Over the past couple weeks, I’ve said quite a bit about the WWE title match for WrestleMania as well as the now-official Undertaker-Triple H showdown, but nothing of Edge’s World title defense against Royal Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio, so let’s rectify that situation now.
I’m a fan of both Edge and Del Rio’s work and am particularly impressed with how quickly ADR has not only climbed the ranks but looked right at home at the top of the card. You could argue it’s easier to be perceived king of the hill on Smackdown where the lights shine a little less bright and you don’t have to contend with the John Cenas and Randy Ortons of the world, but even when Del Rio won the Royal Rumble with both those guys present, he was gold. The crowd hates this guy, but they also buy into him as a top act.
Nonetheless, if Edge vs Alberto Del Rio were to close the night at WrestleMania, I’d likely be even more doubtful about its ability to live up than I was Cena-Miz; both guys are talented and I think WrestleMania is going to be a great coming out party for ADR with Edge being the ideal guy to guide him through, but that match does not scream WrestleMania main event due to lack of any real significant build—Cena/Miz have an on-again, off-again history while Undertaker/HHH have a back story going back years—and Del Rio lacking credibility among casual fans.
Fortunately in a strange way, Edge and Del Rio don’t have to worry about any of that pressure because there’s no way they’ll be closing the show. They “only” have to be the Smackdown main event for WrestleMania, and unless Undertaker is involved, that match is always going to slide down to third or fourth from the top behind the WWE title match and likely a palette cleanser involving the Divas as well. I’m sure deep down both guys would love be the match that sends the fans home, but it’s better for both that they’re not, particularly since Del Rio needs to be made a star here and his winning the World title would not send anybody in the audience home happy.
With that lengthy preamble, let me get to my actual question: Should Christian be added to make this a Triple Threat?
My answer is yes.
After being put on the shelf six months ago by a then new-to-WWE Alberto Del Rio, Christian has now made two return appearances to make the save for his longtime tag partner and old buddy—I guess they’re not brothers anymore—Edge, last week at Elimination Chamber and this week on Smackdown. In both instances, the babyface pop for Christian, a guy who has always been on the cusp of the main event and a huge fan favorite in particular since coming back from TNA a couple years ago, has been immense. Logic would dictate that a Christian-ADR feud makes a lot of sense, but then logic also dictated that Triple H would return for revenge on Sheamus and Undertaker would go after Kane and/or Wade Barrett when he came back, yet both those issues got shoved aside; could the same happen here? I hope not.
If WWE is interested in making Christian a legitimate main event player—and given the dearth of those on Smackdown, I can’t see why they wouldn’t be—the time is really now or never. It makes total sense to insert him into the World title match at WrestleMania as he has the issue with Del Rio as well as the past with Edge. Also, while I’m aware that not getting your first World title win in a straight up one-on-one match can be a bit of a stigma for a star on the rise, I think ADR’s character is such and strong enough that he can still benefit just fine from sneaking out a win with shenanigans during a Triple Threat.
There’s an upside all around for altering the match: It’s a more interesting dynamic with Edge having to keep an eye on his supposed ally who no doubt would also love to be World champion, it allows Del Rio to boast that he beat two men for the World title, it elevates Christian, it gives the fans what they want, it keeps an Edge-ADR singles match fresh for down the line and it even keeps Edge looking strong—that last bit isn’t really necessary since Edge is one of those guys who can remain strong regardless of losses, but it’s still there. The Triple Threat route just seems to be a scenario where everybody wins and there is no discernible downside I can see, plus there’s not another multi-way match booked WrestleMania at the moment or apparent on the horizon, so it’s not a WrestleMania 2000 situation where you’re drowning in them.
The worst case scenario I’m envisioning is Alberto Del Rio somehow bringing in Vickie Guerrero—who has gotten more air time to feud with Edge than ADR in recent weeks—Christian backing up Edge, and then them doing a Christian turn to justify the title switch. Unlike the Triple Threat, this would be bad all around. Vickie is a heat machine, but Del Rio doesn’t need her and could potentially get overshadowed ala Chris Jericho by Stephanie McMahon back at WrestleMania XVIII. Christian is prepped for a great babyface run right now, and while he plays a fine heel, they’d be squandering crowd goodwill. And finally, while Del Rio outsmarting two guys in a Triple Threat would put him over as a strong and clever heel, his needing Christian’s help to win would cut the legs out from under him.
We’ll see where this goes, but Christian’s return has made the Smackdown Road to WrestleMania a lot more intriguing to me.