End of an ‘Edge’y era

Published 10:25 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

I’ve been a pro wrestling fan all my life.

When I was a child, I used to watch the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) on television and see such superstars as Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and Black Jack Mulligan wrestle.

When I was very young, some of those guys came to Bertie High School and my mother took me and my brother and we got to see them in person. It was an unbelievable night for us.

I watched through my 20s and into my 30s before kind of falling to the wayside for several years.

Something like a year ago, my wife and I were flipping through the channels on a Monday night and came across Monday Night Raw, a WWE program that is one of the longest running episodic television shows in history.

I started watching it and, soon after, started allowing my children to watch it with me. Alex was hooked quickly and it didn’t take Camden long before he was jumping up and down cheering just like his brother.

I am a huge Ric Flair fan. I always have been. I’ve never been one of those guys who cared whether he was a “face” or a “heel” (wrestling terminology for good guy and bad guy).

With Flair dispatched to TNA, which is unwatchable even with him there, I started cheering for some other guys. My favorites have always been the heels or bad guys and – at the time we started watching – there were a good group to choose from.

If you back up 10 years, I was a fan of Edge and Christian. They were one of the best tag teams of all time in the WWE.  Fast forward to 11 months ago and Edge was a bad guy wrestling solo and still had his trademark long hair and bad attitude. He quickly went from being a guy I liked to my favorite.

My children follow behind their dad when it comes to wrestling and they both quickly started wanting his action figure and cheering for him when he went to the ring.

I was pleased when WWE pushed Edge to the top of the card and even happier when he captured the World Heavyweight Championship for the eleventh time. When Edge won at Wrestlemania, my children jumped up and down and made circles around the room cheering.

Little did we know at that time it would be the last time we got to cheer for my favorite wrestler. It was only a short eight days later that Edge (Adam Copeland) stood in the ring to announce his retirement.

I knew his time was short – he had said so himself on many occasions – because of injuries sustained earlier in his career, but I wasn’t prepared for Monday night. As a matter of fact, neither was he. Edge found out that he would never be cleared to compete again medically because of a spinal condition.

I was shocked to see my favorite wrestler retire while he was still in his prime and competing at such a high level. Even though it was the right thing to do – he could face paralysis and even death if he continues – it was tough to watch a young man give up doing what he loves and something he is so good at.

Those of us who watch wrestling come to love our favorites just as those who watching Dancing with the Stars, American Idol or Survivor – only our interest is vested over a much longer period of time.

Honestly, wrestling won’t be the same for me after Edge announced his retirement Monday. It was a sad day for those of us who are fans of sports entertainment.

The good news is that the next stop for Edge is the WWE Hall of Fame.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by telephone at 332-7211. On Mondays, it is better not to call between 9-11 p.m. cause the family is watching Raw.