There was a ton of buzz on social media, but after a fantastic main event, the skepticism can be put to rest. Edge retired in Toronto on Friday Night SmackDown.
His career spanned 25 years, with moments that left him reviled and beloved in equal measure throughout that time. After an iconic tag team and mid-card career, he catapulted into the top heel on Raw before slowly becoming a fan favorite on SmackDown, the show he helped to launch. A career-threatening injury and a miraculous comeback decades later led fans and the superstar they have grown to uniformly belove to a final night of action.
Toronto was the best location for the match; it is, after all, Edge’s hometown. With his friends and family present, he and Sheamus proceeded to tear it up in the ring. The resulting affair was emotionally fraught and visually astounding. It was an excellent match and a fitting moment to cap off 25 years of moments like it.
During the Build to 25 Years
The buildup to what was rumored to be Edge’s last match included constant graphics and talking heads from superstars. He was given his proverbial flowers by performers like Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch, and Cody Rhodes. Throughout the night, talents like Rey Mysterio, John Cena, and even Michael Cole talked about coming up through the company with the Rated-R Superstar.
All of these mentions felt very retrospective like it was meant to be a final goodbye. Commentary, though, wouldn’t call it that. In fact, they did not mention that possibility at all while clips of his various world title win, SmackDown Six era tag team run, and of course, his iconic return at the Royal Rumble.
Although WWE had not mentioned it before, the fans were definitely of the opinion that this was his last stand. The response he receives from his hometown makes the fact that Edge retired in Toronto a little less heartbreaking. The pop was massive, and everyone was on their feet.
He ran up to as many fans as he could, stopping a bit longer to see his family and kissing his teary-eyed wife, Beth Phoenix, before starting the match. It was then and only then that Michael Cole gave fans watching at home a clue as to the legendary wrestler’s future. He acknowledged the rumors for the first time and gave the Hall of Famer some advice as the bell rang. He told him to tear the house down.
Edge vs. Sheamus After the Bell
Tear the house down is precisely what Edge did, with some help from Sheamus. The two had over 16,000 attendees in Toronto, captivated from start to finish. It may have been a match on SmackDown, but it might as well have been a WrestleMania moment.
Edge pulled out all of the stops. He hit every one of his signature moves multiple times. Near falls landed each time because the old saying goes that you leave on your back after all. That isn’t to say he only put over Sheamus and his offense. His reversal of the Beats of Bodhran was unique and memorable, as was his Superplex Edgeucution combo. He was also moving faster than he had been, taking several big bumps for Sheamus.
After a fairly matched start, Sheamus took the advantage with Edge powering out of each pin attempt. That was when Edge managed a comeback. Despite some early issues, he’s elevated his game in his most recent run, added some submissions, and other significant moves to make matches fresh. Thankfully it was his trusted Spear connecting that gave him the three count.
As he stood up in the ring, the stadium erupted with thanks, and he looked out at his legions of Edge-heads. There will probably be a lot of talk about having a retirement match on SmackDown against an established guy like Sheamus. That may all be warranted later. Tonight, after the bell Edge gave fans a match as good as many he’s had since returning, even if the stakes weren’t clear.
It is Official, Edge Retired in Toronto
When the match ended, fans could tell it was over. Edge, Beth Phoenix, and even Sheamus were emotional. When his hand was raised after the match, the fireworks went off again, and the crowd erupted for the legendary superstar. With only two minutes left in the broadcast, the ending graphics came on and made confirmed it. There was no big swerve or fake out; that was it. Edge retired in Toronto.
On his terms and with a match that was so much fun to watch, this was a send-off other stars would dream of getting. When Edge debuted in 1998, before The Brood or Christian and well before the ultimate opportunist would become a main eventer, this match was probably an impossible thought. To retire on a show that he very realistically helped to create no less is unthinkable.
However, each year Edge crafted a Hall of Fame career. He revolutionized tag team wrestling, proved to be one of the most brutal men in the business against an old guard like Mick Foley, became one of the best villains in the industry at a time when the hero was faltering, and won the world title eleven times. A career spanning 25 years is bound to have many memories; Edge has too many to count.
What Comes Next?
Edge has been the first to tell us he doesn’t know what is next. Some folks have hinted he may want one more match with or against his best friend Christian Cage and that Adam “The Edge” has an elite appearance in his future. Instead, this moment can be the real goodbye because it felt like the one we never got.
Sure, he can do one more with a familiar face that means the world to him. Selfishly though, WWE fans watched him retire the first time. He was young, and even though it was for the best and nobody should ever say otherwise, it still felt intensely unfair. Fans likely felt only a fraction of the hurt and frustration that he must have at that time. Those fans, that crowd, they got to see him say goodbye in Toronto.
Edge fans are obviously in AEW audiences, but Edge has always been the WWE guy. The goodbye he was robbed of in 2011 is also what WWE fans were deprived of. That crowd got their opportunity, and that closure finally tonight. In some ways, this is what his return was building to. Fans would have loved a massive WrestleMania match, another world title, maybe even Mr. MITB.
Thank You, Edge
I typically write these from a fan’s perspective, but not this fan’s perspective. However, as a lifelong Edge-head, I want to break that for one section of one piece. Watching this tonight, as Edge retired in Toronto, I remembered that fateful night in Albany. I couldn’t help it.
Luckily in real time, Edge washed it all away. As the crowd cheered, when his kids cheered him on, when he took everything Sheamus had and hit that final massive Spear, it laid to rest the tragedy of his appearance in the Times Union Center.
— WWE (@WWE) August 19, 2023
His iconic return gave him this match for his community and gave us this lasting memory. It made me realize I didn’t need it to do anything more than this. He may never say never to a return here or in AEW; it is not the wrestling way. However, his actions and the actions of people around him tell us that this was probably the last showdown before this gritty ring veteran rides off. Thoughts on what could have been can wait for another day.
What we got was amazing for 25 years. Thank you, Edge.
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