Evolution of Edge: A Look Back at the Rated R Superstar
It's 1998. The Attitude Era is in full effect. With the likes of Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H and The Undertaker dominating the wrestling scene, one man quietly entered the WWE. At the time, I was a six-year-old who was obsessed with seeing The Rock or Stone Cold in action.
I feared the mere presence of The Undertaker, especially after the horrific things he had done to Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble. I didn't understand the reasoning behind Michaels leaving the WWE. DX was just getting started when he disappeared all of a sudden. I was trumped. I didn't expect some of the changes to come.
On one episode of RAW, I witnessed history. This strikingly awkward blonde entered the arena through the crowd. He looked familiar from the small videos I had seen some weeks before. He literally beat up guys on the street. Because of my adolescence I found the beatings humorous.
That's when I began to follow his career. His name was Edge. As the months passed he hadn't done much to keep my attention, so I turned away until he was embroiled in a feud with Gangrel. It was hard to ignore the thought of Edge feuding with a Vampire.
I was intrigued. As a horror fanatic I took an instant liking to the situation. When Edge's brother Christian was brought in as Gangrel's ally, it made the situation more interesting. A little sibling rivalry. However, Edge joined them to form the Brood, a group of blood sucking Vampires. Awesome!
Before The Brood could get on the right track, they were placed into the Ministry of Darkness though the union was somewhat short lived. A mistake by Christian caused The Undertaker to accuse betrayal. Edge and Gangrel sided with him and broke away from the Ministry.
Over before it began.
Edge struck singles success when he defeated Jeff Jarrett for the IC Title, though Jarrett would win it back immediately. By now I lost interest in the WWF. Nothing was done to retain my viewership until E&C came across the Hardy Boyz.
The Hardy's were extreme! I loved their style of wrestling. Their stunts have left me countless memories. When Gangrel turned on E&C and reformed the Brood with Hardy Boyz, I saw a huge feud approaching. In a series of matches where the Hardy's came out on top, the best was yet to come.
At Wrestlemania 2000, E&C faced the Dudley's and Hardy's in a ladder match. Though not officially recognized, this was indeed the first TLC match in WWE history. Arguably the best match of the night, E&C pulled out the win.
I was starstruck!
I loved the efforts of all three teams and believed nothing could top that. Boy was I wrong. E&C would defend their tag titles against the Hardy's and Dudley's in three more TLC matches, retaining in each. They also developed new gimmicks. The cocky blondes who always struck a five-second pose!
After multiple title losses and defenses, E&C's last title reign ended at the hands of Undertaker and Kane. As 2001 rolled around, Edge began branching out from the tag team scene, winning the King of the Ring and defeating Kurt Angle in the finals.
As the weeks passed, Christian grew more and more jealous of his brother's success. I predicted the duo to break up sooner or later. Edge had became a face while Christian remained a heel. Christian later turned on Edge after he won the IC Title at Summerslam.
One of my favorite tag teams had exploded and there was no turning back. Christian beat Edge for the title only to lose it back to him weeks later. With WCW's U.S. title around Kurt Angle's waist, Edge beat Angle for the title. He and Test went against each other in a unification match.
Test had already defeated him for the IC Title. Edge defeated Test unifying both titles. The U.S. Title was dropped as Edge held on to the IC Title. He later lost it to William Regal. Edge was later drafted to Smackdown!
He became involved in another feud with Kurt Angle, culminating in a hair vs hair match. The Rated R Superstar beat Angle and gave him his signature bald head. After numerous WWE Title matches against the likes of Big Show and Brock Lesnar, Edge was Smackdowns! hottest star.
After holding the tag team titles on numerous occasions, Edge suffered a neck injury forcing him out of action for a year. Still young, I figured Edge would've returned at the following Smackdown! I still remember Stephanie McMahon finding him backstage at No Way Out.
The ordeal seemed so real.
I soon forgot about Edge. He faded out of existence until the 2004 Draft Lottery. Edge was drafted to RAW. I was ecstatic. When he was announced, he didn't appear so I figured he would be absent for another period of time.
To my surprise, Edge showed up later in the night, spearing Eric Bischoff. Finally! Things were going to change. Though he wasn't World Champion, Triple H still dominated the RAW scene. I was happy for Benoit but I expected Hunter to regain the title sooner or later.
After a short lived tag title reign with Benoit, Edge set his sights on Randy Orton. Orton was seven months into his IC Title reign. The guy seemed unbeatable. Thanks to Ric Flair and a handful of tights, Orton retained.
Honestly, I was actually disgusted with Randy and Evolution. I was sick of them running RAW. I felt Orton had the title long enough and Edge's momentum was halted. When Vengeance approached, I was surprised to see Edge receiving a rematch.
After all, Bischoff did everything Evolution told him to.
Edge beat Orton at Vengeance. Finally! I was glad to see that Edge wiped that smug look off Orton's face. While I was ecstatic about him winning the title, Edge's character became more and more sinister as the weeks passed.
He was stripped of the IC Title shortly afterwards. His treatment of fellow face Chris Jericho assured me that Edge was switching sides. At Taboo Tuesday, Edge abandoned Chris Benoit in a tag title match and cost HBK the World Title, cementing his heel status.
I didn't hate Edge at all. I could see his frustration at attempting to win the World Title. He was unsuccessful in a controversial triple threat match involving Benoit and Triple H. He lost in the Elimination Chamber. Edge was the first eliminated.
I didn't understand the reason behind this. It seemed like WWE wanted him to succeed but at the same time they didn't. Edge's luck turned around when he won the MITB at WrestleMania 21. Shortly afterwards the details of an affair with Lita went public.
She was Matt Hardy's girlfriend at the time. Hardy was one of Edge's best friends. Hardy was released for the situation. Edge was already heel, but fans were outraged by his actions and he became the most hated superstar on the roster.
After trading wins with a returning Hardy, Edge defeated Hardy in a ladder match, sending him to Smackdown! Now this is when my hate for Edge went overboard. He and Hardy were my two favorite WWE Superstars.
It sickened me that he had a real life affair with Lita. When Hardy was punished for it, I turned the channel every time I saw him on television. Edge was later injured and the WWE quietly hid it. He retained his on screen role with the Cutting Edge.
He trashed Ric Flair on multiple occasions, including a hilarious parody of Flair's road rage incident featuring current TNA X Division Champion Robbie E as the victim. The segment was so funny I set aside my hatred for Edge.
This lead to a IC Title match at New Year's Revolution. Edge purposely got disqualified. Leaving Flair a bloody and battered mess, Edge's night wasn't over. After John Cena won the Elimination Chamber, Edge cashed in his MITB.
Shocking me and the live crowd, Edge easily defeated Cena to win his first WWE Championship. People said it was a new era, the Rated R Era, and that Edge would hold the title for a long time. Sound familiar? Well, Edge lost the title back to Cena three weeks later.
He lost a subsequent rematch as well.
Blaming Foley for his loss, Edge defeated him at WrestleMania in a hardcore match. Edge resumed his focus on the WWE Title, losing in a triple threat match including Cena and Triple H. Edge once again dropped out of the title picture.
Until defeating the Big Show in a No. 1 contenders match, Edge cost John Cena his WWE Title in a match with RVD. Once again, it caught me off guard. Cena seemed damn near invincible. Edge cost Cena his first two title reigns.
ECW now had control of the WWE Title. Edge attempted to bring the title back home, only to lose to RVD at Vengeance. I didn't care too much for this loss. I figured Edge would rebound sooner or later.
That he did. In a triple threat match on RAW, Edge regained the WWE Title after pinning RVD. Because of the circumstances, John Cena received a rematch at Summerslam. Edge took the feud to another level when he slapped Cena's dad in their home.
In Cena's hometown, Edge pinned him after a shot with brass knucks. Edge attempted to usher in the Rated R Era. Even introducing a new WWE Title. I figured Edge was on his way to a lengthy title reign. Not. John Cena was persistent and persuaded Edge into one more match.
Cena would leave for Smackdown! if he lost and Edge was allowed to pick the stipulation. In Edge's signature TLC match in his hometown, he lost the WWE Championship to Cena once again. My reaction was humorous. Edge had gotten FU'd off of the ladder threw two tables.
After losing a rematch to Cena, Edge blamed DX for his loss. He formed Rated RKO with Randy Orton. I knew DX was in trouble, big time. Rated RKO handed DX their first loss since returning as a tag team. DX would return the favor after a clean sweep at Survivor Series.
Rated RKO orchestrated vicious attacks on Legends like Roddy Piper and Ric Flair. Eventually capturing their tag titles. The feud with DX intensified afterwards. Culminating in a match at New Year's Revolution, DX left Edge and Orton in pools of blood.
In the process, Triple H injured his other quad.
Rated RKO's problems began to surface because of Edge's selfishness, leaving Orton victim to a vicious beatdown by Shawn Michaels. Despite lasting to the final four in the Royal Rumble, Rated RKO still dissolved. After losing the tag team titles to HBK and Cena, Edge and Orton went against one another in the MITB Ladder match.
Edge didn't make it to the end. The Charismatic Enigma destroyed Edge in a dive off the ladder. Edge set his sights in John Cena's WWE Title in a losing effort at Backlash. After officially ending Rated RKO, Edge challenged Mr. Kennedy for his MITB. After a pre-match beatdown, Edge easily defeated Kennedy for the briefcase.
I knew Edge would reclaim a World Title sooner or later, but the question was who would he cash in on? Edge shocked the world again. He cashed his MITB in on a beaten Undertaker to win the World Heavyweight Title.
The Ultimate Opportunist struck again. Edge's next challenger was Batista. I gave him no chance of besting the Animal in any match. To my surprise Edge defeated Batista on three different occasions, including a last chance match. Edge's reign was short-lived as he injured his pectoral muscle.
He relinquished the World Title and wasn't on WWE programming for months. The Ultimate Opportunist returned once again, costing Undertaker the title in a Hell in a Cell match with Batista. Edge's relationship with Vickie Guerrero led him to a triple threat World Title match against Batista and Taker. With an assist by the Major Brothers, Edge captured the World title again.
Edge followed up this victory with two wins over Rey Mysterio at the Royal Rumble and No Way Out. Undertaker rose from the ashes as Edge's next challenger. Edge would be next in line to challenge Taker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
I gave Edge a slight chance of winning. Edge showed people why he could put on a five-star match, kicking out of the Tombstone Piledriver at one point. At the moment I believed Edge would end the streak. However, Edge was trapped in Hell's Gate and lost his world title.
Though overshadowed by Flair vs Michaels, Edge vs Undertaker was the best match of the night! Edge lost a subsequent rematch to Taker at Backlash before he was stripped of the title. I found stripping a man because of a move he's used countless times before was idiotic. I just figured it was an easy way to put the title back on Edge.
However Taker defeated Edge by countout at Judgement Day, only to have the title re-vacated because of the count out. Edge would regain the title and banish Taker from the WWE in a TLC Match. With the contendership scarce, Batista stepped up as the next challenger.
Thanks to interference by La Familia, Edge retained. The next night on RAW, Edge cut one of the most hilarious promos in RAW history, mocking Good Ol' J.R. and informing RAW of its lack of a World Title. Edge's bragging would ultimately cost him.
Batista, seeking revenge for the night before, pummeled Edge and ended the beatdown with a Batista Bomb. Mr. Money in the Bank, CM Punk, cashed in his briefcase on Edge to win the World Title. Edge was infuriated and blamed Hawkins and Ryder for the loss.
Edge then set his sights on WWE Champion Triple H. At the same time, Edge was embroiled in his own personal problems. Triple H revealed a video of Edge making out with the Wedding planner better known as Alicia Fox. Vickie was infuriated but Edge still had his WWE Championship match. After distraction by Alicia and Vickie, Edge lost after a pedigree.
I felt Edge was getting what he deserved. Years of manipulating led to his downfall. Edge's anger with Vickie led to her re-instating the Undertaker. She also placed Edge in a Hell in a Cell match with Taker. Edge seemed to show his vicious side over the next few weeks.
Destroying La Familia, Mick Foley and even causing physical harm to Vickie, I liked this side of Edge. We hadn't seen him this vicious since 2004. He had finally dropped the dirty ways and didn't need an assist from others. Though Undertaker defeated Edge, Edge put up a valiant effort in the ring, proving he's still one of the best.
Afterwards Edge disappeared from WWE Programing, but the Opportunist will always live up to his name. Edge returned at Survivor Series 2008. Taking Jeff Hardy's place in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship, with Kozlov and Triple H already exhausted, Edge picked the bones, spearing the WWE Champion until Hardy stopped the pinfall.
After an inadvertent chair shot to Triple H, Edge speared Jeff Hardy and pinned Triple H. That has got to be one of the most surprising returns ever. Edge went right back to the top of the mountain. Though Edge's reign would be short-lived, even the Opportunist could delay the WWE Title win of Jeff Hardy.
Hardy pinned Edge after a swanton bomb, but Edge received his rematch at the Royal Rumble. After the betrayal of Matt Hardy, Edge regained the WWE Title. I was kind of disappointed. Matt Hardy didn't fit the heel role to me. Jeff's reign was way to short.
At the same time, I noticed Edge didn't have a credible World title reign. When Edge defended his WWE Title in a Elimination Chamber, he was the first to be eliminated by none other than Jeff Hardy himself. Once again, The Opportunist always bounces back. Edge attacked Kofi Kingston and took his place in RAW's Elimination Chamber. Edge made an immediate impact and pinned champion John Cena.
After pinning Rey Mysterio, Edge regained the World Title. This didn't sit well with former World Champion John Cena. For some mysterious reason, Vickie Guerrero decided to give Big Show a World title match at WrestleMania. She also inserted John Cena in the match. Cena later revealed a video of Big Show and Vickie making out while Edge was in the shower.
John Cena regained the World Title from Edge at WrestleMania. Once again Cena ends Edge's reign. These two can't get enough of each other. Edge and Cena were set to face off once more, this time in a last man standing match. Before the match, Edge and Christian were reunited backstage, informing the newly crowned ECW Champion that he was sick of Cena and that Cena ruined his happiness.
Edge regained the World Title after a chokeslam into a stage light by the Big Show. Edge's next challenger would be the Charismatic Enigma. Reigniting their feud from a decade before, Edge was set to face Hardy in a singles match at Judgment Day. Thanks to an assist by Matt Hardy, Edge retained after a top rope edgecution.
In a rematch at Extreme Rules, Edge was set to face Hardy in their signature match, the Ladder match. After a brutal match by both competitors, Hardy once again defeated Edge for the World Title. Edge finally dropped out of the World Title picture.
A night after losing the World Title, Edge once again showed his superb mic ability. He bashed Vickie Guerrero numerous times before announcing he wanted a divorce, much to the delight of the live audience.
At the time, I thought it would've been a better idea. Edge was looking weak as the World Champion. No credible wins or reigns to his resume. Edge then teamed with Y2J to easily win the Unified Tag team titles from the Colons. Before Rated Y2J could get off the ground, Edge tore his Achilles tendon.
I really would've enjoyed Rated Y2J's reign as Champions. Edge was gone from us once again. Jericho blamed Edge and called him injury prone. Edge vowed to Y2J that he would return better than ever. That he was going to prove all the critics wrong.
That he did, also turning face in the process.
Edge shocked the World, entering the Rumble at 29 at last eliminating John Cena to win the Rumble. The Rated R Superstar was back! Edge bided his time and waited after the Elimination Chamber to announce his choice. Arch-nemesis Y2J had already become World Champion.
Everything fell perfectly into place.
While I'm positive you're all up to date by now. Edge is currently pursuing the World Championship. If you've missed Smackdown!, Edge has kidnapped Paul Bearer and taunted the Big Red Machine for the past three weeks, clearly on his way to his first credible title reign.
He has an upcoming match at TLC in a TLC! match, his signature match. I expect to see a 10-time World Champion at the end of the night.
Apologize if this came off more as a biography. I wanted my first article as an analyst on EDGE!
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