Last night, Edge retired on Monday Night Raw. It was everything we wish it could be. He was given the microphone and allowed to just say whatever he wanted. It was everything one could ever hope for in a wrestling retirement speech. The whole time I was watching the match, all I could think of was the phrase, “Damn you.” Relax, it wasn’t about Edge. The whole time I watched that speech, all I could think about was the fact that I didn’t believe it. I kept on waiting for Del Rio’s music to hit or the Miz’ or the Corre’s or CM Punk’s. Here was one of the greatest wrestlers of the past decade pouring his heart out to us and saying goodbye and all I could think about was who was going to interfere in his speech. My “Damn you” was for all the others who had made a retirement speech so meaningless. I thought of Scott Steiner being wheeled out to the ring by his brother Rick. I thought of Tommy Dreamer weeping about his retirement in time for Steve Corino to come and interfere with his speech. I thought of Arn Anderson’s speech to Curt Hennig (“I’m not giving you a spot in the Horsemen. I’m giving you MY spot.”) and the spectacle it became the next week followed by the angle where Curt Hennig joined the nWo at WCW Fall Brawl. Not to mention all the Terry Funk, Mick Foley or Ric Flair retirements.
The “Damn you” went to wrestling. Retirement speeches never mean anything anymore. Either they’re angles (like when Kevin Nash lost the retirement match to Hogan, Bagwell/Hennig had their retirement matches in WCW’s dying days or Savage-Warrior’s Wrestlemania match) or empty promises (Foley, Flair and Funk). Can we stop doing stupid angles revolving around retirement? No fans believe it any more until the point something happens like Edge retiring out of nowhere like last night.
Do I think we’ll be completely angle-free from Edge’s retirement? Of course not. That would make no business sense from the WWE. But for at least one night, we got to witness Edge go out and say his good-byes to the fans the way he wanted to. Very classy move by the WWE. There are fewer soldiers more loyal than Edge. He never went to WCW or TNA or anywhere else, even though they would have paid top dollar for him.
What comes next from this? Does Edge go in the Hall of Fame? Only if they want their HOF to be legitimate. And why not a career as a broadcaster? I know Jerry Lawler looks 20 years younger than Edge, but that’s only because he has the finest plastic surgeons in Memphis working on his face. The time will come when it’s time to replace Lawler. With all love to Booker T, it might be nice to see different choices available to do commentary. As time goes on, maybe make Edge a manager or a commissioner role. The guy is one of the best talkers of his era. Don’t let that asset go to waste.
I could bore you with story after story of what Edge meant to me. I remember his first match when he beat Jorge Estrada of Las Boriquas by countout. I remember him and Christian with their poses. I remember the great TLC matches. I remember the Guerreros-Benoit & Angle-Rey & Edge era on Smackdown. I remember the Matt Hardy feud with Lita and how big that was. I remember him cashing in his Money in the Bank and winning the title for the first time. I remember the first time my wife saw him and did a double-take (true story). Edge is like a little kid we watched grow up in front of us.
WWE, I don’t thank you very much, but thank you for giving Edge one night where everything was ok. Work your angles from here on. I give you full permission. Just please do not bring out a little person (“midget” for the politically incorrect). That’s not funny. But angle your little heart out from there.