Edge Shoots on WWE Royal Rumble Win, Christian's Return, WrestleMania and More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2021

Edge Shoots on WWE Royal Rumble Win, Christian's Return, WrestleMania and More

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    Edge has turned his focus to the main event of WrestleMania 37 following his huge Royal Rumble victory.
    Edge has turned his focus to the main event of WrestleMania 37 following his huge Royal Rumble victory.Credit: WWE.com

    Almost a decade removed from relinquishing the World Heavyweight Championship and retiring from the ring, Edge is determined to reclaim his former glory and grace the main event of WrestleMania once again.

    By virtue of his victory at Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, he is officially one step closer to making that dream a reality.

    His journey back to the top started a year ago when he made his triumphant return in the men's Rumble match after nine years away after a career-ending neck injury.

    His rivalry with Randy Orton carried WWE programming for the first six months of 2020, but a torn triceps suffered at Backlash in June sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

    It would have been easy for him to make a shock return at the Rumble for the second year in a row, but WWE was wise to announce his participation in the bout ahead of time.

    That way, he could make his intentions known of wanting to regain what he never lost when he was forced to retire in 2011. The simple-yet-strong story was enough of a reason for him to win the men's Rumble and kick off what is bound to be an exciting road to WrestleMania 37.

    Fresh off Sunday's victory, Edge took the time to chat with Bleacher Report about punching his ticket to the main event of The Show of Shows, reuniting with Christian, what intrigues him about facing either Drew McIntyre or Roman Reigns, and more.

    Check out the complete audio of the interview on the next slide and stick around for the highlights.

Reacting to His Royal Rumble Victory

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    Edge joined an elite group when he won his second Royal Rumble match. The only other people to have won more than one include "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton.

    He also became the first man to win a Rumble as a WWE Hall of Famer, having been inducted in 2012.

    Interestingly enough, both of his Rumble victories occurred on January 31, with his first coming in 2010. It was a surreal feeling for The Rated-R Superstar to be able to call his shot six days earlier and then live up to his promise by winning the men's Rumble match.

    "If I'm being perfectly honest, I feel like the body of an old beat-up truck in a junkyard, that's what I feel like today," Edge said in regard to his hour-long performance in the contest. "But emotionally, I feel great. It's just stuff that's happening that you can't write. It's this weird, serendipitous thing that's just happening.

    "I've tried to put my finger on it, I've tried to explain it to myself or continue to pinch myself over this year-and-a-half-long period. I'm going to stop doing that and just savor that this is happening and enjoy every moment of it that I can and soak it all up."

Why Another Royal Rumble Return Wouldn't Have Topped Last Year's

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    When Edge resurfaced on the final Raw before this year's Royal Rumble pay-per-view and announced his intentions to win the men's event, some fans wondered why WWE wouldn't wait until Sunday to bring him back as a surprise.

    However, The Rated-R Superstar knew he couldn't top his shocking comeback in 2020—especially without anyone in attendance—so he didn't bother trying. Plus, he needed to establish his motivations for entering beforehand so it meant that much more when he won.

    "Last year was once-in-a-lifetime," he said. "There's never going to be another time where I'm off for nine years and have fought back from this injury that was supposed to be the end of my career. That's not the case. So this year, I have to treat it differently, not only from a creative standpoint but also from a mental and emotional standpoint and understand there is no audience this year so let's announce it.

    "Let's get some buzz going into this thing and start telling this story of this guy who never lost this championship and now he wants it back. He's refocused and this window isn't as wide as he thought it was. He even knew it wasn't that wide to begin with, but it's even smaller. That, to me, is a really interesting angle to go at this because it's true and if there's truth in this, it's going to work."

    Edge has always been an exceptional performer, but he has excelled at telling emotional, genuine stories since his return to WWE. That was evident throughout his feud with Randy Orton and again last week on Raw when he sold fans on the idea of him becoming a two-time men's Rumble winner.

    "If I'm speaking truth as a character, you can sense it, you just know," he said. "There's authenticity there and that's what I'm going for with this. On Sunday night, you add in Christian and it adds in so many different emotional highs.

    "We went back to his house and sat down and had a shot of whiskey together and said, 'That just happened. We just did that. Somehow, we both find ourselves here doing this thing we were both told we weren't ever supposed to do again.' It was just a really, really nice moment to have together in what has become a lifetime of amazing things that have happened within our friendship."

Reuniting with Christian and When He Was Cleared to Compete

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    Adding to the emotion of Edge's victory on Sunday night was the fact that his best friend, Christian, was back in the ring for the first time since March 2014 to witness it firsthand.

    As soon as Christian's music hit, a camera caught Edge smiling on the ground while looking toward the entrance ramp. It meant as much to him as it did to Captain Charisma to have his longtime tag team partner back alongside him inside the squared circle, something they never thought would happen again.

    Edge knew about his friend coming back long before anyone else did but that their reunion was only decided shortly before showtime.

    "I had known he was cleared for a few months," he said. "We knew and we were keeping it under wraps because we didn't know what was going to happen or what creative was or anything like that. That all kind of came together last minute, but the reaction I had when he was coming down, again, it speaks to what I said before: truth. An audience can tell when something is truly affecting a performer and seeing him get that back and walk down that ramp, crowd or no crowd, I was just so happy for him."

    Prior to the men's Rumble match, Christian hadn't competed in a WWE ring for almost seven years. Fans were convinced he'd never lace up his boots again, at least until he got physical in the Rumble and sparked speculation that he could have one more run left in him.

    "I can't explain how happy I was for him to be able to get that back and get that proper sendoff that his career and his worth and his body of work deserves," Edge added. "Just to see him come down and be in there for it was so great. What that camera caught was genuine and real."

How They Managed to Keep Their Comebacks a Secret

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    Fans figured there was a chance Edge could be back in time for the Royal Rumble PPV, if only because he tore his triceps in June and was bound to be cleared for competition any day. However, no one knew for sure until he popped up on Raw six days before the show.

    That's because the only person who was kept in the loop regarding his recovery and health status was Vince McMahon. The coronavirus pandemic actually proved beneficial because there was nobody at the arena on Sunday to spoil the surprise of Christian's in-ring return.

    "No one knows except me, so I've learned to keep where I'm at to myself," Edge said. "I've learned that needs to be the way. When I get the clearance, I call the big man and said, 'OK, I'm cleared,' and just leave it at that and take it from there.

    "With Christian, it was actually easier because of the pandemic to keep it so quiet because last year there were the challenges of flying in, but I took a private plane and had a car waiting for me. I felt like the president. They snuck me in and sequestered me in the Houston Astros manager's office. It was kind of fun, but it was also very stressful. 

    "This year with Christian, it was so much easier. We got to the arena, there was nobody here. It's just our crew, so it was much more relaxed and easier to keep these things under wraps."

    Growing up a die-hard fan, Edge understands the element of surprise in wrestling and how much better it can make a moment if it isn't ruined ahead of time. Christian captured that magic because fans had zero reason to believe he was making a comeback.

    "At the end of the day, any time we keep something under wraps like that, it's for the fanbase to get that visceral, real reaction, whether it's at home or if it's the arena," he said. "It's for the crowd to experience. Any time you can do that nowadays with social media and everything, it's so rare to be able to pull it off, so when you can, you got to go for it."

Why He Doesn't Consider Himself a Part-Timer

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    Although a majority of the WWE Universe were happy with Edge's Royal Rumble victory, there was still a contingent of fans who were less than thrilled with a "part-timer" stealing the spotlight—despite the veteran already proving to be more active than any other part-time performer WWE currently has under contract.

    There were a few other Superstars who could have realistically won and been satisfying for fans, but Edge emerging victorious made for the strongest story WWE can tell going into WrestleMania 37. It's also not easy to predict which champion he will choose to face on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

    The Rated-R Superstar feels anyone who puts him in the "part-time" category clearly isn't aware of his work ethic and how dedicated he is to making this last run of his a rousing success.

    "I don't consider myself a part-timer," he said. "If I'm in the hunt for a championship, I'm here every week. That's the way I operate. I don't care what my contract says. Everybody knows that here, too. That's the way I operate and if that's the way you want me figured in, then I'm going to be here because that's the way Adam Copeland does things. I don't care what other 'part-timers' do, I know what I do and that's what I do."

    Edge has largely been well-received by the audience since returning last year, but if he's going to be disliked for anything, it certainly won't be for a lack of effort or commitment. He's in it for the long haul and is ready for whatever WWE throws his way.

    "If people want to complain that I'm here every week and get sick of that, and I'm sure they will, they'll find another reason because some people are just malcontents," he said. "But I plan on trying to tell one hell of a story going into WrestleMania. And wherever it goes off of that, that's not up to me. Wherever it goes, if they want me here, I'm here.

    "I put my acting career on hold to do this because this is my first love and this is what I do best. I wanted to go back and hopefully impart some wisdom to a whole lot of talent here and it's really exciting for me. I never thought I'd get this opportunity again, so I'm going to take advantage of it."

What Appeals to Him About Facing Either Drew McIntyre or Roman Reigns?

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    As the Royal Rumble winner, Edge now has the opportunity to choose what championship he'd like to challenge for at WrestleMania 37. Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns are the current reigning WWE and Universal champions respectively and are expected to hold onto their respective titles heading into the event.

    The Ultimate Opportunist even showed up on Wednesday's NXT to pay NXT champion Finn Balor a visit and put him on notice in case he decides to chase the top title on the black-and-gold brand. Edge has options, and regardless of who he ultimately decides to face, he can't go wrong with any one of them.

    “With Drew, the Drew I faced 10 or 11 years ago was a different person entirely," he said. "That being said, the Edge that Drew would face now is a different performer entirely. That's intriguing to me. I really respect what Drew did. I really respect the path that he took and his road back here is very redemptive and I respect that. I appreciate that. He's a sponge. He's the kind of guy that's constantly asking, 'What do you think about this? What do you think about that?' And I'm more than happy to be there for that. There's a lot of similarities to our character traits and personality traits and that's something that can easily be played upon."

    As noted, Edge and McIntyre shared the squared circle on a handful of occasions in early 2011. So much has changed for the two of them since then that it would be nothing short of an exciting affair, though he'd be remiss to pass up an opportunity to take on Reigns at WrestleMania considering how he's the hottest heel in the business today.

    "With Roman, what's so intriguing about that is the dichotomy in terms of character. That's fun, too," he continued. "You have this Head of the Table, almost like a mafia leader, and you have Rocky trying to get this thing back, knowing there's only so long you can do it so you just have to try. Either way, the story is going to be compelling. Honestly, I really can't go wrong and that's a great place to be. Whichever direction this goes, I feel I'm going to be able to tell a compelling story that I hope people enjoy.”

       

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.