Edge’s Retirement Big Loss for WWE


It’s official. WWE’s 14 year veteran, “The Rated R Superstar,” Edge, has left the building.

For months, various wrestling news sources had been gossiping about the 11-time World Champion’s future in the WWE. Most of them speculated that he would retire in 2012. But, on April 11, 2011, during WWE’s Monday Night Raw, 37-year-old Edge (Adam Copeland) shocked the WWE Universe when he walked (reluctantly) out to the ring to announce his forced retirement.

Die hard “Edge Heads” remember all to well the broken neck that nearly put him on the shelf in 2003. It was then that he had his first neck fusion surgery, a surgery that would keep him out of action for nearly a year. But Edge was not going  to stay down.

The by-product of Edge’s determination was no doubt due to his long-term love affair with the WWE. As a boy, Edge dreamed of becoming a WWE Superstar, and was voted “most likely to become WWE Champion” in high school. At home as a fan in the Toronto Skydome, Edge watched his hero, Hulk Hogan, battle it out with the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. This epic event sealed the deal for him.

Edge’s resiliency comes from an additional place- where neck issues aren’t a foreign concept. According to WWE.com contributor, Ryan Murphy, Edge would injure his neck on several occasions as a kid, “doing everything from jumping off his kitchen table to falling face first down a hill.”

During his illustrious WWE career, Edge competed in a combined 19, record -breaking ladder, and tables, ladders and chairs matches (TLC.) For those of you who may be unfamiliar, TLC matches are one of the most brutal matches the WWE has concocted. Edge, along with former tag team partner Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz, were innovators of the TLC. But, they weren’t just innovators, this tag team trio were arguably the greatest in the WWE’s now dead tag team division; take a look in the WWE’s history book, you’ll find Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley’s secured themselves a prestigious spot.

Ironically, Edge had talked about the toll 19 ladder matches had taken on his body before Wrestlemania 27. The Raw following Wrestlemania 27, Edge delivered his emotionally charged retirement speech. Here is some of what he had to say:

A lot of people think that the WWE doesn’t hurt, that what we do is somewhat smoke and mirrors- and I wish that were true.  But anybody in that locker room, anybody that has ever stepped foot in here, anybody that’s ever laced up a pair of boots, they know that’s not the case. Eight years ago, I broke my neck. I had spinal fusion surgery…because of that surgery, I knew that I was wrestling on borrowed time from that point on… The last little while, I’ve been in a lot of pain- I’ve been losing feeling in my arms. So, I passed a strength test and all of those things and I made it through Wrestlemania- but, the WWE wanted me to go get more tests, and thankfully I did. But, the MRI tests showed that I have to retire. Trust me it’s not my choice, the doctors have told me that I got no choice- and thankfully they found out, because I’m not going to end up in a wheelchair now.

Note: To see the rest of Edge’s retirement speech, go here.

As Mike Mooneyham, from the Post and Courier said, “It’s more than a little fortuitous that doctors detected the problem before Edge’s next big scheduled bout — a ladder match with Alberto Del Rio at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.”

Edge also talked about not wanting a day to come where he wouldn’t be able to get back up in a match. Had he continued to wrestle, this may have been the outcome. Some of you may remember Darren Drozdov (A.K.A. Puke, Droz) from the WWE’s Attitude Era in the late 90’s. Droz became a quadriplegic due to a neck injury which he sustained during a match with D’Lo Brown in 1999.

With the fates seemingly on his side, Edge took his final bow at the following Smackdown, where he relinquished his championship belt to an arena filled with “Thank You Edge” and “Thank You Mom” chants.

But, how does the WWE replace one of the top superstars of the decade, a man who has amassed an astonishing 3o championship titles? With a roster that’s already depleted, it makes you wonder what their next move is going to be.

There is one other man on the roster who has the ability to be a great champion- Edge’s long time friend, Christian.

Here’s hoping he takes the belt at the Extreme Rules PPV, where he’ll face off against the man who will be throwing Edge a “farewell party” tonight on Smackdown.

The WWE’s Farcically Obvious Prediction Cycle


Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

This is by no means meant to deface the heart of the sports entertainment industry, I myself am a big fan of the WWE. What it is meant to do, is to provide a fan based, insider’s view of the often comical prediction cycle that runs rampant among WWE storylines.

For example, this past week on Smackdown, CM Punk faced Edge for the second week in a row, in a non-title match up that would see Punk cash in his money in the bank contract for the championship if he were able to put his signature move, the “go to sleep,” on Edge successfully. The problem with this scenario however, is that Edge got counted out, disqualifying himself and making it impossible for Punk to obtain the championship.

As if that weren’t enough, Umaga appeared from behind Punk, slamming him viciously onto the mat. Then Umaga finished Punk off with his signature move, the “Samoan spike.” It was about this time that J.R. uttered the words, “coming out of nowhere,” and Todd Grisham followed with, “Punk never saw Umaga coming!”

Really? Just one week prior, the same exact thing happened. Umaga, for no apparent reason, “appeared out of nowhere” at the end of Edge and Punk’s non-title match and barbarously slammed Punk onto the canvas, eliminating the possibility of him cashing in for the championship. How could anyone believe that we wouldn’t see the same results this past week? Kudos to both the performers and the commentators for their ability to act surprised.

How about the “I challenge any superstar in the locker room” routine? That never gets old. Anytime an up and coming superstar (generally a heel) or a “B-list” superstar “call out” an opponent to challenge, it’s always the most dominant superstar who answers. (When I say dominant, I mean physically monstrous in size and height.) 

This past week’s Smackdown also showcased new superstar Dolph Ziggler, as he aimed to make his mark among the WWE elite. Ziggler got The Great Kahli knocking down his door. Kahli answers a lot of these calls, he happily responded to “The” Brian Kendrick’s “call out” not so long ago also. In the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania 25, Jamie Noble thought it would be wise to call out a few superstars. One of his opponents wound up being “The Big Red Machine,” Kane. Not surprisingly, he lasted only a few seconds in the ring with each of his adversaries.

There can only be two logical explanations for the challenge routine. One is to give a boost to a potentially successful superstar’s career, and the other is saved for cutting promo’s for a PPV to come, usually Wrestlemania. This was the case with the Jamie Noble storyline-but, logic doesn’t really belong in this equation now does it? It wouldn’t be called sports entertainment if it did.

Funny thing is, I probably wouldn’t change a thing-well, not many things.

The WWE Creative Team Rises from the Dead


austin-vs-mcmahon

Until very recently the storylines in the WWE had become vacuous and stale. An ex wrestler, and new found buddy of mine brought up a pretty valid point. It seems that during the time the WWE’s ratings were dropping like fried insects from an outdoor bug zapper, Vince McMahon was trying to re-focus his attention on the “realism” of wrestling. This could have been a disastrous move. The WWE is a worldwide phenomena, but not because of the wrestling alone, not any longer.

It’s no secret that the WWE’s success comes from the malevolent rivalries and the often outre storylines; afterall, it is called sports entertainment. To try and go backwards, when wrestling was just wrestling is not plausible. Those times have long since died, and the outing of this type of wrestling as being fake is indelible. This is not to say that the grappling techniques, or the in ring action is fake, but rather the scripting of the storylines and the win/loss scenarios. Real fans of wrestling know all to well the strain that is put on these performers bodies on a weekly basis, it is no easy task to maintain the physical attributes neccessary to withstand the kind of punishment they take. One has to admire the Ric Flair’s, Hulk Hogan’s, Shawn Michael’s, and Undertaker’s in this business, all of whom have wrestled off and on for over two decades.

So, is it really that much of a shock that the near non existant storylines, and the mostly short lived, hollow rivalries didn’t fly among the WWE Universe?  

To the Rescue!

 In recent months, the creative team has saved face by producing several new storylines. The Orton vs. Mcmahons’ feud was a brilliant move, bringing back shades of the popular “attitude era” of the nineties and early 21st century. Even more impressive is the teams idea to pull a switch by turining the Mcmahons’ role face, and the antagonist (in this case, Randy Orton and Legacy) as the heel. It’s the Stone Cold storyline all over again, with a few variations. The Edge, Vickie Guerrero, and Big Show storyline also shows signs of the “attitude era.” Who could ever forget the Kane and Tori storyline, or the Kane, Lita, and Edge storyline, which then turned into the Matt Hardy, Edge, and Lita storyline? Better yet, who could forget the Trish Stratus and Vince McMahon storyline? Thats classic entertainment.

One of the storylines that hasn’t seemed to be as effective as others in the past, is the Hardy brothers betrayal storyline. It’s been done again and again. We saw it with Bret and Owen Hart and Edge and Christian, (who aren’t really brothers by the way) among many more. The Hardy Boyz are arguably the most popular brother tag team the WWE has ever seen, which is why I believe it isn’t working so well. However, I do think it could be the right call for a short term period. It will finally give Matt Hardy an opportunity to create a separate identity, away from his fan popular brother Jeff.

 Overall, I’d say it’s a job well done. Kudos to you WWE creative team, we look forward to more entertainment!

WWE Supplemental Draft Recap 2009


evanbourne2wwe_christian2_300x300

There were a few more surprises left in store during today’s supplemental draft on WWE.com, and as I expected, my draft pick percentages climbed the charts.

Prediction one- One of the Bella twins would go to Raw. I should get half the points for this call, because both of  the Bella twins landed on Raw.

Prediction two- Hurricane Helms would go to ECW.

Prediction three- Natalya going to ECW.

Prediction four- Zack Ryder going to ECW, though I thought Curt Hawkins would go with him, as there is no real tag team competition in the ECW anymore.

Surprise, Surprise!

In my draft follow up article, I mentioned that Christian and Evan Borne would jump ECW’s ship; they stayed on board. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this, there are other superstars who would fit better on ECW’s roster. Brian Kendrick for instance, who’s counterpart, Ezekiel Jackson landed there. Instead they split them up, and sent “The” Brian Kendrick to Raw……What?

Another candidate for ECW, Charlie Haas, was sent to Smackdown-When was the last time he even stepped in the ring? Dolph Ziggler joined him too, and while I find Dolph to be both entertaining and a good wrestler, he’s still in the grooming stage.

Festus was split from Jesse and is going to Raw…..Need I say anything more?

A nice surprise was seeing Cryme Tyme’s JTG and Shad going to Smackdown, while Carlito and Primo moved to Raw.

John Morrisson did wind up jumping ECW’s ship, but that was no shock, he’s been primed for solo superstardom for sometime now. He will call Smackdown his new home.

Brand jumping doesn’t only happen during the draft, I still have a hunch we’ll see Christian and Evan Borne jump before the years up. Here’s hoping.

WWE 2009 Draft Follow Up-and some other afterthoughts


matt_hardy1the-mizIn relation to my draft picks, the night started off with a bang. However, by the end of the night the draft picks I  made scored an even 6-6. Including the picks that were not made, I was a horrendous 6-17. It’s not bad for my first ever WWE draft prediction, but I submitted my picks with the supplemental draft in mind. The supplemental draft this year will occur Wednesday on WWE.com at noon. So, technically it’s not over. Last years supplemental draft earned Raw 6 other picks, Smackdown 6 other picks, and ECW 4 other picks. Two former ECW jumpers, Shelton Benjamin and Kofi Kingston, have gained (or regained) WWE superstar status’, which is why I believe Evan Borne and Christian will be jumping ECW’s ship this year. Christian has always had a large following, his “peeps” are 100% loyal, and lets be honest, he’s too much of commodity to remain on ECW. Evan Borne has, in recent months, garnered a large following of his own due to his high risk, high flying, in ring abilities. It is intoxicating to watch him in the ring, and he should be given the opportunity for better competition.

Other points of interest include ECW recieving only one pick in the first round of the draft.  Raw has 30 superstars on it’s roster, Smackdown has 34 on it’s roster, and ECW has a pathetic 16 superstars only on its roster. WWE fans are very aware of the order of things regarding the individual brands. Raw has always been marketed as the number one brand, (though over the past several months Smackdown has stolen the spotlight, which is why I suspect Raw recieved the most draft picks) Smackdown as the number two brand, and ECW as the last. There has always been a balance though, for the most part, between the shows superstars and their popularity. This has to be done to keep people interested in watching each brands show. ECW has been the exception to this rule, with generally only one or two superstars worth watching and a handful of wrestling rookies vying for the right to be called superstar. I’m no marketing guru, but the problem with this approach is that if Vince McMahon doesn’t at least keep ECW’s depth chart as thick, or close to the other two brands, the show will be buried. There are a few superstars on the other two rosters that have potential (they wouldn’t be in the WWE if they didn’t) but have yet to find the right gimmick, or storyline to bolster their careers. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, (former Edge lackeys) Sim Snuka, (“Superfly” Snuka’s son) DH Smith, (the late great Davey Boy Smith/British Bulldog’s son) Hurricane Helms, Jesse and Festus, and Jimmy Wang Yang, just to name a few. They would be perfect for transitioning in ECW.

The diva’s are always a tricky prediction because the competion between the divas has been a joke for several years now. It’s more about selling sex than competition. Of course, there are a few ladies worth watching; Mickie James, Gail Kim, and Natalya for starters. I’ll give props to Melina and Michelle McCool for trying to put out a great performance, as well as learning how to wrestle and taking it seriously. The diva proportions on the brands are ridiculous though. Raw and Smackdown have eight divas each, while ECW has only three. What is that about?

Now, we get to what you’ve all been waiting for….the shockers of the night.

1. Matt Hardy going to Raw– It was no shock that The Hardy’s were split up, you can only take this type of storyline to a certain point, and I believe it will slowly fade away soon enough. Jeff Hardy seemed like the more likely candidate between the two brothers to go to Raw because Matt Hardy had just jumped ship from ECW, and like it or not Jeff Hardy is the more popular brother. It’s a shame really, because Matt has just as much talent as his brother, but  fans seem to take faster to the high risk, high flying sort- understandably. Matt has more charisma then his counterpart Jeff, but on the other hand Jeff”s obvious artistic abilities and his quiet demeanor make him mysterious. Everyone loves a mysterious rebel. Secondly, it’s hard to sale two brothers who are face, one is always going to be the more popular. It was a smart career move for Matt to turn heel, it gives him his own identity, away from the Hardy Boyz label. Every WWE superstar dreams of becoming the WWE champion and you can’t do that as a team.

2. The Miz going to Raw–  I saw this split coming too; it’s been a long time coming. Both superstars have the capability of branching out and having successful individual careers, but again, I thought it would be the other way around. John Morrison is the more talented of the two, and seems to be more popular. This leaves the tag team division even more devoid then before- something needs to be done about that.

3. Legacy staying intact- I thought for sure one of Legacy’s members would be divided in order to really shake up that storyline. A change is coming, either Ted Dibiase or Cody Rhodes will turn on Randy Orton. Legacy will dissolve in a similar way to Evolution.

and finally……

4. I knew Kane would go to Smackdown, but I thought there would be a trade off for The Undertaker to draw out the storyline between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker a bit longer. Maybe they plan on either re-uniting or pitting the two brothers against one another again. I have no complaints there, but still, there is the supplemental draft ahead. With my other draft picks being correct, Triple H, and the Big Show going to Raw, along with Batista being back, I was almost positive John Cena would go back to Smackdown. Too many big names on one show isn’t the norm for the creative writing teams. Also, it would have been a great opportunity to enhance Cena and Edge’s storyline, especially with the Big Show out of the way. The Big Show went to Raw to end the Vicki Guerrero/Edge saga, which was an easy prediction.

See you after the results of the supplemental draft!  It will be a much shorter re-cap. Until then….