10 Most Memorable Moments of Edge's WWE Career 21 Years After Debut

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

10 Most Memorable Moments of Edge's WWE Career 21 Years After Debut

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sunday marks the 21st anniversary of Edge's debut on WWE television, a bow that ended disastrously, as he landed on opponent Jose Estrada's head, injuring him. For any other Superstar, such an inauspicious first night would spell doom for their career.

    For Edge, it was a learning experience, one he grew and evolved from.

    Within a year, he was stealing pay-per-view events out from underneath Steve Austin and Triple H, wowing audiences with revolutionary ladder matches and tag team spectaculars. Within five, he was labeled the future of the industry and was one of the most popular stars on the roster.

    A neck injury halted his progression but a return and rebirth as a villain provided his character life and allowed him to achieve the goals he set out for himself while watching Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior trade promos ahead of WrestleMania VI in Toronto.

    When all was said and done, the Rated R Superstar would be an 11-time world champion, five-time intercontinental champion, a 14-time tag team champion, Royal Rumble winner, King of the Ring and inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match winner.

    Two decades after he first exploded on to televisions sets as the enigmatic competitor, relive Edge's Hall of Fame career through these 10 defining moments.

10. Whatcha Gonna Do, Brother?

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    Imagine having the opportunity to team with your childhood hero.

    The July 4, 2002, episode of SmackDown saw Edge, still seeking that proverbial rub as a main event player in WWE, partnering with Hulk Hogan to challenge Billy and Chuck for the WWE Tag Team Championships. A pre-match promo featured the young Torontonian clad in Hogan's gear and cutting a promo, not unlike the ones he watched endlessly as a kid.

    Later, Edge joined Hogan in dropping the big leg drop and realizing a childhood dream as they captured the gold on the most patriotic night of the year.

    The jubilance on the face of the Superstar on whom SmackDown was betting its future was apparent as he waved the American flag, embraced the man responsible for his fandom and basked in the glory of his most significant win yet.

    For Edge, it was more of a sentimental moment, but the fact that WWE Creative and CEO Vince McMahon chose him for that spot was indicative of the popularity he was gaining among higher-ups backstage.

9. No Disqualification with Eddie Guerrero

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    Despite all the accomplishments Edge had achieved up to September 26, 2002, there was still a sense among fans that he had been chosen by management to be the future of the company because he was a handsome dude with a marketable look who could sell T-shirts and coin catchphrases.

    His in-ring mettle had yet to be tested in singles competition.

    That would all change on a memorable edition of SmackDown when Edge battled rival Eddie Guerrero in a No Disqualification match.

    Just booking the two of them together was almost grounds for a show-stealing performance. Throw in the stipulation that allowed them to use their creativity to tell the latest chapter of their rivalry, and you had the makings of a classic.

    They did not disappoint.

    In a star-making performance as much for Guerrero as it was for Edge, the Superstars beat the unholy hell out of each other and reminding fans there was hatred between the characters. There were nerve-racking spots that tested the fans' squeamishness and moments in which you just hoped both men would get up.

    They did, and in grand fashion, the contest culminated with an impaler DDT from the top of the ladder that finally put away Guerrero and resulted in a signature win for Edge that only further earned him recognition as the face of WWE's bright future.

8. One Giant Leap for Edge

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    WrestleMania X-Seven was the culmination of WWE's Attitude Era as fans knew it, and one of the biggest attractions on that card was the second Tables, Ladders and Chairs match between Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz.

    Little did anyone know that, among the violence and chaos, there would be one awe-inspiring moment that continues to feature in WWE highlight packages to this day.

    At one point in the match, Jeff Hardy found himself dangling from the hook holding the tag titles high in the air. With no ladder to lean on or support in his vicinity, he was a hanging target. Edge scaled an enormous ladder, leaped off and delivered a spear that drove both himself and Hardy to the ground below.

    It was a moment in time that popped the crowd, gave some insight to the lengths in which Edge was willing to go in order to to entertain the audience and demonstrated his creativity between the ropes.

    All of which would come in handy over the years.

7. The Terri Invitational Tournament Finals

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    There are certain moments in a performer's career you can point to as the turning point. For Edge, that the No Mercy 1999 tag team ladder match pitting him and Christian against Matt and Jeff Hardy.

    A beautiful mess of twisted steel and an unabashed desire to be better than their position on the card suggested, the match catapulted the four competitors into notoriety and ensured their days of midcard mediocrity were over.

    Edge and Christian lost the match, but the aftermath, which saw fans give the lifelong friends a standing ovation, ensured there were no losers in the artistic car crash that captivated the audience and left them in awe of the risks the Superstars were willing to go for their entertainment.

    The acclaim continued the next night in State College, Pennsylvania, where both teams were greeted with the respect and adulation of the WWE faithful.

    At a time when the industry was dominated by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and Mankind, Edge and his show-stealing cohorts broke out and made themselves household names within the wrestling industry.

6. Royal Rumble Winner

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    In the summer of 2009, Edge suffered a torn Achilles tendon that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. By January, he was ready to return to the squared circle. What better place to jump back into the mix than the annual Royal Rumble, wherein he arrived at No. 29.

    Focused primarily on avenging months of criticism and mockery at the hands of Chris Jericho, the returning hero eliminated him and then speared John Cena to the floor to pick up his first Rumble win.

    The victory cashed his ticket to WrestleMania XXVI, but it was the triumphant return that everyone most cared about.

    A Superstar plagued by untimely injuries throughout his career, timing finally benefited Edge, bringing him back to the fold just in time for the most important run of the year. Though he did not successfully wrest the title away from Jericho at WrestleMania, he did rev up for one last, strong and title-filled run before being forced into retirement within a year.

5. A Live Sex Celebration

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    Just 24 hours after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and winning the WWE Championship, Edge celebrated the only way a lewd, crude and tattooed heel would: with a Live Sex Celebration.

    Commandeering the squared circle in the night's main event angle, Edge and Lita disrobed for a boundaries-pushing segment that only garnered them further heat. John Cena would interrupt, drop Edge with an Attitude Adjustment and follow with one on Lita, earning a bit of revenge following the unceremonious manner in which he lost the WWE title the night before.

    There were two things that came out of the entire ordeal: Edge and Lita became the top heel act in the industry, proving to management they could carry what, on paper, was a very awkward segment. Furthermore, Lita's accidental wardrobe malfunction, captured on live television, infuriated the officials of Hershey's Giant Center so much that WWE was not invited back to the family-friendly arena for a live television broadcast for more than three years.

    It was edgy (pun intended), possibly crossed the line of good taste and left a bad one in others' mouths, but it was effective. And all these years later, it remains one of the most memorable moments in the Hall of Fame career of The Rated R Superstar.

4. Money in the Bank

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    A return from neck injury and a heel turn in late 2004 had Edge rolling into WrestleMania 21 as a heel for the first time in his singles career. No longer with Christian to play off of, he was still finding his feet in the role when he battled his former tag team partner, Chris Benoit, Shelton Benjamin, Kane and Chris Jericho in the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match on Wrestling's Grandest Stage.

    In a moment that would earn him his reputation as one of the most opportunistic stars in WWE history, Edge returned to the squared circle late in the match, blasted Benoit's previously established injured left arm with a steel chair, climbed the ladder and retrieved the briefcase to earn himself a championship match at any time over the next year.

    The win, in such a historic bout, was yet another accolade to add to his resume, but it was the victory that would come following his guaranteed title opportunity that would skyrocket Edge into a whole new stratosphere.

3. WrestleMania Goes Hardcore

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    TLC I and II. The Kurt Angle series in 2002. The No Holds Barred match with Eddie Guerrero. Money in the Bank.

    All of those matches were instrumental in making Edge the performer he was by 2006. Without them, his story may not be one of success. Make no mistake about it, though: For the sake of his status as a main event attraction, there is no more important match in the long and acclaimed career of the Rated R Superstar than his WrestleMania 22 hardcore match with Mick Foley.

    It was very much a test to see whether he could, once and for all, silence the critics and doubters that he was a main event player. On Wrestling's Grandest Stage, he not only dealt an ass-kicking to The Hardcore Legend, but he also endured incredible punishment, including a side suplex on to a bed of thumbtacks.

    The brutality escalated with every passing moment until Lita set a table ablaze and Edge rushed across the squared circle, spearing Foley from the ring apron through it.

    The "holy s--t!"-chant-inducing moment was not only the highlight of that year's show. It remained in WrestleMania video packages well into the dawn of the PG Era, demonstrating the lasting effect Edge and Foley's war of attrition had on the product, its fans and the history of wrestling's most celebrated event.

2. Cashing In

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    The image of a bloodied John Cena, having just survived a hellacious Elimination Chamber match, easily could have closed out the January 8, 2006, New Year's Revolution pay-per-view.

    It would have sucked, but it easily could have.

    Instead, Mr. McMahon's iconic "No Chance in Hell" played, and the boss waltzed out to the entrance ramp to reveal that the night's show was not over. Not yet. Instead, there would be one more match—for the WWE Championship.

    Edge appeared, handed over the Money in the Bank briefcase he had held on to for nearly a year and rushed to the ring. A few near-falls and a blood pressure of 200 later, and Edge had realized yet another childhood dream as he hoisted the WWE Championship.

    Tears rolled down the Rated R Superstar's face, with the enormity of the moment far too real to worry about staying true to his heel persona. The fans in Albany, New York, erupted in a celebration of the title change, celebrating along with the guy they had watched evolve from a tag team specialist all the way to a show-stealing lead villain.

    The moment set the tone for all cash-ins that followed and gave Edge the proverbial ball to run with.

    At least for a few short weeks.

1. The Main Event

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    If WrestleMania 22's match with Mick Foley established Edge as a legitimate headliner, WrestleMania XXIV cemented his status as one of the industry's giants.

    On a show that featured the hotly anticipated bout between boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and The Big Show, Ric Flair's retirement match against Shawn Michaels and a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship between Triple H, John Cena and Randy Orton, The Rated R Superstar was chosen to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against The Undertaker in the night's final bout.

    To main-event WrestleMania, for anyone, is a big deal. To be chosen to dance with The Deadman at a time when his undefeated streak as at its peak was an honor.

    On that night in Orlando, Florida, Edge and Undertaker tore the house down with an exceptional main event that culminated with The Phenom overcoming interference from Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder and tapping out Edge with Hell's Gate to win the title.

    It was a great match, constructed by two all-timers under the brightest lights imaginable. After years spent trying to prove himself to management, creative and other Superstars that he was main event material, he was able to bask in the glory that came along with that spot on the card. And he did so in grand fashion.