on myself, go away for a little while and come back and be better than I was before. Someone that could be trusted upon to be in bigger situations and I think I did that.”
While in TNA, Christian worked with the likes of Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and many more. He thinks it’s great to see those names have great careers and land in the WWE and find success as well. He specifically spoke about Samoa Joe for a portion of the following quote and said although Joe has been bitten by the injury bug for a great portion of his RAW/SmackDown run, Christian believes that Joe will be world champion one day. When it comes to AJ Styles, he thinks AJ is a top three performer of the current time.
“It’s cool. That was one of the fun things about going to TNA. It was a lot of untapped potential there at the time and you mention Samoa Joe who obviously is a unique talent. He’s got all the tools and he’s some unfortunate luck the last little while and I wouldn’t be surprised at some point for him to see him with a world title around his waist and I hope it does happen for him, and also, you see a guy like AJ Styles who, when I went there and we were paired together for a long time and I really saw the potential in him when we were put together, and to see how far he’s come and where he’s at and become this, probably top three in my opinion, in-ring talents at this point in time, and a guy they can put out in any situation and know that he’s gonna deliver.”
Over the past week, WWE furloughed and/or released nearly a hundred employees or more. The list of wrestlers who were released that competed on RAW and SmackDown were made public. There were also a number of producers, creative team writers, referees, digital content producers and NXT talent who took to social media to confirm that they departed from the company.
Christian thinks this is an opportunity for all the talents to move forward with their respective careers and take control of their futures. He specifically spoke about Zack Ryder and thinks Ryder is going to do just fine in his post-WWE endeavors.
“It’s unfortunate. The uncertainty of everything going on right now, its affected everybody in some way, and obviously it’s hard to see people I know, especially when they’re friends lose their jobs but also, everybody that happened to are talented and were there for a reason and I think that situations like this, it can be motivating and I know Zack Ryder very well. I know he’s a really motivated individual, and yeah, he kind of has his finger on the pulse of what’s kind of relevant. We saw it before with YouTube show and stuff like that before anybody was really doing that. So he’s already on to the next thing. He’s gonna be fine. As a performer and as a person, use this fuel to better yourself and to move on. There’s no choice but to move on and to keep moving forward. That’s all you can do. It’s a tough situation but just hope you come out of this on the other side and everybody ends up being alright.”
One topic that is constantly surrounding Christian’s name is that many fans want him to be inducted into WWE’s Hall Of Fame. It has yet to happen and there was some lobbying for Christian to be a part of the 2020 class but he was not included. When asked about the support he’s received on this specific front, Christian stated that he sees all the support and appreciates everyone who wants to see him go in.
Nonetheless, he stated that it’s not something that he constantly thinks about and added that this year or next year or the year following won’t be the last WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony so there’s time for him to be inducted.
“It’s not something that I think about on a daily basis. Obviously, like you said, if I had a dime for every time somebody came up to me and said I should be in the Hall Of Fame it would be great. But yeah, I don’t think about it. It is what it is and I feel like the things that I’ve done, I’m content with what I’ve accomplished and it’s like, everybody gets offended and I appreciate — I really do appreciate the people who wanna see me in there but it’s not like this is gonna be the last year, or next year’s gonna be the last year or the year after that is gonna be the last year. So honestly I don’t think about it at all. It doesn’t bother me. But I do appreciate the people who wanna see me in there.”
WWE Hall Of Famer Edge made his return to in-ring competition at the 2020 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. In Edge’s ‘WWE 24’ special on the WWE Network, it was revealed that at the 2019 SummerSlam event, Edge’s spear on Elias was not planned and Elias was just aware enough to realize what was about to happen. It was also around that time that Edge started the process of getting cleared and within that, he and Christian put their E&C Pod Of Awesomeness on hiatus. Christian said Edge beginning that process of getting cleared was one of the reasons why the podcast ended but another factor was that Beth Phoenix was doing more commentary with the NXT brand which led to Edge taking on more fatherly duties and spending more time with he and Beth’s children. Although there has not been a new podcast episode in eight months, Christian said he and Edge do have a few things in the pipeline.
“That was part of it. The other part of it was that Beth was doing commentary with NXT. She was traveling quite a bit more and as weird as it sounds, to kind of put aside… sometimes it’d be an hour, sometimes it’d be two hours, sometimes it’d be two-and-a-half hours but as weird as it sounds, sometimes on a week it’s hard, especially when you have kids, it’s hard to set that aside when you — like I said, when Beth was traveling and it made it hard for him when he was kind of doing the solo dive thing, it made it hard for him to dedicate that time and also that he was now training and I knew that. But, we had a lot of fun doing it and it was hard to step away from it but we’ll see. We got a couple of things going on in the pipeline here so we’ll see what happens when everything kind of clears up.”
With Edge’s return to in-ring competition, that sparked the conversation of Christian possibly returning to in-ring competition. During his appearance on Booker T’s ‘Hall Of Fame’ podcast, Christian was asked does Edge’s return make him want to return. The former 4-time WWE Intercontinental Champion reiterated that he’s proud of his accolades and as far as the injuries that took him away from wrestling, he isn’t sure how he’d even go about being cleared. Nonetheless, Christian does have a few teams that come to mind if he and Edge were to ever step into the ring as a tag team again.
“I think we were one of those teams who could kind of adapt to any style so I think that you think about any of the teams that are big right now. You could talk dream matches. We’re both good friends with The Revival so you think about that or I know a lot of people would like to see Edge and Christian against The Young Bucks or they would’ve loved to see — but for me, if we’re talking WWE, you gotta say The Usos. We never got a chance to wrestle The Usos which would’ve been amazing. Edge and Christian versus The New Day, if you think about the backstage or the promo segments. So you think about that. It’s really cool to see a little resurgence in the tag team division too because obviously that holds a special place in our hearts for kinda putting us on the map. So, off the top of my head, those would probably be the two that stand out — The Usos and The New Day. I think we could do some really cool stuff with those guys.”
In early 2009, Jeff Hardy was the current WWE Champion heading into the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Hardy defended the title against Edge at the event. After that event, there were rumors that Christian was supposed to be the one to attack Jeff Hardy and cost him the WWE Title. It turned out to be Matt Hardy who cost Jeff the title and they went on to have a match at WrestleMania 25. Christian said that he has heard that there were discussions that he was supposed to cost Jeff the title but is not 100 percent sure that he was supposed to be the attacker.
“I don’t know if it was officially supposed to be me. I know that it was probably floated out there. It was in discussions but I don’t know if it ever got to the point where it was actually supposed to be me, but from what I understand, it was kind of out there but never, ‘Yes, this is what it’s going to be.’ I do know that.”
While he was still under contract with TNA, Christian had the opportunity to compete at a Wrestle Kingdom event in 2008. The first match on the card saw Christian team with AJ Styles and Petey Williams to face Milano Collection A.T., Minoru Tanaka and Finn Balor, formerly known as Prince Devitt. Early on in he and Edge’s respective careers, they had the opportunity to wrestle in Japan and had the chance to return multiple times throughout their careers in WWE. Christian says getting to compete at a Wrestle Kingdom was special and he’s glad he got the opportunity to do it. He added that even then, he could see the potential in Finn Balor who was just two years into his run in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
“It was fun. I really am glad I had a chance to do it. The benefit of the wrestling promotions over there, of the culture. I love going to Japan, I love visiting there, I love performing there. So, before I went to WWE, I had the chance to wrestle for — Edge and I both, for a small promotion over there and wrestling at Korakuen Hall at that time was the biggest venue that I wrestled in and that was pretty exciting too. For me to experience that and to be able to go back years later and to wrestle many times for WWE was also very cool. But getting a chance to wrestle for the biggest promotion over there in New Japan was really exciting to me and when I got over there, after wrestling on multiple WrestleManias, that’s the closest thing that I’ve ever been on that was the size of a WrestleMania, and I would say there was probably 40 or 50,000 people in the stadium for that show so it felt like a really big deal. It was fun man. I had a great experience and talking about Finn Balor who at the time was Prince Devitt. Getting in there with him when he was young and kind of starting out, it was kinda almost, ‘Yeah, this kid’s gonna be something.’ You could see it at that point, so it was a lot fun.”
The Cagefighter: Worlds Collide film releases on May 16th on FITE TV and the video from this interview can be watched on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel or via the video below: