RTV Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2012 – Entrant #1: Edge

I posted my ‘Core 50’ RTV Hall of Famers only yesterday, which can be found here, in the Hall of Fame section of the blog: https://rtvwrestling.wordpress.com/the-rtv-pro-wrestling-hall-of-fame/ But I also promised that I would induct a new member whenever WWE did to theirs, and during the process of writing the Core 50, WWE announced two inductees to their Hall of Fame (not including Mil Macsaras), and so I now have to announce two, and my first is also their first.

It’s only been nine months since Edge was forced to retire due to neck injuries, and most sports Halls of Fame have a sense of propriety, inducting members a couple of years after their retirement so as their retirement can sink in and their careers can be evaluated. In wrestling however, propriety is not a priority, at least not more so than nostalgia. Saying that, I do consider the speed of Edge’s entrance troublesome. But then again, look at his career. It all becomes legitimate.

Edge has an impressive list of trainers, including Dory Funk Jr. and Stu Hart, but those skills weren’t necessarily the focus of his early career as part of one of the most successful tag teams ever, Edge & Christian. After debuting as part of The Brood, but quickly outgrowing it, they became the greatest heel tag team of modern times. Completely unique and contemporary, E&C became a teen idol style smart-mouthed team who would use comic skits to mock either their opponents or the town they were in. In doing so, they created many memorable scenes, notably them dressed in huge foam cowboy hats, mocking Elvis in Memphis, and their infamous ‘5 Second Poses’ which came over as incredibly egotistical to the fans in attendance. Their tag team career had a very serious side though, as they would be part of some of the most brutal and innovative matches in wrestling history. Edge and Christian competed at a high-point for tag team wrestling, specifically working with the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz. At WrestleMania 2000, they competed in a highly memorable and innovative triangle ladder match with the Hardyz and Dudleyz which saw them win their first WWF Tag Team Championship; the first of a record seven reigns. Over the next year, at Summerslam and WrestleMania X7, the three teams would be part of some of the most shocking and innovative matches of all time: TLC I and II. This match is now a staple of pro-wrestling, and Edge is known as one of the six innovators of the match, as well as ladder matches generally. E&C would eventually split, and Edge seemed destined for the top, turning face and being beloved by his ‘Edgeheads’ almost instantly. Edge’s career would really take off though in 2005 when his relationship with Lita (at Matt Hardy’s expense) would make him one of the most hated heels of the decade as he and Lita would flaunt their highly sexual activities in the face of Hardy, leading to a lengthy and memorable feud between the two. Edge had such heat that he was sure to move to the top of the card and so was a natural choice as the first ever Money in the Bank winner, which he won at WrestleMania XXI. Almost a year of garnering heat later, with Lita by his side, he cashed in the contract on top face John Cena to arguably become the top heel in wrestling. His feud with Cena was one of the most notable of our current era, pushing the envelope in quality and drama, including his outrageous ‘Live Sex Celebration with Lita’, one of the highest rated segments in WWE history, and many great matches, especially his TLC match with John Cena at Unforgiven in 2006. This was even more important as dearth of fresh new stars in the company in the middle of the decade; Edge stood up to help carry the WWE on his shoulders. Edge would continue to be a fantastic, hated heel, through periods in Rated RKO and La Familia though towards the end of his career the fans respected him so much, he worked best as a babyface, and after winning his final match at WrestleMania XXVII, his retirement came as a mournful shock to fans across the world. There are few wrestlers so important to the fans, so charismatic, and so successful. Indeed, Edge won 31 championships, including a record 7 World Heavyweight Championships, as well as being the only man to win the King of the Ring, the Money in the Bank, and the Royal Rumble. He was forced to retire early, which is a shame, though fans are pleased his life is no longer on the line.

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