Christian is one of the WWE’s most accomplished stars—a former world heavyweight, ECW and intercontinental champion and one of the greatest tag team wrestlers of all-time.
Wrestling fans have grown to really appreciate Christian for everything that he’s achieved, and that’s why his recent return after nearly a year-long absence has received a lot of buzz.
For much of 2013, there has been a lot of speculation about when Christian would be back and what he would do upon his return. Now, we know: He’s going to be a participant in the upcoming WWE Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
At least on the surface, that makes it seem like Christian could be headed for another main-event run in the WWE. But in a WWE that is suddenly loaded with a ton of talent, here’s what it really means: He’s meant to be a midcard star—at least right now.
That’s not a knock on Christian in any way. Rather, it’s a true testament to the WWE for assembling a roster that is stacked from top to bottom.
It’s always been a habit of wrestling fans to criticize the WWE for lacking main-eventers or top guys. In reality, though, the exact opposite is true, and Christian returned at a time when it’s going to be really hard to make it back to the top.
Christian returned as a babyface last week, and just consider his fellow babyfaces that he’s going to have to compete with for a spot in the main-event picture—John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Sheamus, CM Punk, Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler—a group that doesn’t even include part-timers like Triple H, The Rock, Rob Van Dam or even The Undertaker.
It’s not like Christian would really have it any easier on the heel side, though.
The WWE is currently stacked with heels too, including Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio, Ryback, The Shield and Big Show (when he’s around) as well as a major part-timer in Brock Lesnar and a slew of rising superstars, such as Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel and Fandango.
In other words, there isn’t a whole lot of room for Christian these days—no matter how talented he is.
Yes, Christian is one of the best all-around performers in all of pro wrestling. Yes, he’s charismatic. Yes, he can work the microphone. Yes, he can put on a good match with just about anyone.
But this is a WWE that is clearly changing. The company has seen a massive influx of talent over the last couple of years, and many of those superstars are quickly rising up the ranks to join a slew of other young stars who have been around for a while at the top of the business.
Incredibly talented performers like The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins), Ziggler and Bryan are cementing themselves as major names in the industry, and as they do that, they’re bound to leave some established veterans in the dust.
Christian has a lot of momentum right now because he’s fresh off a return, and just about everyone loves seeing a name from the past return for another run.
But just how long will that momentum last before he’s one of those stars who’s eating dust? Will he be able to keep that momentum up, or will he eventually fade back to the midcard while the WWE’s newest stars take his place?
While Christian certainly is a great performer who could be in the main-event picture without anyone really questioning it, you have to seriously wonder if the WWE is willing to push Christian to the top at the potential expense of setting an up-and-coming stud back.
Christian is pushing 40 years old now. Bryan, Axel, Fandango and Ziggler are in their early 30s while all three members of The Shield are still in their mid-20s.
When you really think about it, it makes more sense for the WWE’s long-term future to push the guys who could be main-eventers for the next five or 10 years than it does to push a guy like Christian, who may only be around for a few more.
Christian should always have a decent spot on TV because he’s too valuable of a performer not to. But he shouldn’t take too much of the spotlight away from the WWE’s great crop of rising stars.
Although “Captain Charisma” is getting his fair share of TV time right now, don’t expect that to last all that long.
He may have the skills of a main-eventer. But in a suddenly crowded WWE, he’s bound to be a midcarder.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!