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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: Closure on the "Edge Chapter" of Wrestling History
By The Doc
Apr 17, 2012 - 9:54:46 PM

Question of the Day: Where do you feel that Edge ranks amongst the top stars of all-time?

It's been about a year since Edge was abruptly forced into retirement. I'm at a point in my life where stuff like that - an all-time favorite sports figure hanging it up without warning - takes a while to sink in. There was a part of me that, in order to give the Edge chapter of my wrestling fandom its full and deserved closure, wanted to find a way to hop on a plane just hours after one of the biggest days of my professional life to scratch my itch to see the Rated R Superstar inducted into the Hall of Fame in what would've been a thrilling moment in my extracurricular, wrestling fan life. That didn't happen, but the mere fact that I thought about it should give you an idea of how big of an Edge fan that I was. Last year around this time, my wife went to a bachelorette party and I spent the entire weekend watching all of Edge's greatest matches and chronicling them into one very lengthy running diary here on LOP

Doctor's Orders: On the Edge of Immortality (April 2011)

I don’t buy many of the WWE DVDs anymore, but I pre-ordered the Edge documentary. I’ve always enjoyed his thoughts. When the WWE has produced other stories, for instance the True Story of Wrestlemania, I have wanted to hear what he had to say. He has fascinating insights, in my opinion. So, I thought it would be a nice bit of closure – since I didn’t make that quick trip to Miami a couple of weeks ago – to sit down and watch “The Story of Edge.” From here on out, these are just my thoughts from the documentary that does include discussion of the content. I really don’t think it’ll hinder your experience of it, to be honest, if you read everything after this. It’s just that good and insightful…

I’ll tell you, the WWE is on a serious roll with these documentaries. That was an excellent trip down memory lane that added some new wrinkles to my thoughts on the Rated R Superstar. It was particularly the parts of his career from after his return from the original neck injury in 2004 that I had been most interested in. I read his book when it first came out back in 2003, so I was familiar with what he had to say about the first part of his career. I thoroughly enjoyed listening what he felt about the events leading up to and during his six years in the main-event spotlight.

The feud with Matt Hardy was the one that I always pegged as the story that prompted Edge to turn the corner. It lit a fire under his rear, from where I was sitting. I think you can see why Edge is so well regarded by his peers by how he owns up to what he did in this DVD. Apparently, that was no work. That love triangle, of sorts, was a real situation. He mentions how he got along with everyone so well up to that point in his career and it was something that more or less made he and Lita personas non gratas there for a while. To his credit, he took it on the chin and turned a negative into a positive when he and Lita were paired together. Telling were the thoughts that fellow superstars gave about Lita’s role in helping Edge get to the next level of his singles career, citing the chemistry that they had and how much she added to his character. Many a fan on the net had always claimed that she held him back. I personally felt that they were a great duo that capitalized on real world heat, but I’d never thought of her as adding these all important layers to the Edge persona to help make him a main-eventer.

He spoke of how the Hardy feud made him hunker down to become the most hated heel in the business, ultimately using Money in the Bank to win his first title. Quite interesting, to me, was that he mentioned he didn’t even want MITB. He actually said, “Keep me off Wrestlemania” rather than put him in that match at Mania 21. I never thought I’d hear Edge say he’d rather not perform at Mania. Luckily for his career, he was talked into it. The cash in on Cena was actually his idea…and a great idea it was. That was one of my most memorable moments of the last ten years in wrestling. I assumed he’d simply announce his intent to cash-in at the Royal Rumble, but he threw us a curve ball and creatively developed the “cash in” concept that so many others have used since MITB’s inception.

The talk of MITB also brought up two other sets of engaging Edge comments. The first concerned the “Live Sex Celebration” on Raw the night after he cashed in. He said he thought it was a joke when they told him that. Lita mentioned that they insisted she get completely naked. Edge countered that, despite that fact, he was not excited in any way, shape, or form, but rather extremely nervous about the whole thing. An unassuming Mrs. Doc even tuned in for that before she ever met yours truly. That was a ratings success the likes of which we haven’t seen a good while. It was a moment that may have been silly if it were not for the Lita-Edge dynamic; they pulled it off. The second was his disappointment in how his first title reign ended. I remember back in ’06 thinking that after the ratings came in so strong during his three-week run as champion that they made a big mistake in not running with that to see how far he could take it. Edge mentioned how they deviate from the originally laid plan all the time, but for some reason decided not to in an instance when the business that resulted from his being champion was so strong. All the Triple H conspiracy theorists out there – this was one of those times when I really bought into that. The only guy that stood to lose anything from Edge staying champion and taking that feud with Cena to Wrestlemania was Triple H. So, I was pretty upset about Cena winning back the belt so he could defend it against Trips. It all worked out (Edge had a defining singles match against Foley at Mania), but to hear Edge voice his opinion that he should’ve remained champion and the WWE should have called an audible was one of the things about this documentary that I enjoyed so much. It was honest. Here we have this “company” guy just being candid about his feelings. Reeking of awesomeness, if you ask me…

The professional relationship between Edge and John Cena was put into better perspective, as well. I think Cena well knows that his work with Edge was largely what helped him turn the corner as a performer in 2006. Edge really brought out the best in Cena and Edge readily admitted that his goal in their matches was to bring something that he saw in Cena that perhaps nobody else did to the forefront for everyone to witness. The matches that they had were fantastic and Edge essentially shares that he had as much fun performing those matches as many of us did watching them. Earlier in the documentary, he spoke of the Toronto crowd that booed him as the babyface at Summerslam 2004. They brought it back around to Toronto for Unforgiven ’06 giving him a hero’s welcome for his TLC match as the defending WWE Champion and the standing ovation he was given after he lost the title in what is, in my opinion, the 2006 MOTY.

When Cena said of Edge during his HOF induction video that he was the “Einstein of the business,” I really didn’t get that. I knew what I thought about Edge. I’ve always thought him to wildly underrated in the all-time sense, in terms of historically ranking the best wrestlers of all-time. There are many on the net that have voiced their opinion of him being overrated. I was not fully aware until watching this documentary of just how highly respected he is amongst not only the current members of the roster, but by the legends of the business, as well. I’m not sure why I didn’t get that. After all, they did just choose him to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee at the ripe old age of 38. Probably the closest thing to what we’ve seen on this DVD, in terms of the respect Edge has earned, is either the “Edge Appreciation Night” last year that I didn’t watch or the moment in Ric Flair’s (first) HOF speech when he praised Edge with tears in his eyes. For whatever reason, it just never dawned on me how respected he was/is.

In the documentary, Edge is described by his peers as a mastermind who sees matches like a puzzle, the pieces of which he can perfectly place in the exact spot that he feels will get the greatest reaction from the people. His apparent creativity is something that we can see to a certain extent in his in-ring work, but to know of the thought that he put into it beforehand makes me respect the guy twice as much. To me, hearing people say those things is somewhat of a validation to me for all the years that I’ve been one of his biggest fans, as silly as that may be (when it comes to guys like Edge and HBK, I’m just a fanboy mark).

There were three programs in Edge’s career that I’d deem as my favorites: vs. Kurt Angle, vs. John Cena, and vs. Undertaker. I was happy to see him touch on the importance of those feuds. The great matches he had with Angle were what took him to the next level in his singles career. Mick Foley referred to Edge circa 2002 as a guy who was just out there having a really lengthy streak of great matches; and that started with the Angle series. Edge thinks of his storyline with Taker as the best program of his career, citing how they wrestled at something like six consecutive PPVs in 2008 and just had natural chemistry. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder talk of how his match with Taker at Mania 24 was underrated and that people have not yet given Edge vs. Taker the credit that it deserves for being as good as it was. I probably underrate that one a little bit, myself, to be honest. I was watching it on my birthday about a month ago having already written about it in preparation for listing it in the Countdown and I had to do a long double-take to make sure that I had it properly placed. I’ll stick with where I ranked it, but it was a great match and I’m not sure that Ryder and Hawkins aren’t right about it…it is underrated; horribly so.

Also interesting was the whole “La Familia” angle and how it came to be. Edge commented on shy Vickie had been prior to their pairing and Guerrero spoke glowingly of how Edge helped her so much through those times when she was trying to find her groove in that character. Notice a pattern, here? Edge bringing out the best in people? Hawkins and Ryder being his cronies was actually an idea that Hawkins and Ryder pitched to Edge in an email. Edge thought it would be good, went to bat for the guys, and the rest is history.

So, I won’t go into it anymore than that, but I would highly recommend that you check it out. Much like The Rock’s recent DVD, it’s a great recap to Edge’s career. You’ll learn things you didn’t know, hear him talk about things you probably didn’t even know you wanted to hear him talk about, and then cap it off with some of his best matches that you’ll be happy to own on DVD. Personally, the No-DQ match with Eddie Guerrero and the TLC match with Cena are two matches that I’ve always wanted in my (now very small) DVD/Blu-Ray library. I’m also not disappointed to now own that classic Elimination Chamber match that he used to steal the show one last time in February 2011 or the ladder match with Matt Hardy. All that’s missing is one of his classics with Angle.

Definitely a must-buy…

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