At Wrestlemania XXVII, Edge defended his World Championship against Alberto Del Rio, but little did anyone know that would be his last match in a WWE ring. The following night on RAW on April 11, 2011, at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the sound of a million hearts breaking could be heard across the world as Edge announced that he would be retiring from professional wrestling. It was an emotional speech, filled with genuine sorrow from The Rated-R Superstar. You could tell it was the last thing he wanted to do, but with the spinal canal narrowing at the base of his neck, and feeling numbness in his arms, it was the right thing to do.
Edge was an 11-time WWE Champion, Royal Rumble and King of the Ring winner, and 14-time WWE Tag Team Champion, as well as various other accolades within the company. He’s a bonafide legend, and a year after his retirement he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame to celebrate his incredible career. As phenomenal as he was in the ring – both performing and on the mic – it always felt as though it wasn’t the right way to go. Not because he retired in the way that he did, but because he never got to retire on his own terms.
Since his retirement, he’s appeared multiple times on RAW and SmackDown in a non-performing role, hosted “E & C’s Pod of Awesomeness”, and featured on various other shows within the WWE, but it just wasn’t the same. He would never perform again, and the WWE Universe had to get on board with that notion, no matter how much we wanted to see him in the ring, if only for one more match.
After various appearances on WWE TV, Edge made his return to SummerSlam last year, and after years of seeing him refrain from any type of action, he speared Elias. The significance of that attack gave millions of fans hope. Hope that he may have somehow recovered from his injuries. Hope that he may play more of an important role within WWE. Hope that he may return to wrestle. However, he went away as he had done before and our hopes started to dwindle once again.
Sunday night’s Royal Rumble was one of the best of the last few decades. The Fiend and Daniel Bryan’s match was a masterclass in storytelling, as was Becky Lynch and Asuka’s. The women’s Royal Rumble match was fantastic, even if the outcome felt like a huge letdown, with Charlotte Flair walking away the winner. The men’s Royal Rumble started to look as though it could be disappointing, too, but after Brock Lesnar was eliminated in spectacular fashion by Drew McIntyre, things started to look up.
When it came to the 21st entrant, we had already seen some great entries like the return of MVP (if only for a brief moment), and NXT’s North American Champion Keith Lee, but when Alter Bridge’s ‘Metalingus’ started to play, the crowd at Minute Maid Park in Houston went crazy. It was a moment that meant so much to so many people. Nine years of hoping and praying that we may get to see Edge come back to WWE ended in an instant. The Rated-R Superstar was back, and you could see how much it meant to him.
It was both emotional and electric. Overwhelmed by the response, Edge came to the ring whilst soaking up the cheers and admiration. It was clear after a few minutes that this wasn’t some one-off return. Physically, he looked great, and he still had that presence in the squared circle. He managed to reunite with his old teammate Randy Orton until the Viper was up to his usual tricks, leaving Edge to get his second elimination of the night. Although he ended up being eliminated by Roman Reigns, he was one of the three finalists in the Royal Rumble.
Whilst there has been no official confirmation, it looks as though Edge is here to stay. Whilst it’s doubtful he’ll be wrestling on a weekly basis, it’s likely we’ll get to see him in the same kind of situation Brock Lesnar is in, meaning he’ll be a part of the roster, but won’t be appearing all the time. With his interactions with Randy Orton in the Royal Rumble match, we could be seeing the two go toe-to-toe at WrestleMania. It would make perfect sense as the two have a history, and they’ve always been able to bring the best out of each other.
Regardless of what happens next, it’s wonderful to see him back. Hopefully, he’s fully recovered and there’s no likelihood of him doing more damage to himself. No matter how amazing it is seeing him again, nobody wants to see him paralysed. The doctors at WWE have always done a good job when it comes to making these kinds of decisions. Daniel Bryan was cleared after everyone assumed his career was over, and look at him now.
Edge is one of the best wrestlers to step into a WWE ring, and it provides hope to the WWE Universe. We may not always be happy with how results go, or storyline decisions that don’t always work out, but bringing someone as skilled as Edge back mean they know what they’re doing. His return personifies the greatness of the PPV and has set the bar high for WWE in 2020. Hopefully, the Road to WrestleMania continues to build excitement, and that Edge is front and centre of the journey.
On a personal level, all it also gives hope to so many that may be dealing with injuries they think they may never come back from. If Edge can recover from something as serious as cervical spinal stenosis, then anyone can fight back.
Feature image and video courtesy of WWE