Christian On His Dual Roles In ‘Cagefighter’, Mutual Respect Between Pro Wrestling And MMA (Exclusive)

Christian (aka Jay Reso) recently spoke with Wrestlezone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of the world premiere of his new film “Cagefighter: Worlds Collide” which is set to premiere on FITE on Saturday, May 16. Christian not only serves as a producer on the film, but also plays Stephen Drake, a media personality that “Captain Charisma” described as having a pivotal role in the story.

“Stephen Drake is basically a podcaster, much like you’d see an Ariel Helwani type of personality that has the biggest show. He’s got the biggest MMA podcast and also does video, and he’s always looking to be on top of getting the inside scoop, breaking news. He has a pivotal role [in the movie] as far as how the storyline plays out.”

Hugh Patterson, a co-producer on this film, also worked on the 2018 film Supergrid with Reso, and he ended up recommending the former WWE star for this project since it featured pro wrestling elements. Reso says he made a couple of suggestions based on the script and then he was ultimately offered the producer role as well as the chance to portray Drake.

Wrestlezone also spoke with Jon Moxley about his role in the movie, and he mentioned Reso was the one to ‘recruit’ him for the role of Randy Stone. Reso says it’s going to very obvious why Moxley was the right choice once fans see the movie and noted that despite having good chemistry from WWE, they didn’t actually film together at all this time out.

“When you see the movie you’ll know he was the right choice for this character. It has him written all over it. We obviously wanted a big name and he happened to become a free agent right at the time that this was casting, so that worked out. When they sent it to me, one of the things that I had made suggestions—no matter who was cast, but especially him—maybe just give him some bullet points and let him go because it’d probably make the scenes that much better.”

“I had worked with The Shield quite a bit, live events and things like that so we had good chemistry in the ring. I always had good matches with those guys and had a lot of fun as well, but actually we weren’t even in Saskatchewan at the same time. [laughs] Our schedules were just so different that I wasn’t even there when he was there. It’s funny because the one scene we’re in together was shot at different times. Scheduling was different, it’s hard getting in and out of there in the dead of winter because it was so cold.”

Related: Jon Moxley On The Biggest Challenge Of ‘Cagefighter,’ Compares Chuck Liddell To Mickey Mantle

Reso says production pretty much wrapped up right before the current pandemic really became widespread in the United States so they got lucky in that aspect where the film was completed on time. Many fans in the wrestling community didn’t really understand the gravity of the coronavirus outbreak until it became clear that WrestleMania weekend in Tampa wasn’t going to happen and it was a lot more serious than originally believed.

“It’s strange because the city of Tampa was really gearing up for WrestleMania. It’s one of those things where people had basically been talking about it for a year leading up to this. Obviously every sporting event is in the same boat and there’s not much you can do about it. As far as everything else goes, I’ve just tried to be smart about it and follow the same guidelines and stay indoors.”

Reso continues to appear on TV in his analyst role on WWE Backstage but now does it from the comfort of his own home. He was quick to praise to the team that has kept Backstage on the air as a form of escape in a difficult time and noted that they all have a great chemistry with each other and that makes it more fun.

“I feel fortunate—at the start I don’t think anybody knew how long this was really going to go on for. The main thing is I think it’s important to give people an escape and entertainment and to do these kinds of shows, so kudos to everyone involved with the team from Backstage for making it happen. I think that [these shows] have been really fun to do. It’s obviously not the same feel as being in the studio with everybody but it’s still fun to get on there and we have so much fun on that show. We just turn the computer on and make a show in the office or wherever.”

With the premiere just a week away, Christian says he hopes there is a mutual respect between mixed martial arts and pro wrestling fans after they see the film. Looking at it from a wrestler’s perspective, he brought up Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, CM Punk and Jake Hager as examples of where there’s been crossover appeal, but he believes it’s all entertainment in the end.

“Wrestlers are very protective and care about what we do and we’re always fighting for credibility. What we do is also very physical, so I hope in those senses it’s given a new respect on both sides. When I look at MMA and wrestling there’s always that debate, but to me it’s the same tree, different branches,” Christian said. “At the end of the day, it’s all entertainment. Maybe it’s not 100% pure sport like MMA, but MMA is taking the entertainment aspect from wrestling and selling their fights with that with the promos, personas, those things. They can deny it all they want but those are pro wrestling promos and they are taken from the pro wrestling world, so I’d like to see that there’s a mutual respect from both at the end of it.”

Cagefighter: Worlds Collide premieres on FITE on Saturday, May 16; check out our full interview with Christian at the top of this post.

The Watch List will take a look at what matches you should be watching while you’re at home and they come recommended by your favorite professional wrestling stars.

Christian gave us two picks that fans should try and find; one that he studied early in his career and another from his ECW World Championship run against William Regal.

“I don’t know if this is on WWE Network but there’s a [Ricky] Steamboat and Bob Orton match from Landover, Maryland. I can’t remember what year it was, but when I was first breaking in I was just watching that match over and over again and studying it. That one’s just off the top of my head.

Someone actually just tweeted me this the other day, so I’ll throw it out there. It was a match that was either a year ago today or yesterday of myself versus William Regal on ECW. He and I had some under the radar matches on ECW that were ‘on the fly’ and some real fight-type of matches. I think the difference in our styles really meshed well together. We seemed to have good chemistry with each other.”

The list of full-length matches can be seen below; we also added some recommendations to the list and selected a good mix of bouts from Captain Charisma’s WWE career. Some of the matches include the first-ever tag team ladder match at No Mercy, TLC 4 and Christian’s World Heavyweight Championship defense against Randy Orton.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Bob Orton

WWF Prime Time Wrestling — July 20, 1985

Christian vs. William Regal (ECW Heavyweight Championship)

ECW — November 10, 2009

Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz 

WWF No Mercy — October 17, 1999

The Rock vs. Edge & Christian

WWF SmackDown — May 30, 2000

Edge vs. Christian (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)

WWF No Mercy — October 21, 2001

Kane vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Christian & Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy & Rob Van Dam (TLC 4) 

WWE RAW — October 7, 2002

Rob Van Dam vs. Christian (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)

WWE RAW — September 29, 2003

Randy Orton vs. Christian – World Heavyweight Championship 

WWE Money In The Bank — July 17, 2011


Related: Christian On Having Good In-Ring Chemistry With William Regal; Relive His TLC And Ladder Match Classics