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SummerSlam Diary: Day 3
SummerSlam Diary: ECW Champion Christian - Day Three
By Craig Tello with photos by Eric Johnson & Scott Brinegar
Aug. 23, 2009
Rise to shine, 8:51 a.m.
According to Christian, the first thought to coil through his head when his eyes opened earlier this morning was one of achieving more rest: "I think I need more sleep."
Battling the weighty urge to turn off his alarm, Christian ironically begins his day just as he will end it: In a struggle.
His subsequent thoughts are much stronger, compelling the ECW Champion to rise and ready for SummerSlam, which is finally here.
Keeping it tight, 9:20 a.m.
Neatly laid out on his bed is Captain Charisma's intended attire for this evening at the STAPLES Center. His choice is a standard black with a stark teal and a suitably vibrant gold -- a color scheme that perfectly matches the hues of his latest WWE T-shirt. (Order Christian's shirt)
"I'm really liking my new shirt," admits the ECW Champion. "This is actually the first time that I got a pair of tights made to match a t-shirt."
As Christian describes, he typically employs a basic rotation system to determine his ring gear for each match. Of the current design, he has six pairs to rotate -- all of which bear color combinations he, himself, chose. These six are only a portion of the upwards of 60 pairs of tights he's collected during all stages of his career.
Plight of champions, 9:26 a.m.
After his ring attire is packed, Christian moves on to the most important garment: The ECW Championship.
Nestled within his suitcase amid spare tights and more, the champ's hardware glistens before it's zipped up into containment. Captain Charisma takes a moment to be frank about traveling with a token so heavy -- both symbolically and literally.
"It's tricky especially with the ECW Title because it's the heaviest one," he details. "The hardest thing is obviously going through airport security with it. They see the big, metal plate in there and they pull it out. Of course, you get some of the guys who want to hold it up and ask to take a picture with it."
But though he reveals this rarely spoken plight of a champion, Christian affirms he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Put it this way, though: I'd rather be traveling with it than without it," he proclaims.
The roof shall set you free, 10:10 a.m.
Before disembarking for his the vast battlegrounds known as Hollywood's STAPLES Center, Captain Charisma devises a plan to take in some fresh air. He readies his bag, then escapes his room for the roof, mere floors above his corner suite.
Overlooking downtown Los Angeles, Christian narrows his glimpse to the arena tucked within and flanked by a series of tall towers. The sun is tepid and the air is thick, conditions to be expected as well under the many trellised lights inside STAPLES. Christian inhales it, releases and heads toward the second biggest event of the year in WWE.
It's the size of the dog in the tattoo, 2:34 p.m.
Possibly channeling the image on his left shoulder, a gruff bulldog teething on a rose, Christian's game face slowly manifests as the day passes.
As the ECW Champion details, he's had this particular tattoo since his final day of high school years back. In a show of solidarity, Christian and his closest friends all got inked together -- separate tattoos but all linked by a rose in each.
Ironically, The Captain leans toward felines when it comes to pet ownership. For eight years, he and his wife have rescued stray cats from the street, Burger King dumpsters and even car engines. Oscar, Felix, Nicki, Lexi and Sammy (a three-legged cat amputee that the couple saved from being put to sleep) are essentially all feline peeps back in Toronto, Christian's home.
Double tape, 3:17 p.m.
As the clock ticks, Christian begins to zero in tighter and tighter on his pending defense. Time draws nearer and nearer, commencing several of the champ's personal, modest pre-match rituals.
After gearing up, Captain Charisma grabs two rolls of tape -- a transparent base, followed by a solid black cover -- and proceeds to wrap his wrists. Though he can't admit to anything as obsessive as counting how many loops he goes around each, Christian says he always starts with his right forearm, then moves on to the left.
Java needs, 4:07 p.m.
As part of his personal pre-battle customs, the ECW Champion heads to the catering nook of the locker room area for a cup of black coffee.
In between sips of the hot java, Christian explains that roughly one hour before every match, he fulfills this caffeine craving. This unique ritual readies Captain Charisma for his in-ring confrontation with Regal, a nefarious veteran.
Ladder and former, 5:19 p.m.
Captain Charisma paces the wide halls of the STAPLES Center, exchanging words and, in some cases, strategies with passing Superstars. One turn of the corner and Christian -- mid-phone call -- stumbles across an artifact that's always been relevant to the ECW Superstar. Just nine years ago, The Captain scaled the rungs of a very similar contraption in the first-ever TLC Match at SummerSlam 2000 -- a bout that concluded with Christian & Edge clutching the World Tag Team Titles.
Tonight, however, these ladders are not his to climb. These tools of ascension will be used to determine the World Heavyweight Champion: Defending gold holder CM Punk or Jeff Hardy.
Jumping back to the future, Christian abandons his visions from this critical match of his career nearly one decade ago. He wraps up his call home to his wife, while imagining his triumph tonight as ECW Champion.
Clothes make the man … lose, 6:45 p.m.
William Regal's toughest opponent tonight was sure to be ECW Champion Christian. That is, until the British bruiser cost himself a golden opportunity. Regal essentially peels a banana, carelessly drops it on the mat and charges over the slippery fruit with reckless abandon.
Flaunting his elegant robe, the challenger turns his back on the crafty champion, and ignores the bell that signals the start of the match. Christian, who anxiously seeks the commencement of the contest, tires of waiting; instead, Captain Charisma rapidly locks in the Killswitch for a deal-sealing three-count within less than 10 seconds.
A summer's slam, 6:46 p.m.
As quickly as the opportunistic ECW Champion puts away his persnickety foe, Regal's newfound cohorts, Ezekiel Jackson and Vladimir Kozlov, engulf Christian and administer the same attack from ECW on Syfy days ago.
Adding to the agony, the inglorious Englishman locks in his signature hold and stretches the retaining champion beyond his body's ordinary limits. The STAPLES Center expresses their wild disgust with the formidable, yet detestable trio.
The spoils of win, 7:03 p.m.
The splendor of victory has been successfully stripped from the ECW Champion's possession. Hobbling to the locker room area and the medical technician's station, Christian favors the limb targeted by Regal while carrying the ECW Title, which is a cumbersome weight in his weakened hands.
The skilled trainers assess Christian's substantial wounding and, in effect, what they confirm are fortunately mild injuries. Sensitive to the probing, the champion's face tells the tale of discomfort from the vile attack.
Lasting impressions, 7:33 p.m.
The Biggest Event of the Summer has come and gone. The peeps are proud and ecstatic. And the heads turned by a young lion at his first SummerSlam 10 years ago are still stretched to see this unmatched type of star in Hollywood tonight.
With the ECW Title still in tow, Christian slowly staggers to the locker room and seats himself beside his travel bag. The ache and tenderness seeps aside as The Captain learns that his pinfall victory -- at eight seconds -- has set a record for any SummerSlam bout.
"At least I got the quickest win in SummerSlam history," Christian asserts, grinning in between winces.
With that, the ECW Championship once again gets tucked into its transport, a humble suitcase guarded proudly by a most rightful owner -- one who's made history on this bittersweet night in Los Angeles.