Brian Cage, wait, no.
Hangman Page, wait, hang on.
Ethan Page, wait, nearly there.
Christian Cage, there we go.
Yes, Christian Cage arrived with a bang on the March 31st, 2021, episode of AEW Dynamite in an excellent debut bout with fellow ring veteran, Frankie Kazarian. Cage’s first singles match after a fairly lengthy retirement was a resounding success, but it leads to the question of where AEW should take the lovable Christian from here. Before we answer that question, however, let’s get the basics down.
Christian Cage’s return wasn’t particularly a straightforward affair, but rather a twisting tale over the course of many months. It wasn’t actually in AEW as it goes, or even the Royal Rumble where he was a surprise entrant. The return happened in unusual fashion on the June 15th, 2020, episode of Monday Night Raw in an unsanctioned match against Randy Orton. Well, it was sort of a match. It only lasted a minute or so as Ric Flair turned on Christian, hitting a low-blow before Orton punted him for the pinfall. It was all rather disappointing. Rather than a nostalgia flashback to 2011, we were just reminded we were watching Raw in 2020 which is never a good thing.
Christian became a mere cog in the Edge vs Randy Orton feud that felt like it continued for a millenia, before making a more meaningful and significant return at Royal Rumble, 2021. He disappeared from WWE for a while as the rumour mill started spinning, questioning whether he’d re-signed with WWE or rather if the Rumble was a one-and-done. Not too long after, Christian Cage himself appeared at AEW Revolution, 2021, as a massive surprise to just about everyone. It would’ve been shocking enough if the return happened in AEW anyway, but the fact that he was on WWE pay-per-view only a couple of months prior made the arrival even more startling.
Debuting In AEW
Now ‘All-Elite’, Cage had his debut match against Frankie Kazarian on AEW Dynamite. The two told a sublime story showing everything from Christian’s potential ring-rust, to doubting his ability due to his age and time away, as well as Cage’s eventual win against the odds. It pretty much told viewers everything they needed to know about where Christian was and they did it all in-ring without saying a word. They say it’s all about the ‘little things’ when it comes to pro rasslin’ and this match was proof of it.
While it was slow in places, they made it into part of the story rather than it seeming like a limitation -especially when pitted against the usually high-octane pace of AEW. Not that anybody thought that a nearly fifty-year-old man would be doing Tope Suicidas or standing Moonsaults, of course, but they did pull off a few big moves and bumps that can’t have been nice for Cage to take. A great debut match, but you’ve got to ask:
To say this past Wednesday was emotional would be an understatement. I never thought I would get the one thing that I’ve loved since I was a kid back. I was born to be a wrestler. I just know it. I always have known it.- pic.twitter.com/Q5TPnDiA1r— Christian Cage(d) Bird (fake) (@CaptainCBirdman) April 2, 2021
Where Does Christian Cage Go From Here?
As should hopefully be the case for all renowned industry names that come to AEW, Christian should have a short run around the main event scene before heading back down the card to give younger talent a welcome boost. It’s what happened with Matt Hardy, SCU did it early on for the tag division, and Chris Jericho pretty much established the fledgling upper-card. So, let’s say we build to an eventual match with AEW Champion Kenny Omega down the line -assuming his reign lasts past the next pay-per-view.
The story was told in Cage’s debut that he’s a doubt as to whether he can compete at this level, even if he did bravely eke out a slim victory. So if we have a few months of courageous bouts where Christian manages to come out on top from sheer willpower alone, that could set up a great title match: a cocky Omega versus an underdog fan-favourite. Christian in no way needs to win this match, but it’d be a great way to establish him in the eyes of the AEW faithful before he slows down and goes to help the younger roster members.
Along the way to the title shot he could build compelling stories with the likes of Eddie Kingston and Dustin Rhodes, competitors which could work to Cage’s strengths as has already been proved with Frankie Kazarian. You could even have some crossover with Impact to tell some of Cage’s story from there. This run could showcase the very best of Christian, something that he was unfortunately not awarded before his first retirement. You can just imagine the pop from the live crowd as Christian heroically and surprisingly kicks out late into a barn-burner with Omega, it’d be magic.