Royal Rumble 2021. The men’s rumble match. 23 men have entered – including Carlito, Kane, and The Hurricane. The countdown for entrant #24 starts and most fans could be forgiven for thinking it’s for another mid-card entrant. After all, we’ve already had our “Surprise” entrants and returning superstars. The countdown hit’s zero, the buzzer sounds, and an oh-so-familiar entrance theme plays over the P.A.

    Captain Charisma. The Leader of the Peepulation. Edge’s best friend (or brother, if you are of a certain age), Christian returns to WWE as a Royal Rumble participant! After a good showing, including having a hand in eliminating both Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman, before being dumped out by a returning Seth Rollins.

    Now, one could be forgiven for thinking this is an isolated incident – WWE have form of returning starts for one-off appearances. However, Christian himself has hinted at future appearances, and rumours are circulating of Christian signing a part-time deal.

    But, if he is back in WWE – even part-time – what is next for the former NWA World Heavyweight (x2), ECW (x2), WWF Light Heavyweight, WWF Hardcore, WWF European, WWF/E Intercontinental (x4), WWF/E Tag Team (x9) and WWE World Heavyweight (x2) Champion?

    Let’s have a look at five potential match-ups / feuds for Christian?

    #1 – Big E

    OK, let’s get the obvious one out of the way, shall we?

    March 24, 2014. Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, and Sheamus to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship, held at the time by Big E. Unfortunately, Christian suffered a concussion, forcing his retirement. Obviously, this meant forfeiting the title shot. However, we know how good Big E’s memory is, and he has not forgotten that victory.

    It’s not a far stretch to expect some older fans who have given up on the product to return to WWE programming if Christian is announced. Big E and Christian are two of the most likeable men in WWE and have huge fan followings regardless of their alignment.

    Stylistically, this matchup is intriguing – Big E’s power and intensity are well publicised, but his amateur skills are massively underrated, and Christian has proven time and time again he can hang with anyone in his 16-year active WWF/E history. Working a match based on mutual respect, at Wrestlemania would allow both men to showcase their unique styles while hiding any ring-rust issues Christian may have.

    This match is seven-years in the making, and will no doubt draw a huge amount of interest from hardcore and casual fans. For this reason, I would be surprised if WWE doesn’t follow this path.

    #2 – Sheamus (and Drew McIntyre and Edge)

    Sheamus vs. Christian: photos | Sheamus, Christian, Photo

    I’m going into fantasy booking territory with this one but bear with me. Royal Rumble winner Edge is still deciding who he is going to challenge at Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, Sheamus has signalled his intentions on Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship. However, if Edge does challenge McIntyre, Sheamus is side-lined. Step in Christian. With Wrestlemania running two nights, a dual feud of Edge vs. McIntyre and Christian vs. Sheamus opens an intriguing door for the WWE Championship at The Showcase Of The Immortals.

    Christian has a history with Sheamus – having a short series of matches in 2011, and receiving a punch from The Celtic Warrior at Money In The Bank 2013 which chipped a tooth. Christian can run interference for Edge – stopping Sheamus from being a distraction. In turn, this triggers a variety of matches involving the four over the next few months, with Christian the clear underdog throughout.

    Enter Wrestlemania: Night 1 sees Edge vs. McIntyre for the WWE Championship, and Christian vs. Sheamus paying off their feud. An added stipulation means the winners of both matches meet on Night 2 for the title, and the two defeated parties facing each other.

    There would be incredible nostalgia in this booking with a tag team return that Totally Reeks Of Awesomeness. The potential for both Christian and Edge to challenge for the WWE Championship over the same weekend brings massive anticipation. But, there’s also the idea of Christian and Edge both losing – and getting to face each other one-on-one on wrestling’s biggest stage. If Christian’s return is only short-term, this would be a perfect way to sign off his legendary career.

    #3 – Seth Rollins

    Christian & Seth Rollins Comment On Their Return To The Ring -

    Christian vs. Seth Rollins has been a dream match for many wrestling fans for years. Despite facing off a few times in tag matches during Rollins’ run in The Shield, they’ve never stood across the ring from each other one-on-one.

    The Messiah needs a good feud to reintroduce and reinforce his character, as he’s been on paternity leave for the majority of the time since being drafted to Smackdown October. Christian is a perfect foil for someone who wants to help people be “Reborn”. Christian will no doubt want to publicly address his Peeps at some point, thanking them for the support at Royal Rumble. If he chooses to do this on Smackdown, Rollins has an easy interruption – stating HIS was the most important return in the rumble match, and that he eliminated Christian to help “save” him.

    This feud would allow flexibility to suit Christian’s presumably part-time schedule, as other people can be incorporated easily – through Rollins attempting to gain followers, and Christian gaining Peeps. This would give Christian chance to have time on the microphone and commentary while resting as others fight the battles. If booked correctly, this could stretch through to Survivor Series for an ultimate face-off.

    #4 – AJ Styles (and Omos)

    AJ Styles, Christian

    Throughout 2007 and 2008 in TNA, AJ Styles and Christian were never too far away from each other. Styles was variably a part of the Christian Coalition and an enemy of The Instant Classic and were only separated by Christian returning to WWE. The two had some fine matches, but – as was the fashion in TNA at the time – never got to settle into anything properly because of ever-changing alliances and storylines.

    Styles is without doubt one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, with the ability to get himself over even when not booked well. This is handy, as recently he has been subject to stop/start pushes. He unsuccessfully challenged for McIntyre’s WWE Championship at TLC, and since Christmas, the attention seems to be focused more on Omos than The Phenomenal One.

    Christian warning AJ Styles about the pitfalls of having an enforcer who is becoming more popular than him (referencing, if not naming, Tomko). Styles isn’t going to listen and will take his frustrations out on Christian.

    This feud has the added option of Christian bringing in an equalizer (Babatunde/Dabbo-Kato isn’t doing anything at the moment), and alongside some excellent singles matches between Christian and AJ would help elevate the two rookies.

    #5 – Apollo Crews

    Apollo Crews Might Turn Heel After Strong Words From Paul Heyman on Talking  Smack - Report Door

    Yes, fine, I am cheating in a way in referencing the #2 pick, but this is different. Again, this ties in with Edge announcing his challenge for Wrestlemania. In this scenario, he picks Roman Reigns. After getting the upper hand on Reigns on Smackdown, Edge stands tall. Paul Heyman, however, has other ideas. In trying to gain the upper hand for The Tribal Chief, Heyman sends Crews out to hunt down and attack Christian.

    This feud would again feed into the possibility of an Edge & Christian tag team reunion match at Elimination Chamber (against Crews and Reigns), but more importantly, gives Apollo Crews a chance to flex a new darker side of his persona. Crews is an exceptional in-ring talent but is still waiting for a true breakout moment. Matches against Christian will showcase Crews’ ability no only between the ropes, but in carrying a story against a true superstar. Backed up by Heyman on the microphone where needed, this pairing could propel Crews to future success.

    As a bonus, if Jey Uso isn’t out for the long-term, a six-man tag of Edge, Christian, and Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Apollo Crews at Fastlane would be outstanding.

    Christian will, for obvious reasons, never be too far away from Edge in WWE’s mind, especially at this stage in their careers. It is still unknown whether he is returning for anything more than just the Royal Rumble match. With Edge announcing an appearance on NXT, and no doubt turning up on Smackdown this week, we might not know until next week at the earliest.

    If he does have another in-ring run in the tank, there will be plenty of people lining up across all brands of WWE to step up against him. His appearance and performance at Royal Rumble show he’s still in fighting shape, and can still go in the ring. Arguably, he looked better and more impressive than Edge, so there’s even a possibility of a heel turn to prove it somewhere down the line. If both of them can remain fit and healthy, the immediate future will not only help them shine bright but also allows them to do what they have done consistently through their careers – elevate those around them.

    Whether he does or not, Christian’s legacy in WWE still shines bright, and the reaction online shows a desire for the WWE Universe to see Christian have One… More… Match.