Recently on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness, pro wrestling great Christian talked about his WWE departure in 2005 and WWE Hall Of Famer Edge revealed that he was courted by GFW, the defunct TNA, around 2008 or 2009.
According to Christian, he decided to leave WWE in 2005 because he was "burnt out", beat up, and tired of being on the road for years. Additionally, 'Captain Charisma' was dissatisfied over how his WWE run was going, as WWE did not move him up to the main event scene even though he was gaining popularity.
"It was a combination of different things, why that happened. One of them was being burnt out, with being tired. My body was beat up. I'd been on the road straight since I was 24 [years old]. I think I was, like, 31, at the time when I left. And also, it just kind of felt like I was stuck in a rut and my situation wasn't going to change if I stayed there at that point. It was like, 'we know what we have with him. He's there, he's doing his thing, he's good, [and] when something comes up, we'll figure it out.' But that time never came for me."
Christian explained, "even in that first kind of run, I had a little TV program that I did with [John] Cena and I was starting to get these crazy reactions and nothing happened from there. I still didn't seem to move up from there. It was one match. [It] turned into a triple threat with [Chris] Jericho on the pay-per-view and kind of got shuffled around again after that, so to me, I was like 'well, if I was getting those reactions and getting put in that spot and it's still not happening, I have to do something here to change my situation,' and that's when I decided to, when my contract was up, I was probably going to step away for a little while."
While leaving WWE was a gamble, but it worked out for the best in Christian's view because his post-GFW WWE run was better than his prior run 'up north'.
"You have to bet on yourself sometimes and my contract came up and I decided that it was going to be better, beneficial for me both personally and professionally, to step away for a little while and come back, and, hopefully, be seen in a different light when the time is right to come back." Christian added, "for me, it worked out, because I went away for three years, came back, and I feel like the second part of my singles career in WWE was much better than the first."
While Edge said that "sometimes, taking a break and going somewhere else, and, almost, for both parties, absence makes the heart grow fonder," Christian added that being featured in a different promotion can help performers grow.
"Also [going elsewhere helps to] prove that you can do that, even if it's on a smaller stage, that you can carry a show, a main event type match. You can get some buzz about you. You can step up your promos. You can almost even branch out a little bit kind of as far as being your own character, in a way. Do you know what I mean? Like, there [are] not as many parameters on the things that you can say and do. Sometimes, that helps people develop as well. They can kind of find themselves and what works for them a little bit easier in that sense too and I found that when I walked away as well."
Edge divulged that GFW reached out to him when his WWE contract was ending around 2008 or 2009. 'The Rated-R Superstar' acknowledged that the limited schedule of Impact was enticing.
"Interesting little tidbit here that I don't even know how much [Christian] know[s], if [Christian] even know at all, to be honest. I don't recall talking to [Christian] about it. I don't know how word gets out on contracts being up and things like that, but there was one point where my contract was coming up and TNA reached out to me, and [Christian was] there, so they reached out to me, and they told me numbers, and schedule, and all of these things. And for me, at that point, schedule was the thing that I was like, 'well, that'd be a whole lot easier on the body' because I was getting pretty beat up. It's like [Christian] said, I started with WWE in '97. At that point it was like 2008 or 2009. I can't even remember. It's a long time. Now, there [were] breaks because of injuries, but that was my body saying, 'take a break dude,' and I never did until something broke."
Other attractive aspects of the then-TNA in Edge's view were Christian being there and the opportunity for fresh opponents. Ultimately, 'The Ultimate Opportunist' recognized that he was not in a bitter place, did not have a broken dream, and was not prepared to leave it all behind.
"The idea that [Christian was] there, and the opponents. If I went there, there's [Samoa] Joe, there's AJ [Styles], there's a lot of fresh things to do, but for whatever reason, from day one WWE felt like my home. It felt like the place that I'd always wanted to get to. I did those two TV matches in WCW against Kevin Sullivan and Meng and within five minutes of walking into that locker room I was like, 'I don't want to be here - I could tell this is not the place for me.' And the dream was still WWF and getting there.
"And then, finally seeing the inner workings and then working into a position where I was one of the main event guys and I was factored in, it just felt like they did put that faith in me, that they did pull the trigger with me for whatever reason they did and I felt like I can't look that gift horse in the mouth. And sure, there was work involved, but 'I got to stick it out here and I got to stay here. I just want my career to be here and nowhere else.' But for [Christian], I do believe that was definitely the right thing to do."
Christian went on to clarify his comments and express how difficult it was to leave WWE.
"Don't get me wrong, like how [Edge is] saying WWE felt like home to [Edge] and it was home to me as well, and it crushed me to leave. It really did. It was one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do. Saying 'goodbye' on my last night there, tears in your eyes and you're crying because you don't know when you're going to see your friends again. And these are all the people that become your family when you're on the road and spending so much time with them, and, in a sense, you're leaving your family for something that's unknown."
Also on this episode of E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness, the duo behind the Con-chair-to delivered an interview with NXT's Drew McIntyre. Check out the podcast here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness