Meet Christian Cage
For Orangeville resident Jay Reso, The battle to become a superstar in the WWF was a tough one - both in and out of the ring. But through perseverance, hard work, and dedication, "Christian Cage," as Reso called himself, has managed to live a dream - working in front of thousands of fans in a professional rasslin' ring.
"I was a fan growing up" says Reso, "I watched every Saturday, went down and watched at Maple Leaf Gardens, and when I was going through high school, we watched wrestling. "I always thought it was something I wanted to do." Reso says his idols in the old days were men like Bret Hart, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, and "Cowboy" Bob Orton. He also remembers "Stone Cold" Steve Austin breaking onto the scene as Stunning Steve, first in ECW, then in WCW. "I always thought he'd be one of the best" says Reso, "and now he is."
One of his close friends through high school was Adam Copeland. The 2 are still friends - in fact, as far as the WWF is concerned, the pair are brothers - "Christian" and "Edge" from Toronto. The duo were roommates while they attended Humber College; at the same time Copeland was attending wrestling school. "One day, he said, C'mon, it's time to train, so I started training."
Reso started off with 'Sweet Daddy Siki's School of Wrestling. Siki himself is a former National Wrestling Alliance superstar. After about 9 months of training, he had his first match, for Ron Hutchion's FAME organization. Reso came up with the name 'Christian Cage' while watching Entertainment Tonight with a friend. "We were trying to think of a name," he explained. "We were sitting there, and I had the name 'Cage' in my head, and I looked at the TV, and they were doing a story on Christian Slater. It kinda stuck after the first match."
Those early, formative years weren't easy or kind to Reso. "A lot of people think you can just walk in, make money, be a star. But it took a lot of hard work, with no money, being broke.... paying my dues." "I wrestled wherever I could, just to get my name out. I'd drive to wherever for $20, $25, for experience." Reso worked the independent circuit along with copeland for a few years, traveling through Ontario, western Canada, Michigan, and New York. But the experience that sticks out as being the worst for Reso was a month long stint in Tennessee, wrestling for $15 a night. "Finally, we ended up in Raleigh, North Carolina and we had to call our parents to wire us the money for us to take a 40 hour bus ride. (home)" But he never once thought about quitting. "As soon as you think that, you might as well not go on. You have to believe in yourself. I thought I'd gone too far, that there was no way I was not going to make it."
The tides turned after a 1997 "RAW IS WAR" taping in Cornwall, Ontario. Copeland was slated to wrestle a dark match, and since Reso had his gear with him, they sent him to the ring for his first ever WWF match. That was in November. Finally, in March, Reso got a call from Jim Cornette, who aside from being an announcer, is also a talent scout. He remembered seeing Reso wrestle Copeland in Cornwall, and asked him if he wanted to join their next training camp in July. He jumped at the chance, and eventually debuted on a September '98 Pay-Per-View. (Break Down in Hamilton, Ont.)
Now Reso's keeping pretty good company - he's one third of 'The Brood' with Edge and Gangrel, and there all in the Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness. "It's been a great experience," he said, "We're a good fit with (The Undertaker) and the Ministry." As for where he and his character are headed, the WWF is keeping him tight lipped. "I'm not sure where it's headed, we'll just have to wait and see....."
Credit for this article to Ryan Brander