First and foremost, I 100% stand by what I wrote on February 2nd, 2021 following the 2021 WWE Royal Rumble in a column entitled Triple H's Incompetence Helped Edge Win Rumble. My simple argument is that WWE management struggled looking up and down the existing WWE roster for a strong opponent for Roman Reigns, as NONE of Triple H's developed NXT call-ups were getting over or didn't impress when they had the chance (looking at you Finn Balor), and thus they went with a VETERAN to create a big match-up with the returning Edge. As you can see with the news breaking last night, former NXT Champion Andrade, was granted his WWE release. His 5'9" size looked tiny in that WWE and he wasn't unique as a shorter wrestler, unlike Eddie Guerrero who did everything well with charisma, cutting promos, and personality on top of being an excellent performer.
The problem with Edge is that he's the WRONG VETERAN selected for Roman Reigns. That is the issue... In a world where there are BETTER match-ups for Roman Reigns, particularly with Roman now being a dastardly heel, the WWE could have went with Brock Lesnar, John Cena, CM Punk, or even Bill Goldberg or Undertaker instead. Roman has history with all 5 guys but again, there exists a different dynamic now that Roman is a heel with all 5 wrestlers.
And that's not to take away from Edge... He still performs, talks, and acts like the "Rated R" wrestler who retired during 2011. Right there is the problem... He was away from the business for 9 years and returns to a top spot as if nothing changed. Well, yeah, many things have changed... While the WWE mostly has an older audience, they have moved onto liking other wrestlers and many younger fans just joining haven't seen Edge's peak years. There's a major disconnect between Edge and fans but I also believe this exists with the current WWE roster. They like and respect Edge, but they are like "who is this guy thinking that he can take 9 years off and obtain a top spot?". Being consistent here, the WWE locker room has felt that way with many part-time veterans who joined briefly to obtain top spots.
In other words, Edge is Batista from 2014... Batista returned to the WWE during early 2014 and instantly won the 2014 Royal Rumble. The fans revolted on this idea, as Daniel Bryan was being denied legitimate opportunities back then. For Batista, though, he couldn't overcome it because he was missing in action for the WWE since 2010. After almost 4 years off, it took a while for Batista to get his wrestling legs back and rushing him to the Wrestlemania 30 spotlight was a huge mistake (which he admits). Granted, Edge appeared during 2020's Royal Rumble and lost that event... He went on to wrestle Randy Orton twice and then got injured. On his first night back at the 2021 Royal Rumble, he wins the Rumble match to become the #1 contender for a World Title at Wrestlemania 37.
Now, the WWE is seriously considering to ADD Daniel Bryan to Edge vs. Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 37. What?!? Once again, Daniel Bryan is being rushed and forced into a Wrestlemania match because the returning veteran is failing to generate chemistry with the wrestler and/or fans.
The real problem with Edge is that we've already seen what an Edge in his mid to late 40s can produce... That match with Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 36 was a 36 minute brawl that excited nobody. Wow, they brawled around the Performance Center... This really didn't demonstrate what made Edge great INSIDE THE RING 9 years ago. And then with the rematch against Randy Orton at WWE Backlash 2020, the match was hyped as the "GREATEST WRESTLING MATCH EVER". For one, it wasn't a match... It was heavily edited, with several spots and moves redone for television as it was being taped, and one of those retakes actually tearing Edge's tricep. But to fans, this is what they saw of an older Edge. Return at the Rumble was nice but 2 matches against Orton didn't blow our minds, though the 2nd match was really good despite being heavily edited for television.
Fast forward to 2021... Fans remember the Edge that they saw during 2020. They excitement of his comeback is GONE. They've seen his work at a high level, though while good, isn't groundbreaking. He's forced into a feud with Roman Reigns for whom he has ZERO chemistry and it's showing on WWE Smackdown.
The FACT is that the WWE had VETERANS available who could have created a better match-up for Roman Reigns, specifically ones who already had a built-in history:
- CM Punk: Biggest stretch of the bunch, as his status continues to remain "unknown" (check out Virtue's Latest Column about Punk)... But the guy who left the WWE on bad terms 7 years ago returns as a huge babyface to fans who remember and he's going up against a guy whom the WWE was overpushing during 2014 that kept CM Punk out of the spotlight then. Roman was the 1 guy from the Shield who actually defeated CM Punk inside the ring after Ambrose and Rollins both failed. Ancient history, but it's something.
- Bill Goldberg: Heavily exposed during his match with Drew McIntyre. Still, this was supposed to be the headlining match of Wrestlemania 36 but COVID-19 caused Roman to leave the WWE. This match could have been great, as it could have been an extended squash with the HEEL Roman just toying with Goldberg. It would have been the last time Goldberg would have been wrestling for me...
- The Undertaker: Undertaker said that he actually apologized for their Wrestlemania 33 match-up, though I don't think that Roman Reigns was in good physical shape following his 2016 Wellness Program violation. Roman is a much better performer now than 4 years ago and acting as the heel, he could give Undertaker a much better match. Taker, though, is officially retired.
- John Cena: Again, another bad performance by Roman during 2017 following that Undertaker match. This time, however, Roman is a much better performer 4 years later and now he's a heel. Strong babyface John Cena against a strong heel in Roman Reigns would have been magical. Roman is much better on the mic this time around and would equal Cena's promos. In my opinion, this could have been the best case scenario for Wrestlemania 37 in terms of wrestler versus wrestler.
- Brock Lesnar: Think of Wrestlemania 5 but instead of hot Miss Elizabeth in the corner, it's Paul Heyman. We don't know what Heyman's relationship is with Brock Lesnar, as Lesnar has not appeared on WWE television since Wrestlemania 36 during 2020. That mystery would sell lots of tickets and put many eyeballs on the screen. Maybe this is better for a SummerSlam event when the arena could be more full and it gives some added time for Roman to remain as a heel?
I like Edge and thus what I'm insisting is nothing personal. Sometimes, the chemistry just isn't there... Father Time is a pain in the arse, too, as you're 47 and even though you may appear to perform like a spring chicken, the fans can see you wrestling a style from the 1990s or 2000s or they can see the gray hairs, the wrinkles, or just slight slowness in your performance compared to 10 years ago. Christian is enduring the same criticisms in AEW.
As I keep saying, the WWE wouldn't have to rely on VETERAN wrestlers if the NXT call-ups could be more successful on the Main WWE roster. Quit blaming Vince McMahon, as his insistence of pushing Roman Reigns as the #1 guy is certainly paying off. In addition, look at how many of Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis's guys have not only drawn huge money as Main Eventers, but still remain relevant in the WWE to this day. Triple H just isn't recruiting and developing MALE wrestlers that Vince wants. Instead, he's signing wrestlers who could work better on 205 Live based on their size. For any larger wrestlers, they all have a dark or gothic theme to them. Matt Bloom (Lord Tensai, A-Train, Prince Albert) is proving to be a weak head trainer. And then when NXT call-ups arrive on the main WWE roster, Triple H isn't vouching for them.
Hate to say it, but maybe Edge was right about wanting to give Finn Balor a big match... Not saying that as a detriment to Edge, but he just doesn't have any chemistry with Roman Reigns.
Yay, another potential TRIPLE THREAT at Wrestlemania 37. LAZY BOOKING has arrived, once again. Oh, I can't wait until someone other than the World Champion gets pinned to prove what an idiotic concept this is.
It's time to officially declare that Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre is now the Sunday Night Main Event for Wrestlemania 37. Declare that now, please.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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