I am not blaming the ills of the WWE and the faltering of storylines and potential superstars on the retirement of one WWE superstar, but his sudden departure did not help matters when it came to the progression of the company.
Edge and Christian, billed as brothers and later childhood friends in WWF/WWE storylines, went on to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on seven different occasions. During this time, they gained notoriety in the tag team division, partly due to their participation in Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches.
Edge won 31 championships in WWE overall, including 11 world championships (the WWE Championship four times and the World Heavyweight Championship a record seven times), five Intercontinental Championships, one United States Championship, and 14 Tag Team Championships (a record 12 World Tag Team Championships and two WWE Tag Team Championships).
He also had an unofficial co-champion reign with Mick Foley as WWE Hardcore Champion. He won the 2001 King of the Ring tournament, was the first Money in the Bank ladder match winner in 2005 and again in 2007 (also being the winner of a match to reclaim and cash in the contract, thus becoming the first to cash in and win both world titles), and won the Royal Rumble match in 2010, making him the only wrestler in history to achieve all three of those accomplishments.
He headlined many major pay-per-view events for WWE, including WrestleMania XXIV. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his long-time friend and tag team partner Christian on March 31, 2012. Critics and fans alike have regarded Edge as one of the most decorated and greatest professional wrestlers in history. And in my mind, one of the most underrated champions of all time.
Edge’s style, his ability and his approval with the fans as both a face and a heel made him genuinely great for both the WWE and the business of wrestling. The fact he helped usher in more hardcore tag team wrestling to the company was only part of his pure genius. In an era of tables and chairs being used more and more as ever-match weaponry speaks to the greatness of the man who made the “spear” popular again.
He, along with Christian and Chris Jericho helped continue the success of Canadian wrestlers that the likes of Bret Hart created before these greats. It also proves that should he still be in the ring and not on SyFi each week, his penchant for tables, ladders and chairs may be more popular than it is today. For those reasons, he was ahead of his time and with Christian formed one of the best and most underrated tag teams of his tenure in the company.
What the WWE plans to do with Edge in the future remains to be seen. The neck injury that put him out of action is still a concern, but he would be great as a commentator or manager in some capacity (Tyson Kidd) where his mic skills and interviews would be a welcomed addition to programming.
While he is not able to wrestle, his contributions from the past could certainly build the future of the WWE, and for that his retirement, however abrupt, could be a true benefit.