Edge has put together a Hall of Famer career, but as some fans wonder what is his place in today’s generation it’s clear he’s still a valuable asset to the WWE.
While online, fans of wrestling like to compare and contrast superstars. Social media posts comparing Edge to younger talent like Alister Black or his friend and ally Christian Cage are fun, but we need to get real. Edge still matters to WWE and wrestling overall and is one of the most important people currently active in the industry. He is so vital, in fact, that WWE should be willing to do just about anything to keep him from his hinted retirement.
The contrarian streak that runs through a portion of the wrestling community might feel compelled to argue that point. After all, WWE hasn’t used Edge all that well recently. But Edge still matters to WWE for several reasons. Fans of a certain age remember the sting of losing the Rated-R superstar once before, Edge still needs a signature return moment, and he represents a fading breed of WWE wrestler. That he remains active is also essential to ensure he was more than just a return that led to nothing special. There are numerous reasons why keeping Edge around as an active performer is still worth it.
The Last Icon of a Fading Era
Edge still matters to WWE because he is one of the last active wrestlers that made their mark in the early to mid-2000s. In addition to having several massive stars break out, that period is also the period today’s adult fans started watching wrestling. The days of Rock or Stone Cold being the returning veterans is over, and WCW is not just old-school; it is practically vintage. Filling the role of guys like The Undertaker, Steve Austin, or even the Rock is meant to be talent from this late Ruthless Aggression time that morphed into the PG era.
Looking at those stars, though, most of them are also gone. John Cena is never really around, and his recent performances could have been better. Likewise, acts like Batista, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, and Big Show are now out of the company. With Randy Orton going down with an injury, Edge and Rey Mysterio remain from that main event scene circa 2006 and beyond. The Rock aside, the nostalgia acts that WWE often gets will suffer from diminishing returns. Stars like Edge move the needle for the adult side of the fanbase today. Writing off Edge as a relic is looking at a nostalgia act, WWE’s typical money-printing machine, and putting it away before you’ve gotten paid.
One Last Run for Nothing, Yet
What has Edge done for the next generation in WWE thus far? This isn’t on him either, but rather the creative team’s refusal to understand that Edge still matters to WWE. He created Judgment Day in a way, which is an undeniably hot act right now. However, some could argue that the Edge feud with Balor and his crew was the worst part of their rise to the main event scene on Raw. Edge’s return was a significant moment in WWE history, and it has also been what people remember from this second run.
Edge should be making new stars and not by becoming some new character. It is always good to try new things, but the bread and butter or the Rated-R superstar is a crafty strategist with grit and a mean streak. Watching Edge show cocky heels like Austin Theory how it is done or using his patented wit to go toe to toe with people like LA Knight should be a no-brainer. If Edge is going to go out, there should be a line of people that get to work with him as a teammate, rival, challenger, or champion. There is too much left in having Edge around to disregard him altogether. That is why this run as an active competitor was so important when it started and gets more important the closer we get to the end.
Nobody Likes the Sequel Quite as Much
That he remains an active competitor matters significantly for anyone who saw Edge leave for the first time in 2012. Losing Edge stung for everyone, and he was amid a solid babyface run on Smackdown then. Edge will inevitably retire again someday, but WWE should be in no hurry for that to happen. There is very little that the promotion can do to capitalize on his departure. We have already seen him inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, done the DVD, and had heartfelt goodbyes from his contemporaries. If Edge left tomorrow, the video package they created would be almost identical to what we got, save for his Rumble return and a WrestleMania match or two.
As an active competitor, he always has one more match to build to. One more championship match, Money in the Bank opportunity, or PLE main event will always draw a crowd in a way that Edge’s retirement just can’t. Edge still matters to WWE because he can’t make money as a retired act. He has the rare distinction of being able to say he did his retirement before hanging up his boots. The GM appearances or one-off interviews won’t cut it because he’s already done it, and fans have already seen it. While it is unfortunate that he will end his career, putting it off will make more money for everyone.
Edge Still Matters to WWE Fans
Besides the programmatic reasons that Edge can be an asset to WWE, the fans are number one for why he still matters—fans like seeing Edge. Maybe it is because of his past, his potential future, or because it was too hard to see him leave the first time. Whatever the reason why, he remains popular with the fans. Whether he gets used as an active competitor correctly or not, the WWE Universe proves it whenever Metalingus plays over the speakers; Edge still matters to them.