With the sudden news the night after Wrestlemania XXVII in April of 2011 that the WWE’s World Heavyweight Champion was being forced to retire due to a neck injury, it was hard to know how to react, and how the WWE itself would react.
For the previous decade Edge had been a major player in the WWE ring and had risen to be the lead performer on its Smackdown brand, feuding with the greats and the up and comers and putting on great performances night after night, and, while he may never have become a household name like The Rock of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge certainly carried on the stellar work they began in the so-called ‘Attitude Era’ and acted as a bridge to the new, more ‘PG-13’ era of WWE programming.
Well its safe to say that this DVD (or Blu-ray) set shows that the WWE does indeed appreciate the work done by Edge as they have created what is certainly one of their best documentaries to date, probably running a close second to The Rise and Fall of ECW.
The main reason that the main documentary film of this set is as good as the previous ECW one is the same; the fourth wall of pro-wrestling is allowed to be broken, particularly by Edge, or Adam as we learn he prefers to be called, as he discusses his life long association with the ‘sport’ from being a young Hulkamaniac to saying goodbye live on Monday Night Raw the night after Wrestlemania.
This is an astonishingly frank and open approach from the WWE, which also includes comments from many current WWE performers and even a new interview with former WWE wrestler Rhyno who broke into pro-wrestling along with Edge and Christian.
While a few things are glossed over, or somewhat one-sided (some comment from the Hardy Boyz or Dudleys would have added some more context to some events where Edge is painted as the ‘good guy’ and, particularly Matt Hardy, comes across as the ‘bad guy’ in a real life situation) most of the talk about the personal/professional life crossovers that really made Edge’s name as he moved to main event status are, for a WWE documentary, remarkably balanced.
The other thing that impressed me was the fact that we were allowed to hear and see things from Edges pre-WWE days on the indie circuit including talk of previous gimmicks and how the matches he and Christian used to put on were put together were planned and staged.
While this is something WWE has always been more open about than some other wrestling organisations, it is always nice to hear and adds something to the documentary which lends much of the rest of it a sense of truth as well.
Away from the documentary we are treated to a selection of Edge’s matches which add credence to the comment made in the documentary that “Edge never had a bad match”.
Even the matches from WWE’s sometimes troubled era before C.M. Punk’s ‘pipebomb’ promo in early summer 2011 are of a higher order than most of the rest of the company’s output at the time, and it speaks volumes for Edge’s ability that the matches span styles (although there is a lot of the expected TLC gimmickry) and opponents from Rey Mysterio to Kane and Big Show showing the versatility of his performances.
The highlights of these bonus matches to me are the ones from the middle era of Edge’s solo career featuring Matt Hardy, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker and the only match missing from this set for me is the one from Wrestlemania 22 against Mick Foley and featuring a flaming table.
And because I mentioned it above and it is something special, here’s the Edge vs Mick Foley match: