Being named one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time is glowing praise from a WWE legend like Kurt Angle, but Christian Cage has earned every bit of that praise. As a stalwart of the tag team division all the way up to world championship victory in 2021, he has had the talent and longevity that no one else in the business can come close to.
However, Christian was forced to retire for seven years in 2014, during the prime of his career and just before a huge championship match which could have been one of the highlights of his career. Why did Christian retire and how did he come back to be one of the biggest stars in AEW.
Why Did Christian Cage Retire?
Christian was forced to retire due to a concussion suffered on the March 24 episode of Raw. He faced off in a fatal-4 way match against Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, with the winner earning themselves a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E the following week.
Christian won the match by pinning Dolph Ziggler, following a Killswitch, and shook hands with Big E after the match. He may have become the number one contender, but that would be the last singles match he would ever wrestle in the WWE. WWE announced Christian as being absent the next week due to injury and kept very quiet over the years about his absence. His match with Big E would never take place.
During the match, Christian had Dolph Ziggler down for the pin after a powerbomb, before Alberto Del Rio came up from behind and kicked him in the back of the head. In a rare mistake from the former WWE Champion, he didn’t pull his kick early enough and hit the Canadian star full force in his skull. He suffered a huge concussion that WWE never mentioned and would eventually lead him to retire from wrestling for seven years.
Later that year, Jerry Lawler would name Christian Cage as “retired” while on commetnary, although there was no official confirmation from the WWE. Backstage reports did indicate that WWE considered his retired but would not come out and say it, as they would with any other WWE superstar.
It was not until Cage himself confirmed the rumours that his retirement became official. He confirmed his status on the September 22, 2017 edition of E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness, saying: “I had to retire, like, right around 40… ’cause of the concussion stuff”.
He would eventually return to action again. Christian made his return to wrestling in 2021, as a surprise entrant in the 2021 Royal Rumble match. He embraced former tag team partner Edge in the ring, as both men had recently overcome injuries to restart their wrestling careers after years out.
However, WWE would not bring him back for another run, so he signed for their fierce rivals AEW instead. Debuting as a specially announce signing at AEW Revolution 2021, he announced his intention to “Outwork Everyone”. He soon aligned himself with Jurassic Express and began to feud with Kenny Omega.
On the first ever AEW Rampage, Christian defeated Kenny Omega to become the Impact World Champion. He would later lose to Omega at AEW All Out 2021, failing in his bid to become the AEW Champion but proving that despite his retirement years ago, he was still a force to be reckoned with inside a wrestling ring.
He has most recently been embroiled in a feud with Jungle Boy on AEW TV, but an arm injury has kept him out the ring for a number of months and limited what he can do with the company. However, this injury has not forced Christian to retire again so he will no doubt return to the ring and try to reach his goal of becoming World Champion one more time before his inevitable retirement and WWE Hall of Fame induction.