For those successfully worked by it, Edge’s Royal Rumble 2021 win was an invigorating slice of catharsis in an era largely devoid of such releases.
And how could you not be worked by it? The story was magic.
Out of the blue, a 46-year-old Adam Copeland made the most emotional Rumble comeback ever one year prior. The pop was thunderous. Almost a decade after being told he risked paralysis if he continued wrestling, Edge was back, live and in the flesh, raising hairs and spiking heart rates. A tremendous feud informed by 15 years of history followed, wavering only during WrestleMania 36’s overambitious Last Man Standing slog, lasting until Backlash’s ‘Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.’
It wasn’t the greatest wrestling match ever, but it was a great wrestling match. Edge and Randy Orton earned their plaudits for miraculously surviving WWE’s absurd marketing of the heavily-produced bout.
Disaster struck within that slick epic Edge’s dream return turned to a nightmare in the form of a torn triceps. Ruled out for the rest of the year, reports of a slow, troublesome recovery followed, raising questions of if he’d even be back for WrestleMania 37, let alone the Rumble.
But he was back for the Rumble. He overcame, endured, survived, and won, doing so following a perfectly-placed, anxiety-inducing RKO. You knew Orton would return to the match after his worked injury, but it didn’t matter: the execution hit every note.
12 months after doing the impossible, Edge had done the highly improbable. It’s not often a real-life tale as gripping as this falls in WWE’s lap and the promotion, to its credit, stuck the landing.
Edge now heads to ‘Mania 37. A shot at Roman Reigns’ Universal Title presumably awaits in April. It’s a near-perfect clash between a damaged, sympathetic veteran who has overcome unassailable odds ahead of a glorious last stand, and a ruthless, domineering brute of a heel, cold-blooded and cruel enough to snuff the fairytale out to maximum effect.
The biggest star of this era between a big star from a previous era.