Royal Rumble 2021 saw the surprise return to the WWE ring for legend Christian, who stepped foot into an official match for the first time since 2014.
Save for a quick, unsanctioned match on Raw with Randy Orton last summer, Captain Charisma has not been in action since retiring because of injuries seven years ago, but the 47-year-old was able to shock the world by making his comeback in WWE's annual Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal event.
Speaking on WWE's weekly magazine show, The Bump, Christian revealed that a combination of anxiety for best friend Edge's surprise return at last year's Royal Rumble event, tied in with his brief showing with the Legend Killer a few months ago, led to his pursuit for an in-ring return.
“It’s been a long process to get to the point where I could get myself in a physical condition to step into the ring again," Christian said. "As everybody knows, I retired because of injuries seven years ago, and I would be lying if I didn’t say Edge returning last year at the Royal Rumble made me think a little bit.
"When I heard him step through that curtain. I felt out of control in that situation for him. I was nervous and I had to walk away. I was getting so anxious because I wanted him to do so well and I wanted him to be okay. When I heard his music hit and that reaction, man there’s nothing like that live reaction from the WWE Universe. When I watched him, I know that we had different injuries, but it just kind of put that bug in my ear and got me thinking.
"I kind of put it to the side and didn’t really think anything of it, but in the summer when I had the unsanctioned match against Randy Orton, I looked at where I was in my life. Things like ‘am I making healthy choices in terms of my diet?’ I wasn’t in the best shape that I had ever been in, living that retired life. So I started thinking I should make some physical changes, let me get back into shape, and see what can actually happen.
I started to think ‘do I want that to be the lasting memory that people have of me?’ Punted in a ten second match. The way that my career ended before never sat well with me as it was. And I was like, I need to get back in there and finish this on my terms, in my way. If that was the one match, the Royal Rumble, then so be it. But I needed to end it on my own terms."
Speaking further on his inclusion in this year's Royal Rumble event, Christian revealed he was given notice that he would be involved in the men's match on the Friday evening before the show, leading to a brief panic as he searched for his ring gear.
With eventual winner Edge staying with Christian for the weekend, it was easy for him to pretend his presence at the event was simply to support his former tag-team partner.
The former World Heavyweight champion also spoke about the moment when he and Edge met face-to-face in the ring after his surprise entry.
Christian continued: "I found out [I was in the Royal Rumble] at 7:30pm on Friday night. In hindsight, I would have liked to have had a little more time to get in the ring and that.
"I was nervous when I got the call. But once I found all my things and pieced things together, there was no time to think on Saturday. Then I went into the arena on Sunday and I was surprisingly calm. For not stepping in the ring for seven years, there were no nerves. This is what I was born to do.
"The good thing is that I’ve been around so much, doing different things still with WWE, that I’m always thee backstage, so it’s not out of the ordinary for me to show-up at some point in time. Edge was obviously in the Royal Rumble, he was announced for it and he was staying at my house. So as far as anybody knew, I was just at the arena with him, hanging out, to watch him make his return.
"That moment when we locked eyes, that smile, it was all spur-of-the-moment stuff. It was such a busy day for both of us that we didn’t really have a chance to talk before we went out there. I think I dropped Daniel Bryan and I turned around and he had this look of joy on his face. In a way, I think it meant more to him than it did for me. There were very few people that knew, but he was one of them."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Cultaholic.com for the transcription.