Christian Cage sat down with his long-time friend Chris Jericho on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast to talk about his journey towards making an in-ring return. Cage did an unsanctioned match against Randy Orton during Orton’s feud with Edge, and Cage recalled his reaction to lack of physical things he could do in the match.
“When I went back to do the unsanctioned match with Randy this past summer, it was one of those things. You’re on the non-contact list,” Cage noted. “So we need to be careful of this. You need to be careful of that. You can’t have this kind of contact, yada yada yada, and I was like, really? Am I that fragile? I feel great. Why is this such a an issue?”
Jericho asked Cage if the Orton segment gave him any type of motivation or inspiration. Cage said it did and explained why it did give him some motivation for an in-ring return.
“It was part of it as well. I saw the rating,” Cage stated. “At the time, it was the best rating they had done since the post-WrestleMania RAW. I was like, man people are really interested to see if I was actually going to have a match, and then I was like, ah, then I kind of let them down by not having to have a match. It was a really cool angle, and it served its purpose and did what it was supposed to do for Randy and Edge, but at the flip side of that is people would obviously be excited if I came back. So that coupled with the the other things that we talked about earlier really made me want to go and do this.”
Jericho spoke more on WWE’s no-contact list and noted that older veterans like Sgt. Slaughter are on there. He recalled WWE Mick Foley being on the list and and revealed how strict the policy is even on a house show.
“It’s funny to talk about being on the no-contact list, and people that don’t know is there’s kind of a list of everybody who’s on the roster,” Jericho explained. “And there’s the RAW guys, here’s SmackDown, here’s injured [and] here’s no contact. And no contact is like Sgt. Slaughter. I remember Mick Foley was on there. One time we were at a house show in Rochester. He was the ref, and I wanted him to give me the Socko. And they said, he’s on the no-contact. He can’t even give me a Socko? No, it’s very strict.”
Before Cage signed with AEW, Jon Moxley had tried to recruit him publicly noting that he would have more creative freedom in AEW. Cage revealed the advice Moxley shared with him and his reaction to it.
“I’m close friends with you. When I was at your place, we were talking a lot about the business, and you were talking to me a lot about AEW and your experience’s there, and with Tony [Khan], and the young roster and the differences,” Cage recalled. “And Moxley is also a very good friend of mine, and he and I had been chatting especially after the Rumble. We talked a lot, and he was right. He’s a smart guy. He’s a really smart guy.
“He kind of said to me, ‘Hey man, you hold all the cards here. You’re a free agent. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t explore all your options. Why not at least have a conversation with Tony while you can?’ I was like, you know what, this is the last chapter of my career. I should have the best platform for me at this stage. Not only for myself but to help the next generation step up. I don’t know everything, but I feel like I know a lot, and I see matches different than other people do putting matches together and things like that. Maybe some of that knowledge will trickle down as well and give people different a perspective when they’re putting stuff together.”
Cage then revealed his talks with WWE since he had not signed a contract with WWE even after his retirement. He talked about how his negotiating process with WWE and AEW went.
“I had some talks with WWE, and there was nothing really solidified. There were some things batted around as far as creatively and things like that but nothing set in stone,” Cage said. “I talked to Bruce [Prichard] quite a bit. I did have some conversations with [Mark] Carano towards the end and very cordial. Everything was fine.
“After having that conversation with Jon, I was sitting the next day just kind of taking it in. I just texted him. I said, you’re right, tell Tony if he wants to talk, I’d love to have a conversation with him, and an hour later, Tony texts me. And the next day, we connected, and we talked for two hours.”
Cage said he and Khan talked about how Cage would be used in AEW as well as Cage’s goals for his return run. He said they spoke later and revealed when Khan called him to set up his AEW deal.
“We talked again on a Saturday in the afternoon,” Cage recalled. “We had a chat, and then he’s [like], ‘I’ll email you something a little bit later.’ I was like, okay, and then midnight, I’m about to get in bed. Midnight, my phone rings, and it’s Tony. And I answer, and he’s like, ‘Hey, man, you want to just talk. I want you here. Do you want to be here?’ I was like, yeah, I do. Let’s get something done then, and we sat right there on the phone, and hammered it out and went to bed and it was done.”
Jericho will be appearing on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions podcast tonight on the WWE Network following WrestleMania 37. Wrestling Inc. will have live coverage of the interview.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.