As most wrestling fans are aware of by now, WWE superstar Edge announced his retirement on this past week’s edition of Monday Night Raw. The following is an article I wrote which was orginally posted on the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly Online website. Please let me know what you think of it. Enjoy.
Hey everyone. The last nine days have been one of the more noteworthy periods of the wrestling industry this year. Last Monday, the Rock vs. Cena match, which should wind up being one of the most anticipated and important matches in history, was made official for Wrestlemania 28. Earlier this week, former Ring of Honor manager Larry Sweeney was found dead as the result of a suicide. Then this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw featured one of the genuinely shocking moments in WWE history: Edge announced his retirement.
I’m sure that by the time this article is posted there will have been numerous articles and retrospectives written about the career of Edge. I have not written anything for this site since last summer. However, after watching Edge voluntarily walk away from the business he has loved for his entire life, I felt that I had to write something. Edge has been one of the biggest and most important stars in the wrestling business for over a decade. He is one of the guys who literally put his body on the line for the fans’ enjoyment on a nightly basis. He deserves this much at least. I simply felt that I had to do justice to his career by writing about him.
From neck injuries, broken teeth, torn pectorals and a torn Achilles tendon, Edge has paid the price for the high-risk style he has employed throughout the years. And to his credit, he realized the severity of his pain and got out of the game while still physically and mentally intact. He should be applauded for that decision alone. Far too many wrestlers often put the needs of the promotion above their own personal ones. Many wrestlers will try to justify their supposed “toughness” by gobbling up pain pills in order to make it to the next show. They will take whatever is the riskiest medical procedure to ensure they will return to action as quickly as possible so that their spot will not be jeopardized. And often the wrestlers who participate in this self-destructive behavior are the ones whom we watch as their entire lives crumble right before our very eyes. I would much rather watch Edge walk away from the business than to see him carted away in a wheelchair with permanent paralysis. More than any number of titles he won or the classic matches he was involved in, perhaps his lasting legacy will lie in the way he left the business.
There was little doubt that his speech was one of the most emotional moments in the 18-year history of Raw. I, like so many others, felt that it was the start of another angle. I was just waiting for Alberto Del Rio’s music to start, but then a few minutes went by… and then some more… and then it hit me that this was pretty real. He talked about his love for the business, his history in the company and his close friendship with Christian. He even acknowledged Jim Ross as the guy who hired him (looking back, it’s amazing to realize what a good eye for talent Ross had as he was responsible for signing so many guys who became the biggest stars in the history of the company). I was very glad that he was in attendance for the occasion. You could tell that Edge loves this business and was even a little upset that his body gave out before he probably would have liked for it to. What we got last night wasn’t a simple retirement speech or a promo. It was a real person speaking with the real people he has entertained for nearly 20 years (14 of those in WWE). In a business full of fakeness, Edge proved to be as real as they come.
As far as I’m concerned, his in-ring legacy is set in stone as one of the best to ever compete in a WWE ring. I feel no shame or second guessing in adding his name to the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, HHH, Rock, John Cena, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Superstar Graham, Bob Backlund, Ted Dibiase, Andre the Giant, Mick Foley, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Bret Hart, Randy Orton, and others who have carved out, or are on the way to carving out legendary careers for themselves.
Often in pro wrestling, a person’s true legacy isn’t realized or properly reflected upon until they pass away. I think it’s fantastic to see the overwhelmingly positive feedback he has gotten from his fellow WWE brethren as well as those from TNA Wrestling. Cena summed up the collective sentiment perfectly after Raw went off the air when he stated that “Edge had a hell of a career.”
Edge may forever be known as the “Rated R Superstar”, but he was really one of the true good guys all along. Thanks for the memories and enjoy eating that ice cream.