Edge's Best, Worst and Most Infamous Moments in WWE Career
Edge celebrates his 47th birthday Friday, and while there have been others, this year's milestone is significant because it marks his first since returning to a job he was certain had passed him by.
A Hall of Famer, multi-time world champion, WrestleMania headliner and icon of the Ruthless Aggression Era, he accomplished everything he could between the ropes before his dream job was ripped from him by injury in 2011.
Healed and unexpectedly back in the ring, he has set his sights on creating matches and moments that will only further cement his legacy while entertaining an audience of old and new fans alike.
As he celebrates his special day, relive these best, worst and most infamous moments of his legendary career...to this point.
Best: The Grandest Spear of Them All
Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz spent 2000 redefining and evolving tag team wrestling in a three-way feud that captivated audiences and made stars of everyone involved. When the following year's WrestleMania rolled around, it was time to bring their rivalry to a head on wrestling's grandest stage.
And that they did in a jaw-dropping Tables, Ladders & Chairs match.
Among the awe-inspiring spots in the match was one that would stand the test of time, living indelibly in the minds of all who watched it and any highlights package starring its perpetrator.
Midway through the encounter, with Jeff Hardy hanging from the titles some 20 feet off the ground, Edge delivered a spear off a ladder that drove The Charismatic Enigma into the mat below.
The move popped the crowd, with its creativity and originality both stunning and preparing them for the climactic stretch that would bring the match to an end.
To this day, the spear is part of video packages celebrating both WrestleMania and Edge, living forever alongside iconic WrestleMania moments like the Ultimate Warrior-Hulk Hogan staredown and Hogan slamming Andre the Giant.
Worst: An Inauspicious Debut
Imagine achieving your childhood dream of working for the company you watched as a kid. Then, in your first match, you execute a relatively simple plancha over the top rope and accidentally injure your opponent's head and neck.
Your opponent lies motionless, and the match is called off.
That is the unfortunate reality that faced Edge in his first match on the June 22, 1998, episode of Raw.
An accident, something that could have befallen any other Superstar in any other match, it left a dark cloud over proceedings.
He would still be utilized in a relatively high-profile spot at SummerSlam in August, teaming with Sable in a win over Marc Mero and Jacqueline, but there was no denying the early setback the Toronto native would be forced to overcome before he found success in the company.
Best: Cashing In
Edge made history at WrestleMania 21 in April 2005 by winning the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match and the guaranteed championship shot that came along with it. For almost a year, he carried the case to the squared circle with him before opportunity struck at the January 8, 2006, New Year's Revolution pay-per-view.
Just moments after a physically grueling Elimination Chamber match saw John Cena retain his WWE Championship in impressive, albeit bloody fashion, Edge emerged from the backstage area to cash in his title opportunity.
He did so successfully, realizing his boyhood dream of becoming WWE champion. The emotion was real for the performer and fans alike. For Edge, it was perfect. For the fans in attendance and watching at home, many of whom had been on his journey with him, it was the culmination of a push that had been a long time in the making.
As Edge wrapped his arm around Lita, staring down at the WWE Championship he had just won, it was impossible not to feel happy for him and share in both the emotion and enormity of the moment.
To this day, the first cash-in ranks among the best in company history, thanks in large part to the fact that it paid off years of hard work while catapulting a fresh new face into the main event scene.
Worst: The Japanese Shampoo Commercial
WrestleMania returned to Toronto's SkyDome in 2002, the site of the iconic battle between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior in 1990, a show Edge attended as a kid. The excitement to get on that stage, in that arena, had to be palpable.
Learning that he would be working with former WCW world champion Booker T only made it that much better.
That is until the reason for their match became apparent.
Rather than booking a good, old-fashioned match in which both guys just wanted to win, their match centered around Booker's jealousy over Edge beating him out for a Japanese shampoo commercial spot.
A shampoo commercial. In Japan.
The match was fine for what it was, a hard-hitting affair between two stars looking to improve their stock in the company. Imagine how much more special it would have been, how much more meaningful it would have been for two stars trying to find themselves as competitors at the next level, had there been more substance to it creatively than the asinine excuse for a storyline WWE brewed up.
Edge won the match in front of friends and family, but he would have better, more significant matches in his hometown that would far exceed the farce that was the shampoo-engendered match in 2002.
Most Infamous: The Celebration
Just 24 hours after cashing in Money in the Bank for his first WWE Championship, Edge promised an explicit Live Sex Celebration the next night on Raw.
And he delivered.
With Lita, The Rated R Superstar provided a celebration unlike any in WWE history. Throw in an unfortunate slip late in the segment, and you had the controversy the company had hoped for.
It was so controversial that WWE would not host a television taping in Hershey's Giant Center for another three years because of the bad taste left in building officials' mouths.
While it can be debated whether the segment was in bad taste, there is no denying that it provided a memorable kickoff to Edge's title first title reign, not to mention an angle that established the Rated R aspect of the new champion's persona.
Still, it is safe to say there is a reason fans have not seen such a celebration in the near-15 years since it was broadcast.
Best: WrestleMania Goes Hardcore
When Edge's WWE Championship reign came to a premature end at the 2006 Royal Rumble, there were questions as to whether he would remain a main event entity or whether he had experienced his one shot at glory. Driven by his own desire to succeed and hellbent on proving he belonged at the top of the card, Edge entered WrestleMania 22 to contest a Hardcore match against Mick Foley with a chip on his shoulder.
With an intense story accompanying the match, not to mention legitimate excitement, it exceeded all expectations.
Brutal, violent and bloody, the contest provided Foley with his WrestleMania moment but, more importantly, established that The Rated R Superstar was a main event talent deserving of his spot among the upper echelon of performers.
Steel chairs, barbed wire and thumbtacks all gave way to a breathtaking finale in which Edge speared Foley off the ring apron and through a flaming table. His hand shaking from the second-degree burns he had just received, Edge crawled over and draped his singed arm over Foley for the win.
As he made his way up the ramp, his blood spilling into his left eye, there was zero question about Edge's place in the hierarchy or that it was only a matter of time before he held the WWE Championship again.
Worst: Real Life Spills on to the Screen
Some of the most compelling WWE television involves a real-life story that spills over into the made-up world of sports entertainment.
Compelling television does not a career highlight make, though.
An off-screen affair between Edge and Lita became an element of their on-screen characters in 2005, leading to heel turns and an emotionally intense storyline also featuring the latter's ex-boyfriend, Matt Hardy.
While that storyline allowed Edge to find his inner Rated R Superstar and become the heel who would go to the top of the card, it also painted the man behind the character in an unfavorable light at a time when there were considerable preconceived notions at play.
Peppered with vulgar chants, fans prying into his personal life and a company looking to exploit real discomfort for its benefit, Edge survived the tumultuous period in his career and came out on the other side better for it.
Best: The Main Event
Edge's rise to the top of the company in 2006 carried over into 2007, when he battled the likes of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena and Batista as he firmly entrenched himself at the top of the card.
Every one of those matches, every main event in which he competed, prepared him for the most significant match of his career to that point: the WrestleMania XXIV main event against The Undertaker.
The world heavyweight champion entering the match, The Rated R Superstar was the undisputed face of SmackDown and its lead villain. With Chavo Guerrero, Bam Neely, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder and Vickie Guerrero making up his clique, he attempted to become the first competitor to defeat The Deadman on the grand stage.
Despite a defining performance and interference by his associates, Edge succumbed to The Phenom.
Headlining the most prestigious event of the night, though, meant more than any win could have.
After years of scratching and clawing his way to sports entertainment excellence, Edge earned the trust of WWE officials, who determined he was deserving of the most sought-after position on the card.
It's his one and only chance to perform in that position to date, something he almost certainly hopes to rectify when he returns to the squared circle following his most recent injury.
Worst: An Early Retirement
The April 11, 2011, episode of WWE Raw brought with it Edge's unexpected and heartbreaking retirement from the squared circle.
Suffering from yet another neck injury, he announced his departure from in-ring competition in an emotional address.
The look on his face mirrored that of the audience, all in stunned silence at the shocking moment unfolding before them. For 13 years, The Rated R Superstar had entertained them, leaving everything he had in rings across the globe. And he was taken from them in an instant.
A consummate professional, he walked up the ramp, threw up the devil horns in recognition of the fans and walked through the curtain.
It was a moment that weighed heavily on fans for many years, with a young star forced to the sidelines in his athletic prime by an injury caused by years of high-risk maneuvers and the daily grind of being a WWE Superstar.
Best: The Surprise Return
After nine years away, Edge made his unexpected return to the squared circle in the 2020 men's Royal Rumble match, eliciting an enormous ovation from the fans in Houston as he made his way to the ring. He battled the likes of Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins en route to becoming the second-to-last Superstar eliminated from the match.
The night represented the culmination of his hard work and dedication to returning to the ring and ending his career on his terms.
Not only was there the nervousness of taking bumps in a big match for the first time in a decade, but there was also the uncertainty of the fanbase. Would they accept him back after so long away? Would the reaction live up to his expectations? Would they even care?
They did, it did and boy did they ever!
While he may not have won, he completed a comeback that was considered impossible just a few years earlier.
In a year that has not exactly been rife with them, Edge's return to the ring represented a feel-good moment that remains indelibly etched in the minds of WWE fans.