Tonight, during night two of WWE’s ‘Showcase of the Immortals’, WrestleMania, it will feature one of the most improbable main events of all time. WWE Hall of Famer Edge and Daniel Bryan will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship in a triple threat match. Three men, who at one point all came close or did stop wrestling. However, they are now on the verge of creating another historic WrestleMania moment, as the three will do battle on what will be only WWE’s second night with a live audience in over a year!
Edge spoke to the media ahead of his big title match at WrestleMania, and WWE kindly provided SteelChair Magazine access to the call, where the ‘Rated-R Superstar’ discussed the journeys of Bryan, Roman, and himself to get to this point, fans returning, and much more. Here are some of the highlights. Enjoy!
Why WrestleMania is special for the superstars:
“I think it’s just the culmination of a lot of hard work, and it feels like this is the pinnacle of that. And when you first get into this industry, this business, and you decide you want to be a wrestler, I think most people will say the goal is to be at WrestleMania and to perform at WrestleMania because at WrestleMania you have all of those memories over the years. I think, also, this year is even more special because we’re starting to get an audience back, and I think that is just massive to this form of entertainment because what we do is so based on crowd reactions. It’s so based on that give and take, and we feed off of that energy, and the more energy we give, usually the more we get back, and that’s an amazing relationship that has been missing. I can’t wait, and I don’t think it’s fully going to be real to me until I hear that crowd and I’m standing in the ring going, “Right, this is happening.” So I think that’s why, this one, in particular, we’re finding our steps forward into life again.”
First match with a live audience at WrestleMania in ten years:
“Excited. But I don’t know if it’s fully dawned on me yet. You know, even checking into the hotel yesterday and talking with fans and just getting some anticipation for this, and I’m really just trying to savour every moment of it and soak in every moment of it. Because this was taken away for a long time, and to have it back, and to be in this position, it’s very surreal. So I’m still kind of pinching myself. But I also understand that I’m at a point in my life where I’m going to enjoy every second of this.”
His dream match with any legend (with the place and stipulation):
“Bret Hart. An Iron Man match in Toronto. Calgary could be a runner-up as the place for it to happen (laughs). But I’ve had the pleasure of getting in with a lot of people that I grew up watching, and a lot of people that really influenced me getting into wrestling, and then influenced my style once I was in wrestling. I’ve had the opportunity to wrestle against Shawn Michaels, wrestle against Ric Flair, against The Undertaker, team with Hulk Hogan, to wrestle Jerry Lawler, Terry Funk, Bad News Brown, Rick Martel – all of these names that I never thought I’d get a chance to. But Bret was a name that I never got the opportunity, in front of an audience. Now him and I wrestled once at his house, in a ring at his house, but no one ever saw it, and just in that time, I was like, oh, man, to wrestle Bret Hart, who was such a massive influence on how I look at the storytelling of wrestling matches, that would be my dream match.”
Injury changing his direction from Randy Orton to the Universal Title:
“Yeah, it seemed to change everything. You know, in my mind, I still thought, “Me and Randy at WrestleMania. Me and Randy at WrestleMania. Me and Randy at WrestleMania.” That’s what my working plan was the whole time until I was told it wasn’t the company’s plan, and I went, “Oh, okay, but we gotta see this trilogy through. Like, we need to do this,” and I was pretty disappointed. I really wanted to – I just felt like the story deserved that. So when I found out that wasn’t on the docket anymore, I was like, “Okay, so then what?” (Laughs.) It’s worked out the way it has, which is obviously very exciting. I mean, honestly, look, I go from thinking I’m wrestling Randy Orton at WrestleMania, which is a dream, to wrestling Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the Universal Title. I mean, that’s a dream too. All the course is changed, and that’s just what happens sometimes, and you have to be adaptable, and you have to, as much as I get an idea in my head, and we gotta see this through, I have to understand that there’s more to it.
“There is multiple characters, and it’s like a chess board, so you gotta go, okay, where can we best place this character and this character to make the totality of the card something that hopefully our fan base is happy with. So, a lot changed, it did, and a lot of it was timing. A lot of it was, I came back, and the Rumble takes place eleven years to the day from the last time I won the Rumble, and then the second night of Mania is ten years to the day from when I announced my retirement. Like, you can’t write that stuff, so when you see that, and you go, “I guess that’s the direction we gotta go, right?” Because that only happens once. You only get this opportunity to tell this story once, so I think that’s a really fun aspect. Let alone the aspect of you got three guys in the main event that have been either told they gotta go home or they gotta quit doing this, and yet here we are. So, it’s pretty crazy.”
Positive aspects of Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan:
“I mean, there’s a lot of positive aspects to both. I don’t think you get to the main event of WrestleMania unless you have a whole lot of positive aspects. I think, starting with Daniel Bryan, you got a guy who is, I mean, if you really look up – you know, just not quitting and against all odds. Really doing this thing at an elite level, when I’m sure he was told no a lot over the years. So just that mentality and also what he brings from a style perspective. He brings a lot of different grappling and a lot of different submission holds that I personally love, and I never really tapped into beforehand in the incarnation of Edge. This incarnation of Edge, I really do want to use a lot of those things, so he’s a great opponent for me to test out this version of Edge. So that’s super exciting.
“Roman Reigns is a guy that I have watched since he started, and I was like, “Okay, that guy.” You know, he’s gonna tap into it, he’s gonna figure it out, and eventually, the chains will get taken off, and he’s just going to blow the doors off, and I think that’s what we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing a guy who has a full grasp of his character. He’s a great performer who thinks and can think on his feet and has found his voice, and that’s super exciting. I was there on the ground floor of John Cena figuring all of those things out, and now I feel like I’m here in the midst of Roman figuring those things out. So I find myself in this situation almost again, I’m going, damn, I keep running into these guys at the right time. Although from a character perspective, maybe the wrong time (laughs).”
This triple threat compared to WrestleMania 25 triple threat (with John Cena & Big Show):
“(Laughs) I don’t really remember 2009, except the aspect of John picking us both up on his shoulders. But that year was just a blur of busyness. I think this one is so much different because of all of the worldwide events that we’ve all been going through, so I think, in that regard, it makes it feel more special that we’re going to have some audience and be able to feed off of that energy again. That’s just going to feel really good.
“In terms of differences, I don’t know. Triple threats are just kind of different beasts. But then, on top of triple threats being different, any talent you throw in there makes it a completely different triple threat match. So if you look at the different opponents, you have Daniel Bryan and Big Show, who could not be any more polar opposite. And you have Roman Reigns and John Cena, who you could say have similarities in terms of where they are in terms of importance to the industry, but they’re entirely different characters. So it’s a different mountain to tackle entirely, but it’s an exciting one. It’s a fun one. Styles make matches. What will be interesting about this one is you have three really different styles, and how is that gonna shake out in the match? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”
Finding out about Daniel Bryan’s involvement and the similar backstories of Edge, Bryan, and Roman Reigns:
“Well, I think in the build to Fastlane was when we were told it was going to change to a triple threat. The three of us have not talked about it (backstories). I think it’s an unspoken thing that we all know, obviously, and what’s strange about it is, our stories, the journey of Adam, Bryan, and Joe, doesn’t help further the narrative. And it doesn’t help paint one guy as the villain and one guy as the hero, so it can muddy those waters. All of that being said, if you look at our three stories, outside of the characters, I think those stories help you invest in the characters more because you know what these three men have fought and clawed and scratched to get back. To get back this thing that at all three separate journeys probably thought, “This might be it” or “This is it.” I know for me, I thought this was it. I can’t speak for them, but I was done, and I was told I had no choice.
“So to have three guys in a position to be able to main event, having those stories, I like to think that helps you invest in the characters even more. So it’s this underlying thing underneath it all that is actually kind of bigger than it all, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but in my mind it does (laughs), and I think that’s helped with the build because there is a lot of real involved. There is a lot of truth involved, and in order for a storyline to fire on all cylinders, it’s gonna have to have some truthful aspects to it. For the performers to be able to pull it off and for the performers to have it feel genuine to the audience. I think when you see an Edge promo, you go, “Man, a lot of what he’s saying, that dude feels,” and not only does Edge feel it, but Adam feels it. And I think that is a difference-maker, and with these three guys, that’s a pretty easy thing to tap into.”
Going from the returning hero to a more villainous Edge:
“I think it was – when you find out it’s a triple threat. You go, okay, we both can’t play the underdog hero, who’s trying to, you know, that Rocky vibe. We can’t both pull that off, and if you look at the both of us, well, that’s Bryan. That’s his thing. Nobody does that better than him, and I’d like to think that if I can come at it and get a little bit of that Rated-R vibe back, that gives me an Edge that I think our audience was ready to see. I think they were past, and here’s what’s difficult because we don’t have the audience to really fully know, but I think they were past this veteran who’s coming back. Can he do it? They saw that with Randy, and it worked there. I thought it could continue to work, but then I started to feel that it wasn’t, and then when you throw Bryan into the mix, you realise he’s going to corner that market. Roman is cornering his market. I gotta find the direction to come from here, and to me, it’s neither heel nor babyface. It’s not hero, it’s not villain. It’s Edge, and Edge wants back what he never lost, and the character of Edge was always driven by the championship. Nothing else. It was so simple.
“Edge wants the title. That’s it. Doesn’t matter who has it. It could have been Batista. It could have been JBL. That’s what Edge wants. And that kind of makes things easier because it’s a really simple root point to come from. It makes the incentive for the character, it’s that [the title], and it doesn’t matter who is in the way. And with that, though, you can bring in these intense intangibles. Like no matter who gets in your way, it’s kind of like, I remember watching Jake ‘The Snake’ and Macho Man on Saturday Night’s Main Event. They were both bad guys, and I was watching that going, “Oh, man,” and they were trying to out-cheat each other. I think back to, there was a point where Randy and I were both heels, and we had a match where we were trying to outdo the other with these heinous things. I think that’s where Edge is living right now, and that’s really fun because it leaves a lot of directions to go to. You could go to me and Seth Rollins, or you could go to me and Shinsuke, or you could go to, hey, want to throw me over to RAW? Yeah, I’ll go after Drew. There is so many different directions to go. I’ve always been a fan of the black hat-white hat, but I think now it’s so much different and that really it’s just Edge now. I don’t think I need to worry about the handle of bad guy-good guy. It’s Edge, and that’s kind of freeing in a way.”
Night Two of WrestleMania will air tonight at 8 PM EST (1 AM BST) on the WWE Network.
All pics courtesy of WWE