Like any normal wrestling fan, Edge’s return to WWE at this year’s Royal Rumble was one of the best comebacks to ever happen. Quite strangely, it scared me. When he announced he had to retire in 2011, he said these freezing sentences about his neck being so bad that one more match could have put him in a wheelchair. Hope is not really my thing, so the same way I am scared to see Daniel Bryan wrestling now, I was scared for Edge.

I had the chance to follow pretty much all the big steps of his career, from 1997 to 2011. From this mysterious man strolling in the streets and subways of New York to his fantastic team ride with Christian to the Rated-R Superstar, Edge proved the world everything is possible in wrestling when you’re an opportunist and a hard-worker. He has put his body and soul on the line every single day he graced a WWF/WWE ring, that’s why I chose his TLC match against John Cena at Unforgiven 2006.

This PPV was special, if not historical. It happened in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Edge’s hometown. Also, Trish Stratus, another Toronto’s own, was retiring that night, she challenged Lita for the Women’s Title in her hometown. The night was meant to be emotional. In the main event, Edge faced John Cena in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the WWE Championship. The match stipulation added that if Cena lost to Edge, Cena would move to SmackDown.

Cena and Edge more or less feuded all 2006, from the Money In The Bank cash-in at New Year’s Revolution to Edge “stealing” the belt to Cena at SummerSlam. Edge pushed Cena to his limits match after match, PPV after PPV, harassing his Dad. He wanted to show an extreme version of Cena, and he succeeded. The WWE Champion Edge received a huge ovation from the Toronto crowd despite coming to this match as the heel. The crowd was 100% behind him and he fed off of their energy, delivering a modern-day classic.

I almost forgot this match lasted nearly 30 minutes, here is what happens when you watch a good match… At the start, Cena took the advantage over Edge. Edge, however, countered Cena’s moves with a neckbreaker. The match saw Cena sandwich Edge in a ladder as he applied the STFU on Edge, to which Edge submitted. At one point, Cena began to climb the ladder, as he was moments away from retrieving the title, Lita, who interfered on Edge’s behalf, tipped the ladder over, making Cena fall off the ladder through a table at ringside.

Lita’s interference was short, as Cena would later recover, and as Edge was climbing the ladder, Lita hit Cena with a steel chair to the back, only for him to inadvertently fall towards and push the ladder, making Edge fall off the ladder through a table at ringside. Lita then received an FU off Cena. Cena then began to make his way up the ladder, as did Edge when he re-entered the ring. The two fought until Cena performed an FU off a 16-foot ladder through two tables that were stacked on Edge. Cena then grabbed the belt to win the title for the third time.

I can remember Jim Ross yelling, “John, don’t do that!” Cena crossed the line that day with this FU through two stacked tables that they set up beside the ladder. It was one of the biggest bumps in WWE history. What struck me was Edge laying motionless in a mess of wood, but also Cena’s eyes. He was clearly aware of the fact he did something that was “not him”, he grabbed that belt but was not as happy as a new Champion could be. He hugged his Dad, who had been a major piece of the storyline, and went backstage without celebrating.

The Unforgiven 2006 main event was the match that cemented Edge’s place in the upper card. He had seen the biggest push of his career begin earlier in the year and had delivered in every high-profile, high-pressure scenario he faced. Cena was completely inexperienced in matches involving ladders and Edge was the glue that held the match together, putting his body on the line once again for the sake of wrestling. Edge always got a lot of credit for coming up with creative spots in these kinds of matches, so I easily imagine he was the mind behind this nasty FU.

This was one of the first Cena matches where he really proved that he could come up with awesome performances in big matches. It didn’t happen all the time, but he delivered in this case because Edge helped to bring out the best in him. Edge has had this special ability to bring out the best in his opponents, Batista, The Undertaker, CM Punk and many more said it loudly.

Unforgiven 2006 main event is a match to watch, with true storytelling, insane action, and a clear and definitive ending. Despite losing the title, despite losing the match, despite losing in front of his crowd, that night, Edge was a hero. The match was brutal, violent, potentially career-ending, but it was awesome.  This is the kind of wrestling I have always loved, unapologetic, intense, uncompromising. Even if it was 14 years ago, this match is one of those I would never forget.


All pics and videos courtesy of WWE

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...

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