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.

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….

WWE 2009 Draft Predictions

wweIt’s that time again! The draft is upon us, and with it comes many predictions. Tonight at 7 central time, 8 eastern, Monday Night Raw will unleash a tidal wave of much needed change, to as the brilliant Vincent Kennedy McMahon would say, “Shake things up a bit.” Things have certainly been shaking up in the WWE.

Before I give my draft predictions, let’s take a look at the WWE rosters. (Managers and announcers not included in this specific prediction.) 

Raw Roster                                                   

Smackdown Roster

Ecw Roster

Notes*- My draft picks are based upon the WWE current storylines, and ECW’s lackluster roster.

On Raw the following will be drafted- Triple H, Jeff Hardy,Evan Borne,The Big Show, John Morrisson, MVP, The Undertaker, Maria, and one of the Bella twins.

On Smackdown the following will be drafted- Chris Jericho, Christian, Cody Rhodes*,( or Randy Orton) The Miz, John Cena, Rey Mysterio, and Kane

On ECW the following will be drafted- Mike Knox, Dolph Ziggler, Jamie Noble, Charlie Haas, Hurricane Helms, The Brian Kendrick, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Layla, and Natalya.

My prediction percentages will soon come to light; until then, this night is sure to keep you dangling on the edge of your seats!

Has the WWE Forgotten Chyna, the “9th Wonder of the World”?

The WWE’s Real Dominant Diva


Over the past several months on Monday Night Raw, commentators Jerry “The King” Lawler and Micheal Cole have made some rather brazen comments.

On several occasions, while watching Beth “The Glamazon” Phoenix perform in ring, both commentators boldly crowned her  ” the most dominant diva the WWE has ever had.” I put great emphasis on the word ever. Why? Because WWE history tells us otherwise.

In 1997, a woman by the name of Joanie Laurer entered the WWE for the first time. The WWE billed her as Chyna , the name she’s been known by ever since, and the antithesis of her television persona.

As an ex bodybuilder, Chyna’s initial role was to play bodyguard to Triple H (Paul Levesque.) The role frequently called for her to interfere in his matches, insuring a favorable victory on his end. Her role remained fairly small until “The Show Stopper,”  Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) teamed up with the then regal (and arrogant) Triple H, to form the first version of the infamous faction, Degeneration X.

DX defined the WWE’s attitude era of the 90’s. Their rebellion towards authority (specifically towards the McMahon family, owners of the billion dollar company) and their crass catch phrase “suck it,” gained them a tremendous amount of popularity. WWE fans clamored for DX – they were the main event.

Shortly after forming DX however, Shawn Michaels was forced into a premature retirement. Nagging back injuries had finally taken their toll on the superstar. Triple H, left with only Chyna at his side, became head master. It was then that her role began to increase.

Seeing an opportunity to rise to the top of the WWE power ladder, Triple H started the recruiting process for the more notorious of the two DX factions. His selections would prove to be the perfect pieces to an incomplete puzzle.

Using the cerebral approach he’d become so well-known for, Triple H targeted the obnoxiously entertaining X-pac, formerly known as the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman.) Once he had “the Pac,” he moved in on members of the unruly tag team, The New Age Outlaws.

If “you didn’t knoooow,”  The New Age Outlaws were, “The Bad AssBilly Gunn (Monty Sopp) and The Road DoggJesse James” (Brian Gerard James.)

This faction of DX ruled the world of pro wrestling for two straight years, from 1997-1999. During this period, Chyna not only continued to interfere in matches, but she took part in them, both in tag team action and solo action. She couldn’t wrestle against the women, she was too powerful; more powerful than some of the men on the roster at the time.

(Fact: She’s the only woman in the history of the WWE to wrestle men on a consistent basis.)

After DX dissolved, Chyna briefly went on to join another faction formed by the owner/boss Vince McMahon, which was appropriately named, The Corporation.

From there she went solo and continued to break new ground in a predominately male world.

She was the first woman in WWE history (and the last) to enter the Royal Rumbleand qualify for King of the Ring. Her most impressive feat however, was when she captured the Intercontinental Championship, a title she held three times. Chyna was the first and last woman to accomplish this honor as well.

Towards the end of her career, when she began to tone down and focus on beauty, she held the Women’s Championship. She left the WWE in 2001, not long after winning the title.

So, the question is, have they really forgotten about Chyna, or have they chosen not to acknowledge her exploits because of her questionable (yet hilarious) post WWE career choices? (I.e. her reality tv show debacle, b-list movies, and her decision to jump on the celebrity sex tape bandwagon.)

Could it be a combination of all of these things, along with her very publicized struggle with abusive relationships, alcohol, and prescription drugs? My bet is on the latter- who could forget about a woman who forever changed the course of WWE history?

But, there’s a (big) hole in the aforementioned theory. Chyna is not the first WWE superstar, and she has certainly not been the last, to struggle with personal demons and have them publicized.

In fact, after the death of Eddie Guerrero, (Eduardo Guerrero) and the shocking murder/suicide death of Chris Benoit, both of which were tied to steroids and other drugs, the WWE took some major heat. This heat caused the franchise to implement a better drug testing system, and gave superstars with potential problems a chance to seek counseling before releasing them.

Conclusion? While Beth “The Glamazon” Phoenix is, at this moment, the most dominant diva in the WWE, she is most definitely not the most dominant diva the company has ever had.

Here’s another fact: Since Chyna’s departure from the WWE in 2001, not a single diva has come remotely close to breaking the kind of records she did. Credit should be given where credit is due. Put personal feelings aside, be professionals and give homage to the woman who changed the face of the WWE forever.