A few years ago Edge was announced as the headliner for the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame. It is hard for me to imagine what it must have felt like for Edge, who once sat at Wrestlemania XI and watched Hogan and Warrior in the main event, to enter a Hall of Fame full of men and women he admired as a young boy.
Professional wrestling, like almost any business in the entertainment or sports industry, is filled with people who are living out their lifelong dreams. Men and women who are really passionate about what they do. In saying that when it comes to pro wrestling, Edge was passion personified.
Being forced to retire at the age of 37, Edge had already spent over 15 years thrilling the WWE Universe and creating some of the most memorable matches and moments in the 21 Century WWE.
Despite playing a heel for a majority of his career Edge loved nothing more than walking through the ropes and giving wrestling fans the best performance he could with whomever he might have been wrestling that night.
Edge quite literally sacrificed his own body for the fans and industry that he loved.
So in saying that, I wanted to take a moment to look at the Rated R Superstar's greatest matches and moments. I will warn you now, it gets a little violent. The Toronto native's past has not always been PG.
10. Edge vs. Ric Flair (WWE Raw, January 2006)
As you are going to see in this article, Edge has had some absolutely excellent television matches. In fact I probably could have done a Countdown on just Edge's greatest T.V. matches, but alas I narrowed the field down as much as I could and this wonderful TLC match just made the cut.
The Rated R Superstar had just won his first WWE Championship at New Years Revolution when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to pin a weakened John Cena. This Money Night Raw match, with The Nature Boy, served two different purposes. The first was to blow off the Edge-Flair feud so Edge could move on to other things, and the second was without a doubt to put Edge over as the most chicken-shit heel champion ever.
If you haven't seen this match, I'm afraid I have to spoil it for you, they do both flawlessly on this night.
I have to admit, when hearing about this match originally I thought it sounded like a terrible miss match for Flair, but what came out was an absolute train wreck masterpiece.
To me, Edge had really just hit his apex at this point. He was still riding a huge wave of fan reaction following his feud with Matt Hardy and he finally climbed to the top of the mountain by winning the WWE Championship.
Flair, just shy of 57 when this match occurred, was wrestling as the underdog in his first ever TLC match, while Edge was very much in his element. They played up this dynamic beautifully. Edge dominated the 16 time World Champion for a majority of the contest, but every time Flair teased a comeback or reached up for the WWE Championship the live crowd exploded at the prospect of Flair winning a 17th championship.
Greeting them like old friends, the Ultimate Opportunist used his iconic weaponry of tables, ladders, and chairs to decimate Flair in the early going, but the Nature Boy had several tricks up his sleeves. Without a doubt this was one of Flair's most sadistic and merciless matches to take place in his storied career.
The match was filled to the brim with what fans would consider hardcore violence, and Flair nearly won, but Edge's heavily involved girlfriend, Lita, managed to save Edge from losing his new title and gave him his first ever successful championship defense. This match had so many terrific spots and jaw dropping moments. Especially for a match with a 57 year old man in it. Go watch this, right now.
9. Edge vs. Mick Foley (WrestleMania 22)
To me this match, while not his best Wrestlemania match, has to be one of Edge's most iconic performances at a time when he was really at the top of his craft. Almost everypro wrestler has one match that truly defines their career, and I don't believe I would alone in the assessment that this hardcore car crash is one of Edge's most recognizable matches.
If you don't agree with that it would still be almost impossible to say it didn't house one of the most replayed moments in Edge's nearly 15 year WWE career.
Edge's iconic spear into Foley through a flaming table, courtesy of Lita, has truly become one of Wrestlemania's most thrilling moments. The site of Edge visually trembling and shaking uncontrollably after the ruthless dive into Foley with blood all over his body has to be the most brutal images we, as fans, have ever seen at a Wrestlemania.
The only thing that really held this match back was the fact that Wrestlemania 22 had a very bloated card that created massive time constraints on matches that deserved to go a lot longer. This issue also plagued the match for the World Heavyweight Championship later on in the show.
So while Edge and Foley packed in as much action as possible, I still felt as if I was missing half of this contest. Still, despite run time issues, this match is a must watch for any Edgehead.
Even at only a brisk 14 minutes Foley and Edge created the show stealing moment of Wrestlemania that year. Edge has admitted in recent interviews that he did this stunt because he "had a chip on his shoulder and believed he should have been in the main event." Regardless, Mick Foley put the newly christened Rated R Superstar over big while still managing to finally get his iconic Wrestlemania moment.
8. Edge vs. Randy Orton (Vengeance 2004)
This is a perfect example of what two talented midcard performers can achieve when given a healthy amount of time to work. This was probably the best thing about WWE pay-per-views during the brand extension. There was always time for good workers like Orton and Edge to really get into a match.
Sure single brand pay-per-views featured a lot of throw away matches and only a handful of matches anyone cared about, but at least those matches got the ample time they deserved. I'm so glad this match occurred when it did for this very reason.
Edge at age 30 and Orton just a tender 24 at the time were competing for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Both men were just beginning to gain momentum around this time and the crowds really responded to them. Even in this match you can hear both men's name getting chanted loudly by the Hartford, Connecticut crowd.
Edge had just been drafted to Raw from Smackdown! and was still fresh off a year long stint away from the ring as he recovered from his neck injury. Despite the setback Edge returned to the WWE with, excuse the pun, a vengeance.
At first this match had a very calculated pace. No big spots and no high octane maneuvers. The future world champions knew that for this match to work they would have to create a slow build and work up the anticipation of the crowd. This type of match-building really works well when plenty of time is allotted to a performance. Furthermore, Edge and Orton did a great job of pulling it off.
The match had the perfect amount of false finishes, near falls, and also had Randy Orton pulling out several Ric Flair-like hell tactics. The crowd was just so hot for this match and that made everything the two did that much better. After nearly 25 minutes of action Edge finally caught Orton with the Spear following a series of counters and reversals. Thus, Edge captured his second WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Randy Orton would go on to become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history and get kicked out of Evolution while Edge continued to climb the ranks of the Raw roster, biding his time.
7. Edge vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania XXIV)
I want to say first that if anyone knows me, they know I am about the biggest Undertaker fan someone can come by.
In saying that, I've looked around the net and this match is widely regarded as Edge's best match by some fans. While I am inclined to agree that this is a great match and a above average Wrestlemania main event, I can't for the life of me see why fans would agree that it is Edge's greatest wrestling match, because he has had far superior matches. Still this match is special for several reasons.
The first obvious ones are that Edge was squaring off against the undefeated Undertaker and walking in as the WWE's World Heavyweight Champion, but the second reason is that Edge closed this Wrestlemania. To me, this was a huge validation for the Rated R Superstar for all he done and accomplished in the WWE.
The match itself really surprised me, I remember being taken aback by how much offense Edge got in with little in return from Undertaker during the beginning of the contest. But it really helped build up the match and aided in establishing Edge as a menacing threat to the Deadman's Wrestlemania record.
Edge threw everything but the kitchen sink at the legendary performer, but Undertaker came back at the end and locked in the Hell's Gate.
To me, this is one of Undertaker's more underrated Wrestlemania matches, but at the same time I feel like it is given too much credit when talking about Edge's career matches. I suppose any decent Undertaker Wrestlemania match looks underrated compared to his matches with Shawn Michaels.
Still I had a lot of trouble when placing this match on this PWC, but I think this is the right spot for their Wrestlemania encounter.
6. Edge vs. Matt Hardy (Unforgiven 2005)
This match occurred in what is without a doubt the best year Matt Hardy has ever had and this was probably the best feud Matt ever got to have while with the WWE.
This feud was all about Hardy getting his revenge against Edge, and his ex-girlfriend who wronged him, Lita. It wasa great rivalry at the time because it did a fairly decent job of blurring the line of kayfabe and reality. Edge really played up his role as a chicken shit heel in this match, trying to escape as quickly as possible. He wanted nothing to do with Matt Hardy. Edge very nearly did get over the cage several times, but Matt managed to drag him back inside of the steel Hell.
Hardy was at the pinnacle of his popularity at this time, and because of this Edge drew a endless stream of heat from the live crowds pretty much throughout the entire summer and fall of 2005.
Both men just had so much intensity during this feud that they almost made the story line believable. I remember thinking at age 13 that these guys really could have been beating the crap out of each other.
In all honesty most cage matches have a somewhat clunky and uneven pace, but Hardy and Edge's match flowed very nicely and hit all the right spots for my taste. The match ended, after several hot near falls, with Matt Hardy landing a ridiculous leg drop from the top of cage in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest wins of his career.
This feud was finally settled a few weeks later on WWE Monday Night Raw when Edge defeated Matt Hardy in a Loser Leaves Raw match. Edge would go on to become one of the biggest heels in the company and, unfortunately, Matt Hardy went to midcard Hell where he never fully escaped. Sad, but true.
5. Edge vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE Raw, February 2005)
This match took place right around the time Edge really began to transition into the ranks of Monday Night Raw's main event scene. This was, as memory serves me correct, a street fight. This is something we don't see in present day WWE at all and probably will never again. The Heart Break Kid and the Rated R Superstar traded unprotected head shots with various weapons, and both proceed to blade themselves thus making the match that more brutal.
I have to admit, after watching hours upon hours of the now pg-rated WWE it really highlights how violent some WWE matches were before the company put those strict regulations in place to stop these kind of matches from going as far as they did. I found myself actually cringing at my re-watching of this match that probably didn't seem that gruesome to me when I first watched it live eight years ago.
Being that this was on Monday Night Raw and the WWE usually has very short segments during their Monday night flagship show Michaels and Edge made use of every single moment they were afforded.
From bell to bell there was constant action. There was little to no down time, and while in some cases that can cause the match to lose its impact and create challenges with pacing, it actually worked for Michaels and Edge. This was partly due to the story being that they wanted to beat the holy Hell out of one another. Edge was still playing his psychotic character at this time, and this fueled his hatred for Shawn due to Michaels some way or another preventing him from winning the World Heavyweight Championship.
Shawn Michaels got his win back from Edge after the Canadian used the ropes to beat Michaels at the Royal Rumble a few weeks prior. This was the blow off match to Edge's last major feud before winning the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 21 while Michaels danced with the lights on bright with the Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle.
4. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (WrestleMania X-Seven)
What can I say about the matches and these six young men that has not been said at some point over the last decade and a half? These guys are without a doubt the original "spot monkeys" and put themselves over by jumping off ladders, diving through tables, and smacking one another with dozens of chair shots.
Without a doubt it paid off in spades and I mean no disrespect to any of these performers or their accomplishments when I call them spot monkeys.
Edge, his best friend Christian, along with Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, and D-Von Dudley put on some the most watched matches in WWE's current catalog.
This match stands as the second ever official TLC match in WWE's canon, and to me it is the best of the iconic ladder matches that these three teams participated in.
While they had already had a Triangle Ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000, and the first ever TLC match at SummerSlam 2000 later that year, this match was the perfect end to the trilogy of spot fests. Edge has even gone on record saying that he and his TLC contemporaries pushed the envelope too far in their history making contests. I have to agree with Edge, a performer would damn near have to jump off a building to try and top these matches now.
I won't go through this match blow for blow again, but if you like violence, high spots, and terrible back breaking noises this match is right up your alley. The only spot I will address is the one in which Edge spears a dangling Jeff Hardy midair. That spot is going to go down as one of the best in WWE history without a doubt.
The match ends with the same results as the prior Wrestlemania, Edge and Christian inch out another win and further solidify their place as one of the greatest tag teams ever.
3. Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit (No Mercy 2002)
I am going to go on record and say that this is the single best tag team match in WWE history. The dynamics between these four were perfect, the wrestling was exciting, technical, and diverse, and the volatile team of Angle and Benoit made the match even more engaging.
This contest occurred only a few months after the brand extension and since Smackdown! was left without a tag team championship in the shuffle, general manager Stephanie McMahon christened the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The four future world champions put on a hectic catch-as-catch can style tag team match which featured some very innovative team moves from Edge and Mysterio used to combat the ground based offense of Angle and Benoit. The finals in this WWE Tag Team Championship tournament truly started the lineage of this championship off on the right foot.
Along with a match between Triple H and Steve Austin against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, this match has become one of WWE's most acclaimed traditional tag team matches and can serve as a resounding example of the abundance of talent that existed in WWE's midcard pool in the early half of the last decade.
The match ended with Benoit and Mysterio downed on the outside and Edge in the ring with Kurt Angle. Edge, while landing several big moves on the Olympian, was unable to endure the pain of the Angle Lock.
Edge, even in losing this match along with his partner Rey Mysterio, would go on to later defeat the first ever WWE Tag Team champions, Angle and Benoit. However, they only held the titles for a few weeks.
Not long after splitting with Mysterio, Edge was forced to take a year off to get spinal fusion surgery. This injury plagued him for more or less the rest of his in-ring career. Edge was forced to retire on April 11, 2011 citing cervical spinal stenosis as the reason, stemming from this very neck injury.
2. Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE Smackdown!, September 2002)
If you haven't noticed a trend by now, Edge is very goodat two things. Having a great television match, and putting on an engaging gimmick match. I haven't done any official research into this, but Edge may well hold the record for competing in the most stipulation matches in the WWE.
This match, somehow, has become one of the most notorious matches in WWE Smackdown! history. This is completely justified, however, as Latino Heat and the future Mr. Money in the Bank tore the freaking house down to say the least.
At this time Edge was really picking up momentum as a midcard babyface on the blue brand and Guerrero was the perfect heel to balance him out. Even on paper this match looks excellent and after seeing it for the first time I cannot tell you how satisfied I was with how it played out.
The match had so many awesome sequences, but my favorite is when Eddie monkey flips over Edge while they are both perched on top of a ladder and delivers the best looking monkey flip power bomb off a ladder I've ever seen.
Eddie's offense was always so spot on and his moves were always so crisp. After a few more moments of action Edge hits the Edgecution off the top of another ladder to get the victory.
I really wish we could have had a follow up feud to this one when Edge reached his main event status. However, as you might recall around the time Edge broke through that glass ceiling, we lost Eddie Guerrero. It still is sort of difficult for me to watch Guerrero wrestle without thinking about all of the "what ifs?" He was one of my absolute favorites and his charisma and antics can still make me chuckle. However, his match here with Edge was all business and he put over the future star huge.
Eddie Guerrero and Edge both went on to become the youngest inductees (until Trish Stratus) into WWE's Hall of Fame in 2006 and 2012, respectively. While some would say they were entered in too early, no one can argue their careers didn't deserve it. This match is a perfect example of that.
1. Edge vs. John Cena (Unforgiven 2006)
For me, John Cena and Edge gave one another the feud of their careers throughout a majority of 2006. While some can argue that Randy Orton will be remembered as John Cena's premier rival, I tend to favor Edge as Cena's most iconic enemy.
This match headlined the card of Unforgiven 2006, which had been one Hell of an event even before the two entered the ring. Edge was also walking into his hometown as WWE Champion competing against John Cena in a TLC match. A match that at the time, Edge had never lost. As an added stipulation, if John Cena lost he would sign a three year contract with WWE Smackdown!
During this time John Cena was still drawing massive heat from crowds who just were not connecting to me. So the popular thing to do, and sometimes they still do this, is stack the deck against John Cena as much as
possible. I don't think the odds had ever been against Cena as much as they were in Toronto at Unforgiven.
This match was simply a smorgasbord of awesome.
It had great ladder, table, and chair spots which all good TLC matches do, but I also had a sense that there was more to it than just a stipulation. This match had a big fight feel of course, but it was the culmination of this story and an ending to a rivalry that really solidified both of these guys as true mainstay main event talents.
Despite everything being against him, and nearly losing several times, John Cena was able to F-U the native Toronto Champion off the ladder and through two wooden tables before grabbing the WWE Championship.
This match marked the beginning of John Cena's 380 day WWE Championship reign. It would remain the longest WWE Championship reign of the Modern Era, until CM Punk eclipsed it in late 2012. Edge really gave Cena the kick off he needed for this title reign, he and John really gave the start of the near endless reign the match it deserved. The next 380 days were truly when Cena was king atop of the WWE mountain.