Recent AEW signing Christian Cage was a guest on the latest edition of Talk is Jericho, something of a rite of passage for new AEW stars.
The former WWE Tag Team Champions talked about several subjects, with Cage’s WWE return at this year’s Royal Rumble being a topic of note. Before his triumphant return, Cage knew he had to get medically cleared before even approaching WWE management:
“Adam (Edge) got cleared. I know it’s a different injury, but he never thought he was gonna be able to come back,” Cage pointed out. “Who’s to say they won’t clear me at this point in time? It’s been seven years. I made my own appointments, and just went on my own and figured, if I go, they tell me they think I can do this, then I’ve opened up doors, and if they say no, you should probably stay retired, then I’m in no different situation than I was when I woke up in the morning.
“That’s what I did. I went to the University of South Florida and saw a specialist there, and I went through the physical training, went through the testing on the computer. They even said the testing had advanced some, obviously since I took it last, and when I sat in with the doctor, after I did all the tests, he was like, ‘Man, your test scores were great. You were average or above average on everything. You didn’t fail. You weren’t below average on any of these scores. Your physical tests were great, so let’s have a conversation.’ We started talking.
“And eventually we got to the point that he asked me, ‘What is it that you want to do?’ And I said, ‘I would like to go back and finish my career on my own terms, but I’m obviously not going to do it if it’s going to put my health at risk,’ and he said, ‘I think you can do this. I don’t think you’re thinking irrationally at all. From everything that we’ve talked about, all these test scores, everything’s laid out here, you can do this if it’s what you want to do.’ And that was like, wow, pretty surreal moment.”
WWE were excited about Cage’s news, and sent the former World Heavyweight Champion for several more tests, with Cage passing them all. However it was sometime until WWE properly used him in-ring:
“All these months pass and we get through the holidays, and I’d heard a little bit of a rumbling of maybe something in the Rumble, but then, no, it’s not going to happen. And that was probably a month out,” Cage stated. “Didn’t really think about it again and then the Rumble is on a Sunday night, and Friday night, about 7:30 p.m., I get a phone call saying, ‘We don’t think there’s a big enough surprise in this Rumble. Would you want to come back and do it?’ And I thought about it for a second, and all the things kind of go through your head. I don’t have any kind of deal or anything like that, and it’s like, you know what, I’ve always bet on myself anyway.”
Cage’s Rumble spot was a legitimate surprise to the rest of the locker-room:
“I legit hadn’t been in the ring since June when I was at Edge’s place, and before that, it had been seven years,” Cage noted. “I go, hopefully, it’s like riding a bike, and I’ll just pick it right back. They obviously have rings backstage. I was like, maybe I’ll be able to sneak in a ring and just hit the ropes, but there was people in those rings all day, so I couldn’t even do it because I’m the surprise. Legit, I didn’t get changed till the match before the Rumble was in, and I got changed, walked down.
“Everybody in the hall is like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I was just there hanging out for the day. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for me to be around. I was there three weeks previous doing some stuff for The Network. It’s not like I’m not around, so people are used to seeing me around. ‘Oh, we see another guy,’ and then I kind of laugh it off and then walk out. When the match actually started, I knew I would 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 that initial shock in your system. I was like, alright, that’s gonna have to do it.”