Ryan's Reaction - WWE Smackdown: A look back on Christian's brief World Heavyweight Championship reign
By Ryan Kester
The internet has been in an uproar all week since the news broke that Randy Orton went over Christian or the World Heavyweight Championship at Tuesday's tapings in Orlando, Florida. Many fans of Christian lost their minds, and some even went so far as to send Randy Orton death threats. I'll admit, even I was sighing to myself. In my mind, the WWE had fallen back in line with its old way of doing things, having the top two championships held by some of their stalest characters in John Cena and Randy Orton.
Then I watched WWE Smackdown.
The show kicked off with an excellent video package recapping Edge's retirement and his longtime friendship with Christian. Christian came to the ring and within the opening moments of his celebratory promo, he held up the World Heavyweight Championship above his head. That moment stood out to me greatly, as it served as a stark contrast to Edge's retirement speech, where he folded the championship up and left it lying in the center of the ring. Things had truly come full circle.
As the night progressed, the announcers, for all the complaints people throw at them on a weekly basis, did an excellent job of building to the main event. They told the history of Christian's hunt for the title well, and really hammered home how much the belt means to him. The emphasis they placed on this paid dividends for the emotional impact that the end of the show had.
Finally, the main event arrived and Randy Orton and Christian put on a show. The near falls were incredible, and both Orton and Christian displayed a great deal of emotion, particularly surprise and frustration, throughout the entire match. Something simply felt different. Randy Orton seemed to have stepped up his game considerably, and Christian let it all hang out.
It all led up to a magnificent ending with Randy Orton hitting the RKO out of mid-air in response to an attack from Christian. This served several purposes. One, it made the win look like a fluke, and preserved the heat and rub Christian got from being Edge's buddy during Edge's retirement. Two, it made Christian look like an equal to Orton, which is impressive considering how hard the WWE has worked to shove Orton down our throats over the past few years. Three, and this may seem superfluous, but it simply looked amazing. It was a spot we rarely see from Orton, and that just made this whole series of events seem that much more special.
Then we were left with Orton celebrating and the announcers working their tail feathers off putting the moment over. Orton was champion again, and Christian, for all the years of trying, had just let his one dream slip through his fingers. Christian also shone bright during these few moments, looking bewildered and distraught over losing the championship. The emotions he displayed as the show went off the air had me connecting with his character for the first time. I've always known he was talented, but I suppose he never truly got over with me until that very moment.
I was left wanting more, and I can't wait to get it on next week's Smackdown. I went into this show skeptical and upset that Christian was getting the shaft, but I think this was an absolutely brilliant move for Christian's career. We will likely see the scorned man turn heel out of all of this, and his once noble quest to capture the gold will turn into a burning obsession. I think this can only do him wonders because the rub he got from Edge, while powerful, wasn't sustainable. Now, if Christian goes on to fight for and chase down the World Heavyweight Championship, if he captures it again it will be because he earned it and not just because his buddy was forced to give the belt up. This is the fire that Christian's character has been lacking, and I can only see it doing wonders for his career from this point forward.
I think if last night can teach us anything, it's that we can sometimes get too wrapped up in ourselves. Everyone, myself included, was ready to condemn the WWE for this title change. Many threatened to quit watching WWE programming because of this angle, and if any did, they're sorely missing out on what will be a great angle. I hope the next time something like this occurs, we will have this moment in the back of our mind and be patient, wait to see what the WWE gives us, and go along for the ride.
Thanks for reading my Reaction to the end of Christian's title reign. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or criticisms, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit me up on Twitter at @Ryan_Kester. Have a great weekend.
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