#1 Edge [--] (17-1-1) (WWE)
[World Heavyweight Champion]
It was a shocking announcement, but apparently legit: Edge has retired! First impressions were to wonder if the whole thing wasn't just a work, but the sincerity of the delivery made it difficult to argue. Even beyond the obvious immediate symptoms of numbness that Edge had been apparently dealing with -- I wasn't aware of the severity of Edge's injuries. Having my interests distanced from major league wrestling during his rise to the main event (circa 2005-2008), I must have surely missed some of his biggest injuries, and that might have pushed the negativity of my feelings toward Edge further than necessary.
I've often been critical of the low impact nature of Edge's moves. I prefer more grappling than his typical low-contact series of glancing drops and adjacent slips, but now that I know he once broke his neck, I can be a lot more forgiving of that. I wonder if calls for his guaranteed Hall of Fame entry aren't a little generous. I still don't believe he was worthy of the list of accolades he obtained in a rapidfire of very short years. I think he is a figure who helped usher in some of the ugliest years for World Wrestling Entertainment and its top championship belts, but I also feel it is a great shame that he has had to retire, and that he sustained these severe injuries that I previously had no knowledge of. The silver lining to all of this is WWE's Wellness Policy, and the fact that the tests it includes might have protected the future quality of life that Edge will be able to live.
While I would never wish severe injury on anyone, Edge's retirement certainly comes at a convenient juncture. Despite losing at Wrestlemania XVIII, it has been pleasing to see that the Alberto Del Rio (#4) experiment is still alive! He may not be the World Heavyweight Championship, but post-Mania he has been seen to remain strong. Edge's departure also has obvious benefits for Christian (#??) -- his fictional brother who entered WWF barely a year after Edge, but has never held a major championship. The void left makes it a no brainer to serve Christian up as a legitimate champion, even if it is only as a transition to Alberto Del Rio's first reign. It is a terrible human cost that Edge would be in this condition, but it may yet force WWE into a position that is an attractive change of pace for business.
#2 [--] Rey Mysterio (12-6-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Randy Orton (11-6-0) (WWE)
#4 [--] Alberto Del Rio (11-7-2) (WWE)
#5 [--] Santino Marella (11-9-0) (WWE)
#6 [+3] Justin Gabriel (9-8-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champion]
#7 [RE] Robert Roode (8-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#8 [RE] James Storm (8-1-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#9 [-3] Eve Torres (8-5-0) (WWE)
#10 [-3] Chris Masters (8-5-0) (WWE)
#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (8-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (7-5-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#3 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (6-6-0) (WWE)
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (5-3-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Big Show & Kane (4-0-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Sarita & Rosita (4-1-0) (TNA) [Knockouts Tag Team Champions]
#7 [--] Angelina Love & Winter (3-2-0) (TNA)
#8 [RE] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (3-2-0) (TNA)
#9 [-1] Edge & Randy Orton (2-0-0) (WWE)
#10 [-1] John Morrison & R-Truth (2-0-0) (WWE)
The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2011 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.