The Wrestler of the Week award is designed to highlight a wrestler who made the most of his or her opportunities in a given week. While great matches or memorable promos certainly help a wrestler win Wrestler of the Week, the ultimate decision will also include consistency through the week and bonus points for pulling off a task with a higher degree of difficulty.
2/6/14 Wrestler of the Week – Christian
Sometimes we have to keep in mind that wrestling is a form of entertainment, not a political cause. Weeks like the last one can make us overly focused on the backstage machinations and the power plays by wrestlers grasping for the top spots. When we analyze those situations, it is easy to forget the wrestlers on all parts of WWE shows who find a way to entertain us no matter the circumstances. In that regard, Christian has been an exceptionally bright spot in an otherwise dreary landscape. He is not the lightning rod that Daniel Bryan or CM Punk are, but he captures my attention every time he steps in the ring.
Christian wrestled twice during the week and both matches pitted him against Jack Swagger. The match on Smackdown was better for a variety of reasons. The most important advantage of the Smackdown match was the fact that it had the high stakes of an Elimination Chamber spot on the line. As usual, Christian came up with inventive ways to counter Swagger’s signature moves. Christian’s offense is not high-flying or thrilling like it was in his youth, but he paces it in a way that prevents predictability. After Christian kicked out of a pin that followed a gutwrench powerbomb, he recovered and nailed Swagger with a frog splash. The variety of ways that Christian ends matches is another feather in his cap in an era when matches tend to conclude in very repetitive ways. After the match, he gave an interview backstage that drew from believable roots. He passionately said that he feels more urgency to win than he ever has because he recognizes that time has started to close his window of opportunity. Christian has always been more goofy and likable than intimidating in his promos, but the earnest passion was believable and helped build a relationship with his fans.
The rematch between Christian and Swagger on Raw was not as strong as their first clash on Smackdown. Nonetheless, it was different enough that it did not feel redundant, which is valuable in its own right. The match showed a more aggressive version of Swagger as he used his size advantage to take out the frustration that arose during his loss on Smackdown. Christian executed almost no offense throughout the match. He merely found ways to keep Swagger at bay when he went for his more damaging attacks. When Swagger attempted the Swagger Bomb, Christian managed to get his boot up to counter the move. He followed it with a sunset flip off of the second rope to pin Swagger and get another win in a creative fashion.
Christian’s great strength is his ability to make just about any match entertaining. He does not rely on his opponent, the match length, or his own athleticism to craft the match; he simply understands the pacing of a match so well after his years of experience that he can generate emotional reactions without great theatrics. The chances that he will ever reach heights above his current status as the low man on the Elimination Chamber totem pole are low, but not every wrestler has to be pushed to the moon. Christian is an example of what is fun and entertaining about wrestling even in a week that was decidedly un-fun in many ways.