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As Christian Jay Reso has worked hard to establish his own identity in the WWF

Christian has already enjoyed a remarkable career in the World Wrestling Federation. He has held the WWF world tag team title on numerous occasions with his longtime friend and tag team partner, Edge and he has fought against all the top-notch WWF Superstars.

Yet there are still some people who see him as little more than a sidekick to Edge.

It's time for that to stop.

"Maybe a year ago people perceived me as being a sidekick, or taking a backseat to [Edge] a bit," Christian said. "As the year went on, I kind of grew a personality on TV , and I was allowed to express myself and grow out of it - and I don't' think that people look at me that way."

When Christian first burst onto the WWF scene at the Breakdown pay per view in September 1998, he was allied with Gangrel and Edge in The Brood. Edge had already been performing in the WWF for almost a year as a singles competitor. To some Christian's debut made him look like a follower, even though he immediately won the WWF light heavyweight title. When The Brood disbanded, Edge and Christian continued as a tag team, something that eventually gave both personalities more chances to express themselves.

"I think that more of my true self has come out. The Brood was great, but it wasn't me, I'm not gothic. This is more me, kind of with the volume cranked up," said 27- year-old Christian, who is actually jay Reso from Orangeville, Ontario, located about a hour north of Toronto. "I always knew that I could talk on the microphone, that I could do the things I'm doing. I think I've moved up quite a bit in the past year, and I always Knew that I could do that if I had the chance."

To friends and colleagues of Christian's over the years, though, he was never a second banana to Edge, a.k.a. his high school buddy Adam Copeland.

Canadian connection

Extreme Championship Wrestling's Rhino wrestled with both men in independent federations around Manitoba, southern Ontario and in Detroit in the mid-1990's. The perception of Edge and Christian is a very simple equation to the massive Rhino.

"If Christian went [to the WWF] first, then Adam went there second, they might say, 'Oh well, Adam is just in the shadow of Christian.' That's probably why they may say that if there is a shadow, he came second and wasn't the first in," Rhino said.

Ron Hutchison trained Edge and Christian at Sully's Gym in Toronto, though Edge came through first, years before Christian, who started in September 1994. As Hutchison recalled, Christian was a much quicker study than Edge, and he had his first match in les time.

"It appears that he always did things behind Adam," Hutchison said. "But as far as playing second banana, I think that's more storyline. He really doesn't have to take a backseat to Adam or anybody else in the ring."

Longtime Winnipeg promoter Tony Condello of the Independent Wrestling Alliance saw a fire in Christian, a desire to learn and get better, that he rarely saw in anyone but the top-not wrestlers.

"Christian was the type of guy that, even before the event, he went in the ring and practiced. He was a fast learner," Condello said.

"I've always been a fast learner when it comes to sports in general," Christian explained. "I grew up watching wrestling, and it was always one of my passions. I think that made me want to learn faster and maybe strive to learn as best I could.

Catching up

His relationship with Edge has always been a case of catching up. Edge won a contest to be trained for free with Hutchison and Sweet Daddy Siki. Christian hung out with his friend, learned a bit from him and yearned to be training as well.

"I was finishing high school, and I was broke. I always knew that it was what I wanted to do and [Edge] was saying, 'Come on, we said we were going to train together,' " Christian recalled. "When I went to college, I used money from my student loan to pay for wrestling school. In a sense, I guess I did feel like I had a bit of catching up to do and maybe work a little harder."

Frank Parker was the referee on the Grand Prix Wrestling circuit in the Canadian Maritimes when Edge and Christian were wrestling as The Suicide Blondes, battling the likes of Bad news Allen and The Super Models (Rick Martel and Don Casablancas, known now as ECW's Cyrus). Casablancas befriended the two wrestlers, and they remain friends to this day.

"Adam was here for a month before Jay got here, and I had gotten used to the way that Adam worked. Then when jay came in and I started to work with him in singles matches, they were kind of like a mirror image of each other at times." Parker said. "I always saw them as equals, because they worked in a tag team quite a bit. I think that people who know ability, and know these guys instantly know that there's not a big deal of difference."

Allen agreed with parker, and referred to them as "a big brother, small brother type of thing," even though Edge and Christian were born only a month apart.

"I think [Christian] can hold his own. He doesn't need to be in anybody's shadow," Allen said.

Christian admitted that the long blond hair helped him and Edge to look alike, But unlike other successful tag teams of the past, they made a conscious decision to dress differently from each other and they resisted any attempts to give the tag team a moniker.

"We didn't want to be known as 'These guys are just a tag team,' " Christian said. "We work really good as a team, we grew up together, we click well, but we don't have to look identical. We can have our own personalities and our own identities."

He insisted the he and Edge are not mirror images of each other. "If you really look at us, our facial features look different, but I guess the main thing is the hair. We are pretty close. We have basically the same body type. He's a few inches taller than me, that is basically the only difference, "Christian said.

Regardless, no one can know his success, and Christian thinks that the tag team route was the right one for him and Edge.

"We seem to be getting a little further as a tag team than I think we could as singles competitors right now," he said.

Christian couldn't have asked for more in 2000. This ear could be similar, or it could lead to a breakup of the successful tag team, a scenario that has been rumored for at least the past year.

"As with any tag team, there's a time to go your separate ways." Christian said.

*Credit: WOW April 2001*