Is Edge the most underrated WWE Champion of all time? The short answer is, no. Edge should get a lot of credit for being a hard worker and staying patient with the process of becoming a top WWE star. From his debut as a chaotic competitor who entered from the crowd, to teaming with Christian in The Brood, to “reeking of awesomeness” in the Edge and Christian tag team with their flash photography, to becoming the Rated R Superstar accompanied by Lita, to aligning with Vickie Guerrero as one of the most hated names in pro wrestling, Adam Copeland certainly earned his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
It was clear that Vince McMahon saw a great deal of potential in Edge, as he was a part of a major match just a few months after his debut, as he teamed with Sable to defeat Marc Mero and Jacqueline at the SummerSlam 1998 pay-per-view. It just took him a little over a year to be one of the major names in the mid-card scene, as he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship for the first time by defeating Jeff Jarrett.
Edge’s teaming with Christian after leaving the Brood was also a very pivotal moment in his WWE career, and even further propelled him into a top star. Most notably, the ladder match (TLC) series they had at SummerSlam and WrestleMania against The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) and The Dudley Boyz. Edge & Christian won all three matches, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 2000 (this match was called a Triangle Ladder Match) and WrestleMania 17, then retaining the world tag team titles at SummerSlam 2000.
Edge’s WWE Singles Career
During the Invasion Era in 2001, WWE started to utilize Edge more as a top singles wrestler, winning the 2001 King of the Ring tournament by defeating Kurt Angle in the finals. Edge also earned several more Intercontinental Championship reigns in 2001, and he had feuds with Angle, Booker T, Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero in 2002. Also, in 2002, Edge had a short tag team title reign with Hulk Hogan, after defeating Billy & Chuck on an episode of SmackDown.
Edge’s single’s push became even more prominent after feuds with Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, and Chris Benoit, even defeating Michaels at the 2005 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. His first World Championship came when he cashed in his WrestleMania 21 Money in the Bank contract against John Cena after the Elimination Chamber match at New Year’s Revolution 2006.
The feud between Edge and Cena became one of the most notable in WWE history and had many memorable moments. One of these moments included Edge spearing Cena at the ECW One Night Stand 2006 PPV. Although Edge lost the WWE Championship just weeks later against Cena at the Royal Rumble, he cemented himself in being a main event WWE superstar for the next six years.
In the 13 years of Edge’s first WWE tenure, he became one of the most decorated competitors in the history of the company. During his WWE career, he had runs as Tag Team Champion, Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, WWE Champion, and also the World Heavyweight Championship. Moreover, notable feuds with The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Batista, as well as his highly-acclaimed hardcore match against Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22. Throughout his career, Edge had moments on both Raw and SmackDown, although he is mainly known to be a staple on the SmackDown brand.
Why Did Edge Retire?
Edge was unfortunately forced to retire in 2011 due to a career-ending neck injury, with his last televised match against Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27. He also participated in a dark match on the following taping of Friday Night SmackDown, teaming with Christian, Triple H, Big Show, and Rey Mysterio against The Corre (Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, & Wade Barrett) and Alberto Del Rio.
Even in non-title matches, Edge maintained a top spot, with high profile matches such as a steel cage match against Chris Jericho at Extreme Rules 2010, as well as a return to WWE at the Survivor Series PPV.
Then, Edge returned as the 21st entrant of the WWE Royal Rumble match in 2020, confirming rumors that he was healthy enough to compete. The Ultimate Opportunist eliminated AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and former Rated-RKO tag team partner Randy Orton. After just shy of 24 minutes, Edge was eliminated by Roman Reigns. Drew McIntyre went on to win his first Rumble, and will challenge Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36.
The following night on WWE Raw, Edge was attacked by Orton, sparking a feud that will likely lead the two veterans to a match at WrestleMania.
Edge Returns at Royal Rumble
Although Edge has a decent promo during certain moments of his career, especially with Vickie Guerrero, having 11 world title reigns and riveting storylines does not make him the most underrated WWE Champion ever. The Canadian-born WWE Hall of Famer would more likely be considered one of the most decorated ever.
While names such as Brock Lesnar, The Rock, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin are among the most popular, and others such as Dolph Ziggler, and even Daniel Bryan (to an extent), would be considered among the most underrated, Edge would fall in the category of someone who has great deal of success, but not from the standpoint of being a larger name than many others in the pro wrestling business.