After a nearly 20-year career, Edge was forced to hang up his boots last night after doctors told him a few more bumps could paralyze him. So, the 11-time champion did the only sensible thing that he could. He walked out to the ring during Raw last night and announced his retirement.
Fans know his history with injuries, namely the broken neck nearly a decade ago. That alone should’ve kept him down, but, after a complicated surgery, he returned for nearly eight more years until problems with his neck finally caught up to him.
Clearly, he wasn’t ready to go, and the tears that began to fall last night were completely real, partly due to the realization that his career was ending and partly due to the outpouring of appreciation from the crowd. And, in a world where a creative team scripts out pretty much everything that happens, those unscripted moments with such real emotion are few and far between and have a much greater impact than any table spot or steel chair shot.
I’ve had the chance to follow Edge’s WWE career since his days with Christian and Gangrel in the Brood. Edge and Christian, once they broke away from Gangrel, got the chance to show the wrestling world that they were more than a couple of great athletes. They became one of the most entertaining comedy acts in the business.
I remember the two of them helping to revolutionize tag team wrestling ten years ago. Along with the Dudleys and the Hardys, they put on impressive performance after impressive performance, setting the standard for ladder and TLC matches for years to come. For the longest time, Shawn Michaels was most associated with the ladder match, thanks to his Wrestlemania X performance, but not after Edge and Christian showed what they could do in such a match.
But, Edge was destined to climb even higher. After a successful tag team run, it’s often difficult for teams to split and for performers to find individual success. Edge, however, proved quite convincingly, that he didn’t just belong at the top of the card, but that he should be the one walking around as champion.