A former World Heavyweight Champion and an innovator of tag team wrestling, Christian has done it all in his almost two decades of competing in a WWE ring. Best known for his work alongside his buddy Edge, Christian broke out onto the scene during the late 90s and went on to redefine tag matches in his feuds against The Hardyz and The Dudleys. Not being confined to just one style, Christian evolved into a singles competitor, capturing several mid-card championships, as well as finally winning the big one in 2011.
Christian’s feuds are timeless, whether you’re watching the historic TLC matches from WrestleMania past or catching up on his title feuds with Randy Orton or Alberto Del Rio, you know you’re in for a fantastic performance from Captain Charisma.
In this list, we’re going to run down his best 5 matches from his various runs in WWE. We could go on forever about how phenomenal his tag team matches have been against the aforementioned teams, but we’re going to put the focus on his equally fantastic singles career. So get ready for a trip through time, as we remind ourselves how great it feels being a ‘peep’.
5. Christian vs Shelton Benjamin (TLC 2009)
The WWE’s version of the ECW was an absolute shambles. In a way, it was being used as WWE’s developmental brand, giving young talents such as: CM Punk, Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger their first exposure to the mainstream audience. Towards the end of it’s life, Christian was spearheading the brand as the ECW champion, claiming it upon returning from his hiatus in TNA. Christian was out to prove something during this run, not only to the backstage figures but also to the fans, that the ECW Championship could mean something more than a pathetic attempt to recreate the past.
Christian defended his title against all comers, most notably against the likes of William Regal, Mark Henry and Shelton Benjamin, the latter being someone that brought the best out of Christian during their ladder match at the 2009 edition of TLC.
Ladder matches were of course Christian’s forte, so putting him against an equally hungry competitor in Shelton Benjamin made for a truly exciting match. This was possibly the best it got for the ECW Championship. Christian and Shelton put themselves through hell in the show’s opener, which was just about able to bring the crowd back around to paying attention to ECW matches.
4. Christian vs Rob Van Dam (Raw 29/09/03)
Another ladder match, this time taking place on an episode of Raw for the Intercontinental Championship. Christian held onto the IC title for most part of 2003, being the first champion after its reinstatement just after WrestleMania. Just after Christian finally ended the feud with Booker T, he was met with an eager RVD, who was riding a wave of momentum as the king of the mid-card. RVD challenged Christian to a ladder match on Monday Night Raw, in an effort to finally be crowned champion.
What ensued was a fantastic example of a mid-card title match. Seeing two guys with excellent chemistry leave it all in the ring is what defines the Intercontinental Championship. Looking back on your classics (Steamboat/Savage, Michaels/Ramoan, Mysterio/Jericho), they all share that same theme. This match should be talked about more than it is, it’s a hidden gem that proved that both RVD and Christian deserved to be rocked-strapped into the main event picture a lot sooner than they were.
Check this one out if you’re up for some cringey ladder spots and some Ruthless Aggression era nostalgia.
3. Christian vs Randy Orton (Summerslam 2011)
The feud between The Viper and Captain Charisma unfolded over the summer of 2011, and it turned out to be a lot better than anyone expected it to be. Orton stole the World Heavyweight Championship from Christian only a few days after he won it from Alberto Del Rio, which immediately put Christian on the course for a heel turn. Orton played the role of a valiant champion perfectly, who accepted the rematch and the challenger’s persistence for ‘one more match’.
The two eventually met at Summerslam in a No Holds Barred title match, after Christian exploited the DQ equals title loss rule at Money in the Bank. The two performed saved their best for last, as they battled using a variety of weapons in ways that made us cringe, even in the heat of the PG era. Christian proved throughout the entire feud that he still had what it takes to wrestle at the top of the card, and this brutal match was the cherry on top.
2. Christian vs Alberto Del Rio (Extreme Rules 2011)
Of course one of Christian’s best performances was at Extreme Rules 2011, where he defeated Alberto Del Rio in an intense ladder match to win his very first World Heavyweight Championship. Following Edge’s emotional farewell, the title was vacated and hung high above the ring for the former champ’s best bud to claim in his place. It almost seemed a little cheap for WWE to finally give Christian the big rub, just because Edge had to hang up the boots. But despite those assumptions, it’s still a really fun moment to relive.
The match itself was a lot of fun. Seeing Christian overcome the numbers game to finally hoist himself up the steel ladder and bring down the title was a story told to perfection. Maybe it’s something about ladders that puts Christian in this zone that allows him to perform at his peak.
Credit to Del Rio in this match too, he made Christian look spectacular. In the matter of a single night, Christian became a worthy World Heavyweight Champion and finally broke out of that mould of being Edge’s partner.
1. Christian vs Chris Jericho (WrestleMania 20)
In my opinion, one of the most underrated matches from WrestleMania history. Christian and Chris Jericho entered WrestleMania 20 amidst a love triangle involving Trish Stratus. Christian played the creepy jilted lover against Y2J’s righteous heartthrob. On paper, the narrative behind this match is far beneath both of these guys, but it was able to get both guys over enough to have one of the most exciting matches on the card.
Jericho and Christian had the crowd in the palms of their hands, as they expertly executed false finishes and some fantastic grappling. The swerve finish only went to rile the invested fans further, which made Christian all that more hateable.
This match went a long way in re-establishing Christian as a top mid-carder and singles star. It also gave him his first and only WrestleMania singles victory, and what a win to have to your name.
Did we miss any of your personal favourites? Let us know in the comments section below?
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