WWE

Onward, Christian soldier: WWE champ headed to B-N

2012-06-21T08:00:00Z 2012-06-21T09:01:52Z Onward, Christian soldier: WWE champ headed to B-NBy Dan Craft dcraft@panmtagraph.com pantagraph.com

If Bloomington was ancient Rome and the U.S. Cellular Coliseum was that OTHER Coliseum, they’d be feeding the lions to Christian this weekend, with no table scraps.

Despite a marquee name that suggests tender mercies and the turning of other cheeks, Christian would only be turning necks.

Clear ’round … wrung clean.

As for the kings of the jungle … have a rec room wall in need of some mounted kings’ heads?

Born William Jason Reso 38 years ago, Christian isn’t the WWE’s reigning Intercontinental Champ for nothing — and certainly not for being a pussycat to bigger pussycats.

In short, there’s no turning of other cheeks for this Christian.

But extreme head-banging?

Now we’re talking the kind of doing-unto-others that we love and expect from our WWE Smackdowns.

That includes the one pummeling its way into the Coliseum at 5 p.m. Sunday, along with Christian’s fellow head-banging brethren, like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane.

Chief among them: the man who would be intercontinental king, Cody Rhodes, who’ll challenge Christian’s reign in one of the Smackdown’s most anticipated face-offs.

As Christian reminds us, the regal titles he wears at the moment are merely the latest in a long line over an 18-year career —22 total titles, including six times as world champ (among the latter, two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champ and two-time ECW Champ).

Still, he agrees, “It’s kind of cool to be Intercontinental Champion,” even at the relatively mature age he’s reached in a career approaching two decades. “It means a great deal.”

In a reflective, non-combative mode, Christian flashes back to his days as young Billy Reso, growing up in Orangeville, Ontario.

A long way from the 6-foot-1 stature he would one day attain, Billy harbored dreams of pro wrestling glory in the way a dreaming kid might do it: “I used to make my own title belts out of cardboard and attach them to the back of my weightlifting belt, then hold it up in the mirror and practice my posing.”

The net result of that dreaming speaks for itself.

“My thought was that if you believe you’re a champion and work hard at it, you’ll finally get to that point.”

There was, however, a moment when it looked like that native Canadian sport of hockey might trump the implications of the adorned weightlifting belt.

“I loved playing hockey growing up as a kid, but the first time I stepped into a ring, it seemed natural to me, like home,” he says, adding no such reverberations were transmitted while facing down a puck on ice.

“The first day of training, I was a kid thrown into the ring, and the minute I hit the ropes and the mat, it felt comfortable.”

Or at least as comfortable as hitting ropes and mats with brute force can be.

It didn’t hurt that he had a best friend in high school, name of Adam Copeland. Like Billy Reso, Copeland felt the need to be a lord of the ring.

The mutual admiration society led them onto the Canadian independent circuit as a tag team variously known as High Impact and The Suicide Blondes.

In 1998, Copeland was signed by the World Wrestling Federation; Reso followed on his heels. The best friends found themselves pitted in a tryout match which the former was booked to win.

The end result: Copeland signed with the WWF, with Reso — championed by his best friend — following suit.

They were now fully formed pro wrestling entities, with Copeland adopting the name of Edge and Reso starting out as Christian Cage (an amalgam of actors Christian Slater and Nicolas Cage), then downsizing to just Christian.

The rest is tag-team history, with Edge and Christian adopting assorted ring personalities as they racked up multiple tag team championships before heading their separate ways.

Over the course of their boyhood-to-manhood run, “we kind of helped each other and pushed each toward the same goals,” he recalls. “We made each other better because we were on the same wavelength.”

And, just at the point of burnout, “we decided when the time was right for us to go our separate ways.”

Alas for Edge, that way led to a serious neck injury a year ago that forced Christian’s best friend from way back into early retirement.

“Yeah, I was the first person he called after he got the news (about the injury). It was one of those things where I had to listen and be there for him,” Christian recalls. “I could tell he was upset about it once it sunk in. I told him that if was writing the end to his story, this was the perfect way to finish it off, just winning the WrestleMania (XXVII) world championship, the biggest show of the year. You can’t write a better ending than that.”

As for his own final chapter?

Despite a serious, sidelining ankle injury of his own in the past year, Christian is still ready to chow down on any lion who would be king.

“Having a long career with real lasting power has always been a goal,” he says. “So as long as I’m physically able to do what I do, I’ll keep doing it.”

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At a glance

What: WWE Smackdown World Tour

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: U.S. Cellular Coliseum, 101 S. Madison St., Bloomington

Tickets: $15 to $95

Box office: 800-745-3000

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In the cards

Sunday’s matches at the WWE Smackdown Tour coming to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum include:

- World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

- Intercontinental Championship Match: Christian vs. Cody Rhodes

- Triple Threat Match for WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

- Also scheduled: Teddy Long, Sin Cara, Hunico & Camacho, Ryback, Antonio Cesaro, The Divas and others

Copyright 2015 pantagraph.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. Jack Dude
    Report Abuse
    Jack Dude - June 22, 2012 6:51 pm
    I DON'T KNOW BROTHER I HAVE RED AND YELLOW AROUND MY NECK AND 24 INCH PYTHONS.
  2. Jack Dude
    Report Abuse
    Jack Dude - June 22, 2012 6:49 pm
    I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE YAPPIN ABOUT THAT CHRISTIAN DUDE IS COOL IN MY BOOK, HE MAY BE A VANILLA MIDGET BUT HE'S BETTER THEN THAT REDNECK CODY PHONES. MAYBE A LITTLE MORE RED AND YELLOW WOULD MAKE HIM STAND OUT. THAT SHEAMUS GUY THOUGH HE'S GOT THE RED AND WHITE BUT WHERE'S THE BLUE? STILL ONE OF THE BEST AROUND. YOU KNOW I SHOULD WORK FOR WWE MAYBE MY FRIEND ERIC CAN CALL THEM AND PUT IN A GOOD WORD FOR ME.
  3. inmyhonestopinion
    Report Abuse
    inmyhonestopinion - June 22, 2012 12:00 pm
    Yes, it is scripted and choreographed. However, if the wrestlers do not do what is anticipated or land wrong in the completion of a move, serious injury or death can potentially result. If these potential results didn't exist, there would be neither a need for mats on the floor around the ring nor a need for the ring to be on springs (like a trampoline) so it gives when the wrestlers land. If you doubt me, feel free to contact me so I can body slam you and you can tell me if the pain you feel is real or not.
  4. betterthenyou
    Report Abuse
    betterthenyou - June 21, 2012 9:32 pm
    that pic makes me feel funny in my pants
  5. luvamaninuniform
    Report Abuse
    luvamaninuniform - June 21, 2012 9:16 pm
    Ya'll know you can get the same action at Spurt n Bit bar any night of the week!
  6. Harry50
    Report Abuse
    Harry50 - June 21, 2012 3:06 pm
    Hary50

    You do realize that parents will take their kids? Plus, you don't have to be a redneck to enjoy this entertainment!!!! And more women than guys will show up just to see those sweaty bodies. So what if it's fake, it's more fun than Blaze hocley or Edge football. Besides, I'd rather be there than watching the Mets/Yankees for Sunday night baseball..
  7. Snert
    Report Abuse
    Snert - June 21, 2012 1:31 pm
    You do realize this us all fake, yes? Think you'll find enough rednecks in B/N to fill The Big Judy?
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