The Reality of Wrestling: Christian Cage & the NWA Title
By Phil Clark & J.D. Speich
At their last pay-per-view, Genesis, TNA introduced their latest “acquisition.” To absolutely nobody’s surprise it was Jay Reso, known to the wrestling fans as Christian. Of course, since the E trademarked the Christian name, Reso now has to use the name he used on the Indy circuit during the early and mid 1990’s; that name is Christian Cage. Luckily for him, he was able to keep the “Captain Charisma” nickname and took that with him to TNA. He came out and gave a little speech bashing the E’s direction and, in a way, their creative approach making a reference to the now infamous J.R. segment a few weeks back. Christian’s intro to the Orlando crowd was fantastically done completed with a double turn during the post-main event brawl as he was solidified as a face chasing Jeff Jarrett for the NWA title. Now TNA has an interesting heavyweight division with Jarrett holding the belt, Monty Brown with a guaranteed shot, Abyss always in the mix, Samoa Joe gaining momentum and whispers of a future World Title reign, an over with the crowd Rhino, and now another WWE defector in Christian Cage.
P.C. Says: Christian Cage should not get the NWA Title right away
Why give it away right away? That should be the question that people (including my partner in this column) should ask themselves in terms of Cage’s run towards the NWA title. Why put the belt on him right away? Because he’s a former WWE wrestler? Well, they tried having Hardy be a legitimate contender and it failed miserably. With Rhino, they put him in hardcore matches and tag matches for the summer before giving him a title shot in September and then stuck to that formula before giving him his quickie title reign. The same kind of formula could work extremely well with Cage. First off, Cage is a great tag-team wrestler; not only that, but TNA is a federation that does try to showcase its tag-team division. So, to put two and two together, have Christian begin teaming with Rhino or someone as the “crazy mixed up tag partners who hate Jarrett.” If you want to build Cage’s record, have him start running through Team Canada in the undercard since the only member of Team Canada that really matters is named Petey. All I’m saying is that some kind of set-up feud before putting Cage in a position to win the belt would help and would build an anticipation for a Cage title match much bigger than just giving it away in January.
Monty Brown provides another factor in Cage’s rise. Monty Brown just won a shot at the world title at the Genesis show. Now, while TNA has no problem with forgetting title shots in storylines (they almost did that with Abyss in April), this is one that they should honor to the max. I’m in favor of Monty Brown winning the world title as soon as possible. I’m in favor of it not because he’s a great wrestler (he’s far from it), but because he’s what the fans want to see. Monty has gotten more over with the Orlando crowd than he was when he lost to Jarrett in January. To express the importance of that statement, Brown was on a Goldberg-like run going into the Jarrett match in January, and had the heat to match.
Booking Cage and Brown in a match at Turning Point is a no-win situation for TNA. Either way, this ends badly. The first option would be to have Cage win and go on to a world title feud with Jarrett. While this is what the fans will want to see, they will more than likely wan to see it just as much further down the line, especially if they book Cage smartly. The other option would be to book Brown to get the win and look strong going into Final Resolution where he’ll likely get his shot at Jarrett. While fans will cheer Monty for getting another win, booking Cage to lose in his first PPV match in the promotion could almost mean death to his standing as a singles wrestler in the promotion. He loses in his first PPV match with TNA, a match many including myself would deem as a big match, and the “choker” label might come about. The third, and most unpleasing option would be to have a no-finish (Double-DQ or Double-Count out) or a “sports-entertainment” finish. This finish would be bad in the sense that people would want to see who wins this match and nobody likes the old Double-DQ or Double-Count out. It’s a cheap finish and is usually a cop out by bookers when they’re in the corner. That sounds strangely familiar.
I’m guessing this one ends with Team Canada coming out and costing Monty the match by beating Cage to a pulp. This would probably be the smartest way for TNA to go because it protects both Brown and Cage; neither have to job, Brown can keep his title shot and look strong going in, and Cage didn’t blow it in his first PPV match with TNA. Also, it means that Cage can move into a feud against a stable that always is helpful for someone trying to build a reputation as a title contender. Fine examples of that include the Austin Vs. Hart Foundation feud from 1997, and the Horsemen Vs. Sting feud from 1988-1990. I’m not saying that a feud with Team Canada with turn Christian Cage into a superstar overnight, but it’ll at least be a good set up for Cage move into the World Title chase.
J.D. Says: Why not give Christian the title right away?
Christian Cage has definitely been, by far, the biggest acquisition by TNA in its three years as a wrestling company. Picking up Jay Reso was an obvious move that TNA was going to do because he is the type of guy that TNA aspires for in most cases: a true wrestler. Coming off of not renegotiating his contract, Christian was the biggest free agent on the market. Lets face it; Christian is a really good wrestler and is great on the mic. As soon as he came out at the Genesis pay-per-view, the crowd was deafening for the guy. When he came out, he was more than John Cena or Batista could ever be.
This leads me to my point: Christian deserves to get the belt right away. At the Turning Point pay-per-view I believe that Christian will beat Monty Brown in a twelve minute long match. Christian will win with, not the Unprettier, but will get a schoolboy on Monty for the three and walk out of the ring in his cocky, sly manner leaving Monty with his mouth wide open, in disbelief. From there, we move to Final Resolution where Christian will challenge for the title against Jeff Jarrett, The King of Ass Kissing. Even with the interference of AMW I still feel that Christian will come out on top and get the title that he left WWE to get. However, if it happens that Christian, for some stupid reason, doesn’t win the title against Jarrett at Final Resolution, he will have the title within the next three months. Hopefully from there, Christian holds the title for more than two months, as oppose to the last three faces to hold the title. If all goes well we will see Captain Charisma as the new NWA champion of TNA.
After Christian wins the title I would like to see him feud with Abyss, or as a toss up, have him feud with the most Austin-like character in the business today, Samoa Joe. This could be a great feud in the making. TNA take note, I have great ideas. If not with Samoa Joe, have Christian feud with a just turned heel AJ Styles; it could happen. Having AJ turn heel within the next three months could be something that nobody sees coming seeing as AJ’s so over as a face right now. AJ could turn heel by being placed in a tag team match with Christian against Jarrett and Joe leading up to the Christian/Joe match at the coming up pay-per-view. AJ could turn heel by turning on Christian during the match and during the Christian/Joe match he could interfere but fail when Christian still prevails. This will set up AJ vs. Christian at the next pay-per-view, I’m pretty sure that can beat anything the WWE will be putting out at that time.
The Reality is…Orlando is still Planet Jarrett. The worst-case scenario has Jarrett having a title reign resembling his 11-month title reign that ended last May. However, many factors play into how long Jarrett’s reign will end up being. If Jerry Jarrett ends up heading to Titan as rumors say he very well could, than Jarrett stands no chance of having another yearlong title reign. Not only that, but Monty Brown’s increasing crowd heat (“One more time! One More Time!”) may override the wishes of Dixie Carter’s favorite wrestler and The Alpha Male may end up winning the title shortly. They may also pull a Randy Orton and hotshot the title onto Captain Charisma as an attempt to pull more WWE fans away from the E and into the TNA business. Right now, it’s all a mystery, and that fact alone has made the NWA heavyweight division more interesting than it has been since the Jarrett/Raven/Styles feud in the summer of 2003.