After last year’s momentous return in the Royal Rumble match, many fans were wondering if we would see the “Rated R Superstar” Edge in this year’s edition of the match. Fans were right to be concerned: Edge tore his triceps in his “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” against Randy Orton at Backlash in May.
Edge answered those questions on the Jan. 25 episode of WWE Raw as he announced his entry into the Royal Rumble match.
For fans of Edge, this is undoubtedly exciting news. Earlier in the night, they showed a graphic with the announced participants for each Rumble match and I counted 16 men and 12 women; Edge makes 17 announced with presumably a few more to come between now and Sunday. That means anywhere from four to eight spots could be surprises or unannounced current wrestlers.
That out of the way, let’s discuss the implications of Edge’s announcement both for him and WWE.
MOMENT: Edge announces his entry into the Royal Rumble match in a pre-recorded promo
If you haven’t seen the spot, here’s a moment posted to Twitter (the entire thing is a few minutes long, but worth the watch if you can find the full clip).
Now, at first, I tweeted that it was a bit of an anti-climatic announcement. However, after thinking about it more, there are probably more positives than negatives in announcing Edge’s return on Raw.
First, there will be an absence of a crowd, and you just don’t have moments like his return last year without the fans erupting to the point that Edge nearly started crying during his entrance.
Second, and probably what drove the decision on WWE’s end, announcing Edge now might spur extra buys of the pay-per-view. For a company that just sold the WWE Network for a cool one billion dollars to NBC and their peacock Network (they stylize “peacock” with a lowercase), not to mention their five billion-dollar deal with FOX, you would think this wouldn’t be a driving factor.
Maybe it isn’t, but this is WWE we’re talking about, the company that laid off/furloughed scores of employees yet still turned record profits, with even more profits expected.
Third, in a Rumble that doesn’t really seem to have a definitive men’s favorite, inserting Edge adds someone with the cache and impact that can lead fans to believe he can be a legitimate winner. Being that he announced on Raw, one would assume this means he would challenge the winner of Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg.
This brings me to his promo, a close, tight shot of Edge sitting in the corner of a ring with a dark background so you could only see him and the ropes behind him. His promo laid the foundation for not only his victory but reliving his shining moment from a decade ago one last time.
He discussed how he won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania a decade ago only to have to relinquish that and his career a week later. He discussed his mother’s words to him when he told her he was going to be a wrestler (“Just go do it”) and how that drove him to work nine years to return.
He said he needed to enter the Rumble match to win so he can take back what’s his, what he never lost (in this case, probably the WWE Championship). He thanked fans who’ve been with him since The Brood and said they know he has to at least try. He quoted Henry Ford and ended the promo.
Regardless of who wins the WWE Championship match (hopefully McIntyre), Edge winning the Rumble match and challenging the winner is a ready-made WrestleMania main event. Think of the storylines heading into the match.
-“Can Edge channel his former self and reclaim lost glory?”
-“Is this the end for Edge?”
-“What will this mean for McIntyre’s/Goldberg’s legacy if he can defeat Edge?”
-“Will Edge repeat a decade ago by winning and relinquishing, only this time voluntarily as he retires?”
-“Will Edge be a fighting champion if he wins?”
Of course, if The Miz holds the Money in the Bank briefcase still, there are even more storylines and discussion points should Edge win.
Will he win, though? At this point, out of those announced, he’s as good a bet as any. Even if he doesn’t win, there are plenty of angles that can be created for Edge coming out of the event depending on how much more Edge wants to wrestle.
I guess I am a little more interested to watch the men’s Rumble match because of Edge’s entry; are you?