On the latest edition of Talk Is Jericho AEW superstar Christian Cage spoke with the Demo God about his return match with Frankie Kazrian, and how fans had a misconception that he was signed with WWE. That and more can be found below.
On the misconception that he was under contract to WWE:
I think that was a misconception for a long time because I had done so much stuff with WWE, still. The Fox deal was a separate deal from WWE but I’d always been around and done different things and I was, kind of, on a nightly (deal), I was never under contract, so I think that just maybe because I was around people assumed that was the case but obviously, it wasn’t.
On getting back into shape:
When I got that clearance, it’s mid-pandemic, everything’s shut down, Adam (Copeland) had a ring up at his house in North Carolina. So, I talked to him and said, ‘Hey, why don’t I drive up there for a few days and I’m going to get in the ring and see how I feel’ and this was before I’d even started working out, like, I’d literally just gotten my clearance a week or two before. So, I went up there and I got in the ring for about 45 minutes to an hour. Adam was hurt, so it was me and Beth (Phoenix). Beth was beating me up (laughing). We didn’t do a match, I just took some bumps and hit the ropes and kind of rolled around, did a few things, and got the feel for it and I was, like, winded and sore and banged out. Your body builds up that callous from all that repetition of taking bumps and things like that and all that had been gone for not doing it for seven years. My neck was sore, my shoulders were a little sore, I felt it for a little while after, and then I started on the training and the diet. In my head, I was like, I’m not going to get back in the ring because physically, I need to get where I want to be and if I’m in the ring, I risk jamming a shoulder or getting hurt and that sets the other part back, so why I don’t myself physically in a place where I want to be, then, I’ll have plenty of time to get back in the ring and I’ll probably have a month or two month’s notice and I can just get in there and just get the reps in. I was solely focused on getting back in shape and not so much the in-ring part.
On getting to compete in the Royal Rumble:
So, all these months pass and we get through the holidays, and I’d heard a little bit of rumbling of maybe something at the Rumble but then it was like, ‘No, it’s not going to happen’, and that was about a month out. So, I didn’t really think about it again, and then, yeah, the Rumble was on Sunday night and Friday night about 7:30 pm I get a phone call saying, ‘We don’t think there’s a big enough surprise in this Rumble this year, would you like to come back and do it?’ And I thought about it for like a second and all the things go through your head, well I don’t have a deal or anything like that, it’s like, ‘Ah, I’ve always bet on myself anyway’ and I legit hadn’t been in the ring since June. So, what I did was, you know they have rings backstage at different areas? I was like maybe I’ll be able to sneak in a ring and hit the ropes but there were people in those rings all day, so I couldn’t do it because I’m a surprise, right? So, legit, I didn’t get changed until the match before the Rumble was in (the ring) and I got changed and walked out. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my…” So, when the match actually started, I knew I’d have about 40-45 minutes before I had to be in there. I got in the ring, hit the ropes about five times, took about five bumps just to get the shock out of your system and I was like, ‘Alright, that’s going to have to do it’. I went out and did it.
On the interaction with Tony Khan after his match with Kazarian:
After the match, it was very emotional for me, you know to do that match. It was a lot of emotional, like, ‘am I really doing this?’ Then I started going back to all the time of uncertainty and just knowing my health was good was important for me, like, let’s put the getting back in the ring aside – that I was going to be healthy for my life was a huge revelation as well, it was great, it was awesome to hear that. Getting the physical transformation, getting my body right and being able to step in there and have this match – a real match, a long match, and a competitive match and I’m my own worst critic and I won’t stay anything more about it than that. But I remember going back and just having these emotions, people coming up saying, ‘Congratulations’ and it was very cool to have everyone, kind of, say their piece after. And, Tony (Khan) was sitting there and he was the first person that was waiting for me when I came back from the curtain but then I doubled back to him and I just kind of said to him quietly, ‘Tony, you basically signed me sight unseen. You have no idea how much that means to me and how hard I’ll work for you going forward because of that and the chance you took on me.
(H/T and transcribed by Post Wrestling)