WWE's Royal Rumble event Sunday night was largely a by-the-books affair until its last 10 or so seconds.
Those 10 seconds took twists and turns to a final destination where Edge pulled off a stunner of a men's Rumble victory, which positions WWE—and fans—for an epic sprint to WrestleMania 37.
But before that thrilling stretch, WWE didn't take many risks besides the tandem of Charlotte Flair and Asuka dropping the women's tag team titles to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. Drew McIntyre squashed Goldberg, Sasha Banks retained, and Roman Reigns overcame Kevin Owens. Bianca Belair's stunning women's Rumble victory seemed to mirror McIntyre's epic rise last year.
Even the men's Rumble—the night's main event—played it mostly safe. There were a handful of surprise returns such as Carlito and Christian. There were some fun developments like dream-match teases (Christian-AJ Styles), Riddle almost going the distance and more.
But it wasn't until the final few moments when things really had an edge-of-the-seat feel, which is pretty fitting when the eventual winner's name is Edge. After surviving a cluster of Christian-Seth Rollins-Braun Strowman, Randy Orton ambushed Edge from outside after having never been eliminated, only for The Rated-R Superstar to eat an RKO and win anyway.
This one just felt good, which is nice to say for the second year in a row after the McIntyre ascension in 2020. And this image is probably one of the best WWE fans have seen over the course of the last decade:
Granted, a portion of the fanbase won't be happy about Edge winning it all and that's totally fair. He is 47 years old, entered first after just returning from an injury and seemed to spend the bulk of the match in the corner and/or on the mat before hitting a few Spears.
Did he really need a second Rumble win on his resume? Did it need to make history from the No. 1 spot? Did he need to be slingshot back into the main event scene at the top of a 'Mania card?
Maybe not, but context remains important. One could argue Edge doesn't fall into the part-timer category alongside guys like Goldberg. Had he not suffered an injury in his feud with Orton in June last year, he probably would have been around more.
Those worried about the part-timer argument can cool off knowing Goldberg got absolutely squashed by WWE's golden star (McIntyre) and Belair is suddenly main-eventing 'Mania. Granted, upstarts like Keith Lee and Aleister Black being missing in action hurts, but there did seem to be concessions toward the portion of the fanbase that wants nothing but the next generation featured at the top of cards.
And it's easy to forget now, but that feud with Orton was a classic. So much so that Orton stuck around in the main event scene for a long time because he was doing such great work against Edge (and vice versa).
That's probably what WWE wants to tap into now on the Road to WrestleMania. Edge tossed Orton out last to win, so those two could rekindle their rivalry in some epics before the former goes on to face McIntyre or Reigns.
And that choice opens a whole bag of interesting worms (the gummy-candy kind). Edge could go on to choose The Tribal Chief as his 'Mania opponent, and the promos with Paul Heyman involved could be classic in nature.
Should he choose McIntyre, it's a great passing-of-the-torch matchup to headline The Grandest Stage of Them All. And that would also leave Reigns open to fight Daniel Bryan, a favorite to win the men's Rumble who would get a headline spot anyway. That, or perhaps a familiar feud with Seth Rollins or a riser like Big E.
That seems to be the fun of Edge winning the big one for the second time in his career Sunday night. While it's a little disappointing in some respects, he was probably the most sensical winner of the last 10 men standing, and the victory makes for some must-see television on the road to Mania simply because it isn't easy to see how things play out.
Any Rumble was going to have a brutal time living up to the classic storytelling put on by Brock Lesnar and McIntyre last year, but Edge's triumph did well enough for what it was, and the rest of the story is far from written as WrestleMania 37 looms closer.