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Mat Matters: A great career comes to an end
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Edge wins over Alberto del Rio at WrestleMania 27 to retain the World Heavyweight title. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea




If watching WWE over the last few weeks has taught me anything, itís to expect the unexpected. Weíve seen The Rock come back, Steve Austin looks like heís ready to return to action and Jim Ross is back behind the announce desk.

In a different vein, based on the rumours around the Ďnet, I expected to see Triple H retire after WrestleMania or perhaps see Rey Mysterioís final WWE match be the bout on the "greatest stage of them all."

What I didnít expect was to see one of my all-time favourites -- Edge -- retire.

But sure enough, WWEís favourite Canadian called it quits on Raw on Monday night.

To say Iím stunned is one way to put it, but another way to put it is that Iím thankful.

We donít need to go that far back in Edgeís history to see just how banged up the guy is. Heís been through hell and back several times over. If thereís a body part that hasnít been injured, bruised or broken, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

Itís no secret that Iíve been a huge Edge fan over the years, and count some of his matches, in particular his no holds barred match vs. Eddie Guerrero on Smackdown a few years back and his part in the Smackdown Six matches, as some of my favourites. He had that natural charisma that he emoted in every part of his career, be it as the Spawn-esque silent street hero, the '80s throwback that reeked of awesomeness, or the Rated R Superstar.

What Iíve respected most, perhaps, over the years about Edge, is that heís never hidden a damn thing. He spoke openly on TSN's Off the Record a few years back about experimenting with steroids, he didnít try to politic backstage to keep the controversy of the Lita/Matt Hardy incident off the screen, and heís never been shy about speaking his mind on or off screen.

WHAT YOU THINK
Which was your favourite Edge character?
The Rated R Superstar - 49%
The cheesy goofball - 20%
The recent hero - 8%
The Brood / dark coat - 8%
The evil heel - 7%
Sexton Hardcastle, baby! - 4%
Babyface Edge - 3%
So now the question becomes where does Edge rank on the list of the all-time greats? As Iíve outlined, Iím a major Edge mark so my opinion is definitely coloured; but I would have no trouble ranking him in the top 50, probably the top 30 or even 25. Why? Itís simple: when you define a top star, they have to have all the pieces -- being able to talk, compete and draw money at high levels. Edge was not only able to do that, but he was able to achieve all of these facets as both a heel and a babyface, and as a tag team combatant and a singles competitor.

When Edge first arrived in WWE, there were high expectations, thanks in part to his great run on the independent scene (which included a run in Winnipeg for Tony Condelloís IWA and a Northern Death Tour). There were even those that predicted that the man who in civilian clothes is known as Adam Copeland would be the next Ric Flair. In some ways, Edge did live up to those lofty expectations, given that just like Naitch, he retires with one of the largest trophy cases full of title belts of anyone in the industry. Thereís a reason why Edge has held virtually every title in WWE multiple times over -- the company knew that when he was in the ring, he could draw people in like almost no other. He made opponents look good and partners look like supermen.

But like I said earlier, Edge is leaving the ring before heís forced to. The eternal fear that we all had was that Edge would end up in a wheelchair, and it looks thus far like Edge will indeed avoid that fate, thankfully. As hard as it will be for Edge to leave the ring behind -- and there will be days where heíll rethink this decision -- heís made the best decision possible for his future.

In closing, I want to say thank you to Adam Copeland for treating fans to fantastic action for a near 20-year career and almost 15 years in WWE. Make no mistake about it, you will be missed, but your legions of Edgeheads know why you are doing what you are doing, and we all respect you for it.

RELATED LINKS

  • Edge bio and story archive
  • Edge Photo Gallery