It is April 11th, 2011. World Heavyweight Champion, Edge – fresh off his successful WrestleMania XXVII title defense against Alberto Del Rio – comes to the ring. What is he coming out for? It is time to build towards the next event, perhaps. Maybe the beginnings of a fresh, new rivalry. Then the 37 year old Champion spoke those three words – three haunting words which no pro-wrestler ever wants to speak: “I have to retire”.
For almost nine years, Edge remained retired. The “Rated R Superstar” stayed true to those three words. He appeared in TV shows such as Haven and the Vikings – the latter a big, silver-screen hit. With long-time best friend and former partner, Christian, he would host the Edge & Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness on the WWE Network. He would make cameo appearances here and there, confronting the likes of Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins during the height of their heel runs. In 2012, Edge – an 11 time world champion – would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It truly looked like the end of an illustrious career.
Royal Rumble 2020
Fast-forward almost nine years to January 26th 2020 – Royal Rumble 2020. Twenty WWE performers have already entered the match. Many have been eliminated – with Brock Lesnar having dominated most of the bout. What could possibly add some emotion and drama into a match in desperate need? 3…2…1… and “You Think You Know Me” hits, followed by the sound of Metalingus, by Alter Bridge. One of the most distinctive and recognizable wrestling theme songs of all time. Out comes Edge (now 46) and the crowd erupts in a roar befitting the second coming of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Noticeably a little grayer and older, though in tremendous shape, Edge makes his way down the ramp. He pauses a moment, tears in eyes – to be greeted by such a reception on a return that was never supposed to happen would make the strongest of men cry.
He would last until the 28th elimination – Roman Reigns holding the honor of eliminating a returning Edge. However, prior to his elimination, it was a comradely confrontation with Randy Orton – who Edge would later eliminate – that would be the talking point of Edge’s return. The very next night on RAW, Edge explained his return – announcing to the WWE universe that he was back for as long as he is able. Doctors had cleared him and he knew immediately it was time to go out on his own terms. Randy Orton – former Rated RKO brother – would be the first to welcome him back. Then, in typical Orton fashion, he demolished the returning Edge with a steel chair to a chorus of boos.
Edge versus Randy Orton
Who more fitting than Randy Orton – long-time friend and foe – to face a returning Edge at WrestleMania XXXVI? The two men who years earlier tormented the WWE tag team division facing off in front of the fans at WrestleMania. Fans who would most certainly be behind Edge in his comeback match against one of WWE’s greatest heels. Of course, with the COVID-19 epidemic arriving, it would not play out this way. Instead, Edge faced Randy Orton with no crowd. It was a lengthy, hardcore brawl with no crowd. A true brawl in which Orton would get his just-deserves for not only attacking Edge, but giving Beth Phoenix – Edge’s wife – an RKO.
Much like The Undertaker‘s Boneyard Match with AJ Styles, this was personal. It felt more like Adam Copeland versus Randy Orton than Edge versus Randy Orton. Yes, there is an argument that the match went on a little too long (36:41 seconds) and perhaps it did, but it needed to. Not only was this a personal brawl, but it was Edge’s comeback match. His WrestleMania moment in front of the fans was cruelly taken away from him by COVID-19. This, for Edge, needed to matter. The match itself was great and whereas nothing can compare to the type of WrestleMania reception Edge would have received this year, this was a fitting replacement given the circumstances.
What Next for Edge?
During his comeback promo on January 27th’s RAW, Edge announced he hoped to see some of the new “boys down the road”. He name-dropped the likes of Seth Rollins – who once wanted to Curbstomp Edge into a wheelchair on an episode of RAW. Fellow Canadian, Kevin Owens, was referenced. He brought up Roman Reigns; who eliminated him from the Royal Rumble. Aleister Black, too, was mentioned – a clear favorite of Edge. Anyone who listens to E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness knows that Edge has remained a fan of the WWE product. More so, he is a fan of much of the roster and wishes to work with many of the roster’s newer talent. Hopefully, this is a wish we get to see fulfilled – Edge can have an entertaining feud with anyone. Additionally, he is capable of great, emotionally-driven matches with anyone, as either a face or heel. It is part of the reason why he is a WWE Hall of Fame inductee.
A Second Opportunity for the Ultimate Opportunist
It is impossible to predict what comes next for Edge – especially during the difficult circumstances we currently find ourselves in. One thing is certain, however: Edge is not finished yet. Though the World Heavyweight Championship – the title Edge won a record seven-times – is no more, you can expect the Rated R Superstar to hunt for a world championship at some point. New rivalries will happen, new title will likely be won. The Edge character is notoriously unpredictable. Just when you think you know him, he does something new to surprise you. It is now April 11th 2020, nine years to the day of Edge’s initial retirement. WWE’s “Ultimate Opportunist” is back.
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