This week has been something out of News of the Weird in professional wrestling. Chris Jericho is going to host a game show, Ric Flair is slamming MMA fans and we learned that Vampiro underwent a kidnapping. Other surprises included Evan Bourne stealing the show on Monday’s episode of Raw and Edge throwing out the possibility of retirement. In an interview Edge had this to say in regards to his possible future:
“I’m coming up on my 20th year, and I’ve definitely had some injuries that have shortened my career. That’s part of the reason I bought up here — we want to retire and listen to the wind in the trees.”
Pretty hard to believe but after reading that line from Edge, then checking his biography, it has indeed been nearly twenty years since he debuted as a professional wrestler. I have been critical of Edge and not always his biggest supporter, but reading what he had to say about possibly retiring excited me. No, I am not getting excited about Edge leaving, but because it would be great to see a happy ending for a star like Edge. He could have a graceful exit and enjoy the rest of his life without being beat down and broke. I began to think about my impressions of Edge when I first saw him and how he changed over time.
Edge started to get attention under the name Sexton Hardcastle when he was on the Indy scene. When he joined WWE in 1998, he was heralded as a younger Shawn Michaels, the same label that guys such as Billy Gunn and Chris Jericho found themselves under. Instead of becoming the next HBK, which nobody should want to be as they should be their own individual, Edge became the first of his kind. He has always been full of surprises. You never really know where his career will take him next.
When he first started in WWE he was this dark, mysterious enigma. He was very similar to Sting’s crow character but with a youthful rock star twist. He didn’t really get off the ground on his own and was paired with Gangrel and Christian. In a very surprising but delightful change, Edge evolved into a comedy act that played well off of stars such as Kurt Angle and Mick Foley in 2001. He had an excellent series of matches with Kurt Angle in 2002 which resulted in Angle’s bald look. Later on in 2002 he put on what may have been two of the best matches that year when he and Rey Mysterio took on Angle and Chris Benoit at No Mercy for the WWE Tag Team Championship, then again a few weeks later on SmackDown in a 2-of-3 Falls match. His heel turn a couple of years later in late 2004 added a whole new dimension to his character. He was no longer the funny guy nor the enigma, but a bitter crybaby with a chip on his shoulder, believing that the world owed him something. It led to his elevation to the title picture and a series of matches with Shawn Michaels.
At Wrestlemania 21 Edge won the first Money in the Bank ladder match. As the first Money in the Bank winner, he set the tone for following winners. He kept viewers on their toes every week, never letting on when he would cash in his title shot. When his real life affair with Lita became an angle, it turned into the best thing for Edge. He became the Rated-R Superstar and became the perfect foil to John Cena throughout 2006. His partnership with Randy Orton and his relationship with Vickie Guerrero were highlights of Raw and SmackDown over the last few years.
Last year Edge entered a transitional period. He was coming out of the title picture and forming a tag team with Chris Jericho. An injury to his Achilles ended that program, but set the stage for their Wrestlemania match. Edge now is back as the Rated-R Superstar in the PG era of WWE. He is back in his element and will hopefully be able to ride out on top should he decide to retire lately.
The last mach Owen Hart participated in was with Edge, who revealed this the night after Owen’s death. Watching the Owen Hart tribute show when Edge made that statement, you knew it would have an impact on how the up-and-comer as he went about his career. Owen was a guy who saved his money and wanted to retire early. He came so close before his unfortunate death. Comments this week by Jim Ross encouraged Edge to have a pleasant ride into the sunset. He had this to say:
“Interesting article in an Asheville, N.C. newspaper on Edge where he said he could see retiring in two years. I think many in Edge’s generation who have made big money, and he has, and have wisely saved and invested it, and I suspect that he has, will not hang around the business too long simply so that they can preserve what physical health that they can. Edge has had significant injuries in his illustrious career specifically his neck surgery and if asked, and I haven’t, I would advise him to call it a career sooner than later if he can financially afford it.”
Edge has suffered several devastating injuries. How he is still going after neck surgery and an Achilles tendon repair not to mention the other problems he has had, is quite amazing. Hopefully he can stay healthy from here on out considering many believe he came back to soon after his most recent injury.
Obviously there is no hurry in saying goodbye to Edge. After all, lots of people talk about what they will do one day but never do it. Still, it is very admirable to see a guy like Edge who may have that happy ending that we see so very rarely in professional wrestling. Some people may think that Edge is a sleaze because of the whole Lita thing or he isn’t very good in the ring or whatever. The bottom line is that we are beginning to see a new generation of stars age and this one has the chance to leave the sport on their own terms and not suffer the “bullet to the head” by injuries or make constant comebacks to fulfill financial obligations. Here’s hoping to happy endings for impending retirements. Cheers!