Fans rejoiced when Christian made a huge return to the WWE in 2021. He appeared as a surprise entrant in the 2021 Royal Rumble, marking his first match in the WWE in 7 years.
The former World Heavyweight Champion was an upper-mid card wrestler in 2014 and was about the challenge for the Intercontinental Championship prior to Wrestlemania 30. However, disaster struck and he suffered a concussion from a kick by Alberto Del Rio which eventually forced him to retire from wrestling for good.
He entered the Royal Rumble match at number 24 and put on an impressive display, lasting 18 minutes. Christian reunited with long-time tag team partner Edge during the match. It was an emotional moment for both men, who had come back from injuries that forced them to retire within the past year.
Many fans thought this was leading to a second debut and a full-time run in the WWE, just as Edge had done the year prior. Sadly, Vince McMahon had no desire to sign him to a new deal and let Christian go. This set him up for a huge debut in AEW under his old name of Christian Cage.
Christian Cage Debuted At AEW Revolution
Christian Cage made his AEW debut during a segment at AEW Revolution 2021. For weeks, a “Hall of Fame” level signing had been teased by the company. Speculation was rife about who it could be. Rumours of CM Punk were just starting to swirl and fans held their breath hoping that he’d finally return to wrestling after seven years.
Slightly anticlimactically, Christian Cage was revealed as the new signing. With the speculation about CM Punk’s return, the fans were slightly deflated. Christian Cage was a legend and a top wrestler in his day, but he wasn’t quite Punk.
Despite this, he was still a huge get, even if the fans did not know it. He had won World titles everywhere he had gone, being a former World Heavyweight, ECW, TNA and NWA world champion. He had wrestled throughout multiple eras in wrestling and was a key part of the Attitude Era, alongside his partner Edge. His AEW debut may have been anticlimactic but he would soon prove that he was exactly what AEW needed.
Christian Cage’s First Match In AEW
Christian Cage wrestled his first match in AEW on the March 31 episode of Dynamite, It was his first singles match in 7 years and fans were trepidations as to how he would perform. He was pushing 50 and hadn’t seen in a ring in nearly a decade, so would likely be full of ring rust, if he could even move like he used to.
Whilst it wasn’t a classic Christian Cage debut, his first match in AEW simply showed that he was back. Cage battled against one of his old nemesis’ from TNA, former AEW tag team champion Frankie Kazarian in his first bout in the company. Kazarian is known as a very safe and reliable worker, so was the obvious choice to help ease Christian back into in-ring work.
The match was a good first match back for Christian Cage. He hit all his classic spots and took a heap of punishment from Kazarian. The Elite Hunter battled well but was no match for the former World Heavyweight Champion. Cage nailed him with a Killswitch to win the match and kick off his AEW career with a victory.
Cage would soon join forces with Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, as well as feud with Kenny Omega. He faced Omega unsuccessfully at All Out 2021 in a battle for the AEW Championship, although he did get one over Omega prior to that.
Kenny Omega lost the Impact World Championship to Christian Cage on the debut episode of AEW Rampage. After The Elite threw a chair into the ring to try and help the AEW Champion cheat to victory, Cage outsmarted them by hitting a Killswitch onto the chair, pinning Omega for the victory and winning his first championship in 9 years.