There's a tangible buzz surrounding World Wrestling Entertainment programming right now. They're shaking things up. Major talent has switched brands, creating the opportunity for new storylines, new matches, new rivalries, new concepts, new everything. Young talent is getting the exhilarating "sink or swim" chance to be involved in major moments, participate in the focal points of the show, and even ... perhaps ... break through into the top tier. Just look at the title holders on Raw at the moment. CM Punk is the Raw world champion. Kofi Kingston is the intercontinental champion. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes are the tag team champions. While "new" for the sake of "new" is not good, the statement being made by WWE to its audience is: "We're taking chances, we're trying new things, we're giving the ball to new players and seeing who scores." Smackdown, where you can see the best tag team in the industry today - Miz and John Morrison - has seen a huge influx of main event talent. Jeff Hardy, who continues to tickle the main event ivories, is now on Smackdown. Mr Kennedy, who has everything it takes to be a WrestleMania main eventer, is going to announce his name twice on the Smackdown brand. And while Smackdown brings aboard the best announcer in the business in Jim Ross, still presents Miz and Morrison, gains the services of the most dedicated Diva from Monday Nights in Maria, and still retains The Undertaker, the brand now has HHH as the WWE Champion as well. Not a bad pickup for a show headed to a new American broadcast network this autumn. But if you watched Monday Night Raw this week, and saw the memorable series of events that ended with Punk as the new champion, then you witnessed a perfect example of star power at its finest. Jim Ross was emotional and gracious in his speech. Batista looked like the "Animal" he is supposed to be. Punk played his role exactly the way he should, and the audience ate up every moment of it. And the proverbial "straw that stirred the drink," the centrepiece of this superb 20 minutes of television was the single best heel WWE has on the active roster, Adam "Edge" Copeland. A phenomenal worker with rock star looks, Copeland knows how to present the "Edge" character so no one has the inclination to cheer him. His charisma alone could carry an entire show - and, bluntly, he's had Smackdown on his shoulders for longer than most people realize - but Copeland's portrayal of the scheming, manipulative, opportunistic Edge is played in such a way that you simply want to see him get beat or perhaps more importantly, beat up. His heat is so grand, you don't just want to see him get beat up, you need to see it. You have to see it. You crave that moment. You'll even PAY for it. On Monday night, Edge came out with Hawkins and Ryder. The high-tech, pyro-enhanced entrance elicited a great heel reaction from the crowd. The way Edge "psychs himself up" before coming down to the ring is played up with exaggerated facial expressions and cockiness, but it's very real within the persona he presents. And people get their blood up just watching up pump himself up. Edge's heel promo on Jim Ross was delivered with such conviction, the viewer at home felt the angst of the live crowd worrying that once again, Good Ol' JR was going to get slapped around in Oklahoma. Edge's range was amazing, too. From the frothing-at-the-mouth-anticipation of JR screaming "Edge wins! Edge wins! Edge wins!" to the envisioned-orgasm as he described "the love of my life" - dramatic pause, then emphasis - "Vickie Guerrero," Edge's promo was, as they say, one for the ages. He had such heel heat by the time he punked out everyone from Ross to Undertaker to the Raw program itself, people were salivating at the mere thought that someone, somehow, someday would just smash this bastard. Batista came out and delivered a ferocious beating to Edge, and the live audience came unglued. No amount of punishment would truly serve justice. Edge deserved a heinous beating, and that's exactly what Big Dave delivered. Only one Terry Funk-like swing and a miss from Edge, and the rest of the physicality was Batista annihilating the world champion. So when Batista drove Edge's battered body into the canvas with the Batista Bomb, the audience was satisfied, right? The desire to see Edge get his due, suffer his fate, was fulfilled, of course. Wasn't it? Not a chance. Edge's heat was still intact. That says something about the way he set that heat, the intensity with which he got the audience to believe in his character, to live that moment with him. Edge, barely conscious, a pulverized quivering lump lying on the canvas, was still worthy of the audience's desire to see something bad happen to that character. And for that character, things went from bad to worse when " Mr Money in the Bank" CM Punk came out, and hoisted Edge up on his shoulders for that fateful moment before hitting the GTS. You could see live crowd going nuts not only because they knew history was about to be made, but because they simply wanted to see Edge get smashed in the face again. For Adam Copeland, this is everything he worked for. This is when the heel gives of himself and MAKES a babyface. Punk wins! Punk wins! Punk wins! And just as importantly, Edge loses. See, that's the part that Adam Copeland understands better than anyone else in the industry today. He's the best heel in the world, because even though he didn't touch one person, he had scorching heat on Monday night. He didn't slap JR. He didn't shove down Lilian Garcia. He didn't set fire to a Sooners flag. He didn't do anything but deliver a heel promo like a true villain should. And he had such heat for his words and the manner in which he presented them, that a beating from Batista, and the subsequent loss of his world title didn't even begin to take that heat off of him. The beaten, battered, humiliated, and no-longer-champion Edge is still the main event heel on Smackdown, and he should be. People are still clamouring for him to get beat ... or beat up. When fans talk about the upcoming WWE Title Match at the Great American Bash between Edge and HHH, they actually start fantasizing about the beating Edge might take, or how cool it would be if HHH uses the sledgehammer. Or if Edge were about to beat HHH somehow, and Undertaker would make his return. All sorts of scenarios are running through people's minds. People are excited when they talk about Edge. Fans are only too happy to imagine the next defeat or humiliation that will befall wrestling's most hated man. In about three to six months, when you look back on the 2008 WWE Draft, ask yourself: "What was the most significant move of the draft this year?" Was it HHH to Smackdown? Was it Batista to Raw? Was it Jim Ross and Michael Cole switching roles? Was it CM Punk being moved to Raw with the Money In the Bank yet to be cashed in? Perhaps, in a few months, when all the moves have settled in, and WWE starts pushing WrestleMania to the forefront, I think we'll realize the most significant move -especially for Smackdown - of the 2008 roster overhaul was the move that didn't happen. Edge stayed right where he was. Smackdown retained its greatest asset. The single best heel in sports entertainment, with money matches against Undertaker, HHH, Jeff Hardy, Mr Kennedy, and anyone else he steps in the ring with, continued on his journey to the WWE Hall of Fame. And the ultimate beneficiary of the "non-move" was the show that has been built on his heat. Adam Copeland is the brightest superstar in World Wrestling Entertainment today. That is his Edge.
That was a nice read. As much as I like Edge, I'm actually becoming a bit bored of him now. Well I've actually become a bit bored of him ever since he started to "date" Vickie Guerrero. I don't find is character as edgy and entertaining as it used to be when he had lita by his side.
Think I'll have a wank over these tomorrow.
yeah, but one thing, if Kane came over to SD again and started tormenting Edge and Vickie, that would be funny and Edge wouldn't be so blah:P
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