By Chinmay (Featured Columnist) on April 12, 2011
WWE Raw dropped a bomb last night. Reigning world heavyweight champion Edge has announced his retirement due to injuries.
Edge’s retirement is a huge blow to the WWE. He was one of the most bankable performers and draws.
The way it came out of the blue, it has left all the fans searching for a reaction. There is still a lingering skepticism regarding his announcement, but every passing moment has certified its legitimacy.
Therefore it is a moment to pay homage to a star who gave us so many memories and entertained us for more than a decade.
If at all, the announcement turns out to be a work, then I will fall on my face for writing this tribute so hastily, but for once, I would rejoice in the fall.
The immortal phrase “the boyhood dream has come true” has always been used for HBK Shawn Michaels. If ever there has been another person who has lived this line, then it is Edge.
It is a well-known fact that Edge attended WrestleMania VI. It was the moment when he decided instantaneously that he would become a pro wrestler just like his hero, Hulk Hogan. Today, we all know that he did not just dream—he actually lived the dream.
It was a dream that put his body on the line. It was a dream that tested his mind and resilience every single night. But he rose above all the hurdles, he worked hard and accomplished more than probably every other star of his generation.
His career is no less than a storybook journey. It is a journey that has every ingredient of a god-written script. It has highs and it has its lows. It has a lot of controversies. It has some obscurity and above all, it has fitting glory.
Edge started his career as a gloomy psycho who would roam around on streets and attack strangers. Then he became a vampire. He teamed up with his longtime best friend Christian, which would be one of the best tag teams of all time—E&C Connection.
In the coming decade he did everything that is possible and achieved almost everything that is there. From winning Royal Rumble and King of the Ring to winning dozens of championships, he won it all. From capturing Money in the Bank to headlining WrestleMania with the Undertaker, he did it all. He engaged in amazing rivalries with the likes of Batista and the Undertaker.
But the special mention goes to his rivalry with John Cena. Both would have been incomplete without each other. Perhaps he was the quintessential Lex Luthor for Superman John Cena.
Amongst other things, he was part of a controversial rivalry along with Matt Hardy. He performed a live sex celebration on national television with ex-flame Lita. He also became the first on-screen boyfriend of Vicki Guerrero and made her a big heel in the process.
If he missed out on anything, it was that he never won a world/WWE championship at WrestleMania as a challenger, and he never won ECW championship. He would definitely miss the former feat and is unlikely to regret the latter.
On such a backdrop, it is strange that for all his incredible achievements, Edge did not exactly have the recognition he deserved. Probably it was because of some meaningless championship reigns. But it never really justified the case.
Edge never made the headlines like Triple H or John Cena. He never had the adulation that HBK and Taker have. His technical acumen was never revered as much as Chris Jericho or Kurt Angle. His mic work was never regarded in the same leagues as those of the greats of that art.
Hence, people often wondered about the list of his tremendous accomplishments. To just put it in a perspective, he has more accolades than the HBK and the Undertaker. What was the factor that made it possible?
Answers are several here. He was always there in the top 10 of every single category mentioned above. He was perhaps one of the most all-around performers of his generation. He had an element of every single such factor in him.
Secondly, he was extremely loyal. It is something that Vince admires more than anything else. He never left WWE except for injuries. His success would not have come without his loyalty.
He also had an “it” factor. That “it” included the flare of a dream. “It” included an attitude that takes you high, and “it” included undying passion that keeps you on top. Without his drive and passion, Edge would have never been where he is.
Above all, he had tremendous gratitude for the fans and for the business that gave him an “edge” over others. It never mattered if he was injured or tired; when you had Edge in the ring, it was certain that you will get a good match or a segment.
He himself summed it up beautifully on Raw when he said that in spite of the steel plate in his neck, in spite of rods in his teeth, he came out there every time and gave his all to entertain us—the fans.
Losing such a performer is a great loss for WWE. Edge personified new WWE as much as John Cena has done, but probably in a different way. He was an outstanding entertainer with great wrestling skills. He was one of the most important parts of the puzzle called WWE’s policy in the last decade.
He fit well in Attitude Era, he was excellent during Ruthless Aggression and without him PG era would have been poorer. It is not something many WWE stars can boast of.
However, it is a greater loss for fans, especially for older fans. Fans always have a better connection with performers they have followed from childhood.
These superstars are bridges between the two generations of fans and performers. These superstars hold our hand and take us through the journey of our fandom. Edge was one such superstar. He was one of the last great stars from the days of Attitude Era. He gave us the same comfort that HBK, Taker and Triple H did.
With time, we have lost many bridges to our better days and fond memories. We could relieve some dear moments, when these stars were there. We are losing this luxury faster than ever and the departure of Edge has expedited the process.
With Edge gone, we are now left with sparse appearances of the Undertaker and Triple H. These guys were part of our life for the better part of our lives. Losing them is quite akin to losing a part of ourselves and our joy. The void and the emptiness we feel is beyond words. It is something we dreaded the most and it is something that is upon us.
One thing, however, is certain: Edge’s story will remain an inspiration for all. A boy from Canada without any background in the business chased his dream like a stallion. He did not take the shortcuts. It was his passion and devotion that took him where he truly belongs. When opportunities came along, he turned them into the milestones.
This story is a story of a true superstar, of an ultimate opportunist.
We thank you, Edge, for all the memories and those wonderful 14 years.