Get Grit. Two words that were etched onto Edge’s merchandise upon his triumphant return to WWE in January 2020, two words that the Rated R Superstar has definitely lived up to. Grit is something that the former World Heavyweight Champion has proven to have, even at the age of 47, you can tell that Edge feels that he has something left to prove and he continues to do so each time he steps foot into the squared circle.
After suffering a torn triceps injury after his match with Randy Orton at Backlash last year, Edge came back stronger and more determined than ever to show his tenaciousness that he still has for his love of professional wrestling.
Edge has certainly proven multiple times that he’s willing to do whatever it takes, from his neck surgery in 2003 that would leave him sidelined for well over a year, to his torn Achilles tendon suffered in the Summer of 2009.
He would scratch and claw his way to make it back to WWE.
The Rated R Superstar has most definitely broken the mould in terms of “part-time” performers who have returned to WWE for another run, as he has clocked in almost 3 hours of in-ring time since making his shocking return.
In regards to the last few “part-time” Superstars, even going as far back to 2002, when Hulk Hogan returned to the WWE (then WWF), defeating Triple H at Backlash to become the last WWF Undisputed Champion [before losing the initials dispute against the World Wildlife Fund], only to drop the title 30 days later to The Undertaker at Judgement Day.
Although Hogan was on television more often than most current day part-timers, some might argue that his championship win was unnecessary at the time, as some would say with Goldberg as well. Speaking of the former WCW megastar, comparing Edge’s in-ring time (without throwing too much shade) to someone like Goldberg who has accrued a total of 30 minutes of in-ring time, you can conjure up an idea of how much this fairy-tale-like return means to Edge.
That’s not to say that Goldberg doesn’t want it, as he’s fortunate to be able to step back into the ring in order to perform in front of his wife and son.
Both Edge and Goldberg have two entirely different work-rates.
In 2013, The Rock would head into a championship match against CM Punk at the Royal Rumble and emerge victorious, ending the 434-day reign of the Straight Edge Superstar, who was established as the longest reigning champion of the Modern Era. Moving forward, in an interview with CBS Sports, Edge stated the following.
“I didn’t come back to just do the greatest hits tour. That’s not why I came back. I didn’t just want to do regurgitated greatest hits. and wanted to come back because I wanted to tell compelling stories, wanted to get in with a lot of talent.” He’d also say, “I came back committed to this. After my family, this is my top priority. If I’m asked to be in a title program heading into WrestleMania? I’m here every week. That’s the way I operate. I’m not going to be a guy who comes in for one week and floats off for eight weeks. If I’m involved and I’m in the mix, I’m going to be here every week because that’s how I operate.”
This is the type of drive that a lot of the WWE Universe respects, and a work ethic that they long to see other part-time Superstars adopt as well. Where Edge’s Royal Rumble win and upcoming championship clash with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania feels earned, something like Goldberg’s Universal Championship win against Kevin Owens at Fastlane 2017, and victory over “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (who was on a huge wave of popularity and momentum at the time), at Super Showdown last year felt the opposite.
Fans lamented the idea of Goldberg holding one of WWE’s prestigious titles at the time whereas a current Superstar could’ve held onto the gold heading into WrestleMania both last year and in 2017.
Another occurrence of this situation that can be analyzed is with Brock Lesnar, who has held the WWE Championship and Universal Championship numerous times since returning to WWE in 2012, as well as defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, ending his undefeated streak.
Argument could be made that a Superstar on the roster at the time should’ve “done the job”, such as CM Punk or Bray Wyatt. However, a counter-argument could also be made in that there was no one else legitimate or established enough to have defeated The Undertaker at the time, which is, unfortunately, no fault of any of the current crop of WWE Superstars, WWE’s over-reliance on part-time superstars is where the issue lies.
He has been interacting with numerous Superstar’s during both in-ring and backstage segments, giving individuals such as Karrion Kross, Finn Balor, Pete Dunne, and Damian Priest a rub of sorts, making good on his promise of wishing to get in with a lot of talent.
Edge’s grit continues to shine, as this chapter of his WWE career has broken the part-time mould that has plagued the WWE and invoked a breath of fresh air for the WWE Universe to bask in. Edge is creating a blueprint for the WWE to use as a future reference for how to use a part-timer to create compelling stories and establish new Superstars to become future Hall of Famers in their own right.