Edge’s Slammy appearance and attention to detail


On three-hour Slammy edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, Smackdown wrestler Edge made a guest appearance as a presenter, award winner, and later on competitor on the show. He cut a promo in order to hype his upcoming World Heavyweight Championship title match against Kane before beginning his award presentation by calling out an old friend, injured fellow Smackdowner Christian. The two then cut a promo for the award presentation that was fairly reminiscent of the old Edge and Christian characters.

While the interaction between Edge and Christian was mostly fun to watch, the segment as a whole did not go over well. There were a myriad of reasons for this (Edge and the booking crew passing off what happened to Paul Bearer as minutiae and the announcers not selling the appearance of Christian among others), but there was one thing that irked me the most about this segment. During the whole sketch, Edge and Christian acted very casually and friendly, as if nothing in the past had happened between them that would cause animosity. Yet just eight months ago, before Edge was drafted to Raw, he and Christian had a confrontation on Smackdown which ended in Edge completing his heel turn and admitting that he was manipulating the fans to get his way.

In fact, the two of them have shown some animosity going back to Backlash in 2009. So why did they seem so friendly at the Slammy awards? Because Edge has since turned face once again and WWE booking simply looked past this episode. Why is that important? Because it is endemic of the sort of thing WWE booking often overlooks, details previously given that are quickly forgotten and glossed over. And it is these inconsistencies that are making fans uninterested in what is happening in the current WWE universe.

Attention to Detail

Based on the Slammy award promo, you would have never guessed that, just eight months before, Edge and Christian had come to blows. With the two being on separate shows, there was no way for them to bury the hatchet on screen, and the meeting they had on Raw made no mention of the two making amends in the locker room. Essentially, that particular promo on Smackdown never happened in this WWE universe. That was a 10+ minute promo that was simply swept under the rug by the WWE writers.

If the writers can essentially retcon away a 10-minute promo that was supposed to seal a top-card heel turn, how can you expect fans to take a recent development in the WWE seriously? If anything in the WWE can simply magically disappear because the bookers do not expect viewers to remember it, how can viewers and fans invest in the storylines they are currently being presented? That is where simply glossing over details from the past can come back to haunt WWE’s current product. If fans know that in a year from now, the major storylines they are watching right now will be all but forgotten, then there is no reason to invest emotionally or fiscally in the plots involved. There is no reason for fans to pay money to watch John Cena face Wade Barrett at WWE TLC this weekend if it will amount to a non-event just four or five months from now.

What’s a small detail?

One might say that something like that Edge/Christian promo being overlooked is not entirely out of line. Indeed, fans do not want to be overwhelmed with continuity just for continuity’s sake. But it compromises the stories that are being told and the characters being portrayed when details are overlooked. Face and heel turns are diminished in impact when a character’s continuity is disrupted or forgotten, because if the backstory does not fit the current product, knowing fans will have a harder time buying into the current situation.

Take this greater example regarding Cena, Barrett, and Randy Orton. The “Free or Fired” angle run last month and coming at a head at WWE Survivor Series involved Cena deciding whether to award the WWE Championship to Barrett and be free from Nexus or to be fired from the company upon awarding it to the champion Orton. During the setup for the PPV match, Cena and Orton stood at odds but were mostly respectful towards each other’s positions. After Cena ended the Survivor Series match by counting the pinfall and having Orton retain, they twice hugged and raised each other’s hands in victory.

However, just a few years ago, Orton and Cena were involved in a feud for the WWE title, and as part of the buildup of the feud, Orton punted John Cena’s father in the head.

This hasn’t been mentioned at all in the interaction between these two men recently. While what Edge and Christian might have said could have been forgotten, such a traumatic, emotional angle like the one used last year should not be thrown by the wayside. There should be little to no reason for Cena’s character to interact positively with Orton after that happened, but because Orton and Cena are now both faces this extremely important detail is simply ignored.

Reward the viewers

The WWE bookers have an opportunity to weave storylines and characters over long periods of time, taking into account their past in order to build believable characters in the current day. However, often times the bookers pass on the opportunity, and when glaring mistakes like the recent interaction between Cena and Orton happen, it devalues what has already happened in the WWE Universe. Devaluing the past is what ends up killing the hype for the future, because fans no longer credibly buy the product and stories being sold, knowing that many of them simply will not matter in a year or two’s time.

A simple example of Edge and Christian forgetting their animosity towards each other can be something that kills a potential storyline later down the line, and it is something that should be avoided whenever possible. Instead of forgetting the past, the WWE should be rewarding viewers for recalling it. It does not mean that they must gorge themselves on old continuity, but rather they should respect the stories they have previously built and at least give reasoning to what is happening now based on the past. The WWE writers need to incorporate the history of the characters more intelligently and make viewers know that investing in the product will yield positive future results.