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Learning to Live with Christian’s Heel Turn

Much like many of my Internet-fan brethren, I was pissed when Christian lost the World Heavyweight Championship, a scant two days after he won it in real time and about five days in terms of “official” time between Extreme Rules and the next episode of SmackDown.

I also didn’t really appreciate the impending Christian heel turn that was happening before our eyes until it all boiled over and culminated in the last two episodes of SmackDown. We wanted to cheer Christian! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Randy Orton is boring!

So, there I was, discussing this with Mitch from PizzaBodySlam on my podcast the other day, and he made a really, really good point. Ever since winning the Championship, who has been the focus of SmackDown? Christian. Around whom have the headlines revolved around? Christian. Who has gotten the chance to main event the last and next WWE pay-per-view events on the SmackDown side with Orton? Christian. SmackDown has become the Christian Show, and really, heel or face, title or no title, that’s the most important thing, right?

You see, Championships are great and they’re important. However, especially in today’s wrestling landscape, they’re not the most important thing on the docket. While many wrestling writers, including myself, have bemoaned the slow death of the importance of the differing Championships in all major feds, the truth is that titles are becoming props, just as known terrible booker Vince Russo said they were. The real measure of importance is airtime, exposure, how prominently you’re featured.

In the last few months or so, the narrative has been mostly about Christian. The announcers have talked more about Christian than about Sheamus, Mark Henry or even Randy Orton. It’s readily apparent that the entire show is built around Captain Charisma. Orton is there to sell tickets, yes. His role as Champion isn’t to be the focus but oddly enough, it’s to be the foil.

It’s refreshing to see that the WWE finally has enough faith to put Christian at the top of a brand that isn’t their reboot of ECW. Ever since he split from his team with his best friend Edge back in the early part of last decade, many of us have been clamoring for him to get a chance to run with the ball.

For whatever reason, Vince McMahon was reputed not to have seen the same kind of spark in Christian that we fans have. Whether the SmackDown bookers are working this angle in defiance of Vince’s better wishes or whether Vince himself has made a turnaround on Christian is unknown, but I’m glad whatever happened happened.

Truth be told, I’d rather be cheering Christian with everyone else rather than being one of the only smart-assed, heel-centric fans cheering for him regardless of alignment. That’s just my personal preference. While I like Christian no matter what character he plays, I think he’s way more natural as a wise-cracking, good-naturedly sarcastic babyface out of the ring, and a solid, underdog technician face worker in it. Then again, some of his most successful runs have been as a heel, so who am I to argue with that?

So, looking at things through that lens, I can more than just deal with Christian as a heel chasing the title. I’m relishing it. I mean, why shouldn’t I? SmackDown’s main event feud has been really, really well-booked for the last two months. The matches have been good. Why should I care that Christian isn’t a good guy anymore? I shouldn’t, and neither should you.

Just sit back, enjoy the story and appreciate that Christian finally has made it in WWE.

Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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