Last week countless Edge articles were written. An assortment of tributes, finest moments, and analysis of his departure highlighted this site's landscape. This article will be about the void Edge leaves behind on Smackdown.
Edge's void on the blue brand cannot be easily replaced. There are not a whole lot of full-time top faces on Smackdown.
It is no secret Edge was the face of Smackdown as soon as he moved over from Raw in October 2010. His ill-advised heel turn on Raw evolved into a face turn on Smackdown as he targeted the "stupid" in Jack Swagger's eagle (ironically Chavo Guerrero), Michael Cole, and the anonymous Raw General Manager.
But you already know that.
WWE desperately needs to find a guy to replace Edge as the top face of Smackdown. But who can carry that mantle?
It would not be practical to move John Cena to the "B" show or force Undertaker or Triple H to work a full-time schedule. These top ten guys must either be a face or have a good, logical reason to turn face.
That means you won't see guys such as Wade Barrett or Alberto Del Rio on here. You also won't see guys currently not employed with WWE. This means no Chris Jericho, A.J. Styles, or even Kurt Angle.
Furthermore, they will be thrust into the main event scene almost immediately. They must be ready to handle the pressure Edge faced weekly. My list will feature guys with experience, youth, or even both.
Note I will not take into account the brand separation because superstars already switch brands all the time or appear outside of their show.
First, I will list wrestlers on the honorable mention list.
This Rock video is an opening promo of an episode of Smackdown back in the summer of 1999.
1. Kane- Works much better as a heel. He certainly has the experience and the popularity to be the top guy. I don't see Kane's gimmick allowing him to be a true face of the company type guy. Plus he is over 40 years old and was already the face of Smackdown last year.
2. Undertaker- He is clearly approaching the end of his career. By default he is the top guy on Smackdown but his injuries will never allow him to wrestle on a regular basis.
3. Booker T- He could return to the ring but is better off as an announcer once he correctly identifies the wrestlers in the ring.
4. Alberto Del Rio- It appears he is soon heading to Raw if he cannot beat Christian at Extreme Rules. Nevertheless he is one of the top heels in the company and is due for the World Heavyweight Championship at some point.
5. Cody Rhodes- When you are feuding with Rey Mysterio, you are not turning face anytime soon.
6. Evan Bourne- Phenomenal in the ring. But we haven't heard him talk yet. A move to Smackdown would benefit him.
7. Sin Cara- Does he even speak English?
8. Hornswoggle- You still paying attention?
I have always been a big fan of the Masterpiece. He has some traits needed to be a main-event player. He just needs to have some kind of sustainable push to get himself over with the fans.
Pros: His physique alone makes him worthy of main-event status in WWE's eyes. His Masterlock full-nelson finisher is one of the most devastating submissions in the WWE.
He even has some main-event experience in 2005, earning a WWE Championship shot against Kurt Angle and John Cena. He has also feuded with Shawn Michaels.
Cons: Masters' past drug use has had him fired in the past. He has a second chance in WWE thanks to some connections. It is rumored Randy Orton pushed WWE to bring Masters back.
His mic skills, while acceptable, are certainly a step back from Edge's ability on the mic. He is not over with the fans. Perhaps he is better suited as a heel. Most importantly he will leave a huge void on Superstars.
Verdict: Has all the physical tools but past indiscretions are holding him back. A Chris Masters-Wade Barrett feud for the Intercontinental Championship would certainly be a good start. This is a long-term solution for a short-term problem.
His theme song alone can push him into the spotlight. There is not one thing McIntyre does not have to be a star. He has been dubbed the Chosen One for a reason.
However, with his minor feud with Edge over, he is lost in the shuffle. But a lot of big names have been lost in the shuffle before. A good way to turn face is to attack Michael Cole.
Pros: He has mic skills, in-ring aggression, a strong finisher, the look, the size, an awesome theme song, and one cool accent.
Cons: Hasn't gotten over with the fans and is still a heel. Also his Chosen One gimmick did not boost him to the main event as many expected. In fact he might be a much better heel.
Verdict: There are better choices than Drew. I do think though he will be a main-event player someday. An Intercontinental Championship run as a face can only help him in his potential ascent to replace Edge.
A feud with Wade Barrett over that belt would be the perfect way to get him over as a face.
Remember all the furor over Daniel Bryan's release? Remember his domination of Nexus at Summerslam? Remember his victory over the Miz at Night of Champions?
I don't blame you if you can't remember the best of Daniel Bryan in the WWE. After losing the US Title to Sheamus he is just another name lost in the mid-card shuffle. His WrestleMania rematch with Sheamus was even relegated to a dark match. That's just not right.
Pros: Best technical wrestler in the WWE. Manages to make anyone look good in the ring (Miz, Nexus members, etc). He has many years of wrestling experience. He delivered during the main event of Summerslam.
Cons: Doesn't have the look or the size of a main-event player. His mic skills are solidly average. His eccentric theme song is truly uninspiring. Maybe a change in theme to "Final Countdown" (his old Ring of Honor theme song) can help him.
Verdict: A ready-made rekindled feud with Michael Cole can kick-start his run on Smackdown. Feuding with Alberto Del Rio over the World Heavyweight Championship can make a compelling feud between the elitist Del Rio and the everyman Daniel Bryan.
This feud can pique fans' interest. Not to mention a submission match between the two can put the wrestling back in WWE once again.
This video shown in 2009 was when Kofi Kingston made a brief ascent into the main event. His epic attack on Randy Orton at Madison Square Garden was the highlight of Kingston's career.
For whatever reason Kingston's push was halted and he moved to Smackdown. He has won two Intercontinental Championships in his current stint on Smackdown. He is currently lost in the shuffle in the mid-card.
Pros: Very popular with the fans and very marketable. His athleticism is undeniably impressive. He has had excellent matches with Dolph Ziggler along with Jack Swagger. His potential popularity in Africa can create new business opportunities for WWE in that continent.
Cons: While his mic skills are not mute the channel worthy, he is not the greatest talker. Kingston had such great matches with Ziggler and Swagger because they wrestled for the Intercontinental Championship every Smackdown for a couple of months.
Verdict: Hopefully he won't be a part of the annual purge. Regardless he is stuck as a mid-carder. A change to his gimmick can only help his development. Why not Here Comes the Boom by Nelly as a new theme song?
"Let the Rock tell you something, you overgrown 500 pound bag of monkey crap?" The Rock once said to the Big Show on Raw the night after No Way Out 1999. "You can main event Smackdown in 2011 once Edge retires."
Did The Rock actually say that? IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THE ROCK SAID THAT!!!
Paul "Big Show" Wight has had an illustrious career. He has won the WWE Championship twice, the ECW Championship once, and the WCW Championship twice, making him the first ever person to hold these three championships.
In addition he has starred in the film Knucklehead, which was a knucklehead decision for WWE to even release.
Pros: Popularity with fans, an actual heavyweight who can reign supreme over Smackdown, experience, and mic skills are solid.
Cons: Nearing the end of his career and very slow in the ring. He is nearing the end of that illustrious career. Furthermore he seems to enjoy his role as mid-card baby face enforcer.
Verdict: He can be a stopgap solution to be the top face on Smackdown until there is another man ready to handle the challenge.
This picture was a younger Rey Mysterio capturing the Cruiserweight Title in WCW. This was when he was at his prime. Now he is a shadow of his former self.
Nevertheless the master of the 619 has managed to win two World Heavyweight Championships at WWE. But no one in WWE is under any illusions, Mysterio is clearly nearing the end. Unfortunately for Rey cons far outweigh the pros.
Pros: One of the most popular superstars in the WWE today. Still has tremendous in-ring skills, although injuries have caught up to him. He has the experience to be the top guy on Smackdown if called upon.
Cons: Injuries, injuries, injuries. His mic skills have never been the greatest. He has put guys like Undertaker out of commission with his propensity to be a bit sloppy in the ring.
His feud with Cody Rhodes is keeping him away from the main event right now. He is also nearing the end of his career.
Another problem I have is he beats guys like Kane and Jack Swagger cleanly. As the WWE Champion would say, really?
Verdict: Same as Big Show, he can be a temporary stopgap until they find someone else. A feud with Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship can reap huge dividends in the Mexican market.
Give me one reason why Jack Swagger won the World Heavyweight Championship last year? Any answers are welcome in the comment section.
I'll give you a reason, because WWE needed new blood at the time. Smackdown was depleted after Raw hijacked all of their main-event guys and had a major void.
His reign was terrible because WWE did him no favors. At least he retained cleanly against Edge and Jericho on Smackdown and against Randy Orton at Extreme Rules. His cocky heel persona was replaced by a generic suit-wearing heel.
He looked nervous every time he talked and lost his swagger (pun intended). His gimmick of old has returned but not the results. Now he is training Michael Cole to wrestle. Michael Cole!
Pros: Swagger can easily turn face by attacking Cole. That would automatically get him over with the fans. Has in-ring skills galore along with Kurt Angle's finisher. Whoops my bad, the ankle lock was popularized by Ken Shamrock.
His look and size are impressive. He can actually draw mainstream attention as he was a former football player at Oklahoma. Moreover his connection with Jim Ross (both Oklahoma guys) always helps.
Cons: His mic skills are hurt by a speech impediment. During his run as champion, the crowd was not booing him as they should. Another problem he has is his demotion to the mid-card since he lost his World Heavyweight Championship. WWE has passed on numerous occasions to turn Swagger face.
Verdict: Swagger might be better off as a face on Raw instead. An alliance with Jim Ross will put him over with the fans. He even looks like a face instead of a heel.
Another run with the World Heavyweight Championship as a face or a heel would be extremely risky, especially with his uninspiring run last year.
A move to Smackdown might be the best thing for the Shaman of Sexy, also known as the Guru of Greatness. He almost reached main-event status on Smackdown by losing to Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship and on Raw by losing to the Miz for the WWE Championship.
Pros: That video rests my case in terms of athleticism. His chiseled physique does him plenty of favors. He has managed to make people look good in the ring, such as Miz.
His matches with Sheamus and Chris Jericho were fantastic. An aspect of his much-maligned mic skills that stand out is his ability to make fun of people, especially in interviews.
Don't believe me? Check out his work as a heel on The Dirt Sheet.
Cons: His much-maligned mic skills are not the worst ever. But they are not top tier. His inability to get on Vince McMahon's good side won't help him, either. I am not even going to mention his recent backstage issues.
Verdict: Out of all the guys previously listed he has the best chance of main-eventing. A move to Smackdown can thrust him into the main event scene. More importantly a change of scenery can help his recent backstage trouble.
This is a fairly obvious choice to replace Edge. As Edge's real life best friend, he would make a perfect face of Smackdown until he hangs it up. His peeps have been calling upon Vince McMahon to forgive him for leaving for TNA and give him the World Heavyweight Championship.
Some other peeps have called for a heel turn. With Edge's retirement final, that heel turn just is not happening anytime soon.
Pros: In-ring skills, mic skills, friendship with Edge, charisma, dedication to the wrestling business, in tremendous shape, and fan support from not just the IWC but the WWE Universe.
Cons: I don't know. Vince may not like him. That's a rumor, not a fact. Christian has never main-evented WWE on a consistent basis in the past. Going to TNA did him no favors either. Also he is on the downside of his career.
Verdict: He is more than ready to be a main-event player. Trust me, I am not just some blind peep. Christian is Captain Charisma for a reason.
Edge's retirement is the perfect launching pad for Christian to finally be the top guy on Smackdown. A run with the World Heavyweight Championship can do just that. Just as long as he defeats Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules.
But he is ranked No. 2 for a reason. There is one guy who can be the face of Smackdown in 2011 and beyond.
I want to make this perfectly clear. Randy Orton can never be the face of WWE as long as John Cena is employed. As long as Cena is wrestling full-time, Orton will always be in his shadow.
How can WWE solve this problem? By firing John Cena! Yeah. No. Unless if WWE wants to lose millions in merchandise and let John Cena be the top guy in Immortal.
The solution is by moving Randall Keith Orton to Smackdown once his feud with CM Punk ends. Maybe even draft him to Smackdown.
He does not need the World Heavyweight Championship to be the top guy on Smackdown. He can feud with the likes of Alberto Del Rio and even Christian.
Pros: Popularity with the WWE, an established main-event player, quality in-ring skills (although predictable, the RKO is still a strong finisher), and his punt to the skull is a huge asset to Orton (and for the writers).
Cons: His mic skills as the Viper can get fairly boring and monotone. Orton may not want to move to Smackdown or John Cena may take some extended time off after his feud with the Miz. Raw may need him more than Smackdown.
Verdict: The best choice to be the top guy of Smackdown.
Here are ten guys who could be the top face of Smackdown. Although some of them may seem like a long shot, just remember who the WWE Champion is.
He went from jobber to mid-carder to eventually WWE Champion in a fairly short amount of time. That man is awesome. Just remember that Ryan Secrest wannabe a few years ago.
Another thing this article shows is the void in great face mic workers in the company. There are many good heel talkers such as CM Punk, Miz, Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, etc. But other than Christian, Cena, and Orton, there are not too many great face talkers.
Most importantly it truly shows the value Edge brought to the table. He will be missed.
But there are suitable replacements. Maybe WWE can open up the pocketbook and raid guys from the Impact Zone if they cannot find any guys from within to carry the torch. A face of Smackdown by committee system could work as a temporary solution.
As always comments are welcome and thanks for reading my article.