Sunday, December 27, 2009

Edge: Superstar of the Decade

And we're back! Thanks for bearing with me through the Christmas holiday, things might be a bit slow next week as well with New Year's, but we'll be back on track in 2010. But just because things are a little busy, the site isn't entirely on vacation, you've been voting in our Superstar of the Decade poll! In the last full episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, I picked Eddie Guerrero as my personal choice for Superstar of the Decade, but you did not agree. Let's take a look at the top five:

5. Randy Orton
Debuting in 2002 and becoming a six-time World Champion by the end of the decade, there's no questioning that the 00s were a defining moment for Randy Orton. Whether he's the Legend Killer, The Viper, or Kick-Out!! Wrestling's Public Enemy #1, Orton certainly earned a spot on the ballot.

4. The Undertaker
This decade has been an interesting one for The Phenom; when the 90s wrapped up, Taker wasn't exactly setting the world on fire in the ring, but things changed when he returned in 2000 with his American Bad Ass gimmick. Not only was it a drastic change for The Undertaker, his in-ring style slowly began to change, becoming more MMA-influenced with each passing year. From amazing matches with Triple H, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Edge, etc., and returning to his roots as The Dead Man, I don't think there's any arguing that this decade - especially the last five years - is the best we've ever seen from The Undertaker. Like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with age.

3. Triple H
If you're basing your decision purely on success, I don't think there's any legitimate argument one could make against Triple H. The Game won his first World Title at the end of 1999, but truly was solidified as a top-tier player in early 2000. His match against Cactus Jack at Royal Rumble 2000 - the first PPV of the decade - was a defining moment in his career and is possibly my favorite match of all-time. After that, we all know the story and the headline is "14 World Championships;" the only time this guy wasn't enjoying major success was when he was recovering from two bad quad injuries. Of course, he hasn't always been loved by the audience, we all remember his reign of terror from 2002 through 2004 and there arguments to be made about why he's so successful, considering he's now a member of the McMahon family, but there's no denying the fact that he's the most successful wrestler of the last ten years.

2. John Cena
But while Triple H may be the most successful, John Cena is the poster boy of World Wrestling Entertainment. As the company began to shift its focus away from the Attitude Era, John Cena was the man who stepped up to lead the company in a new direction. Seven World Title reigns, including the longest single WWE Title reign since Hulk Hogan held the belt from 1984 to 1988, numerous records broken, countless big match situations, and the most polarizing figure to ever step into a WWE ring. Love him or hate him, the latter half of the decade has belonged to John Cena.

And the Kick-Out!! Reader's Choice Superstar of the Decade is...

1. Edge
At first glance of the results, I found it a little strange that Edge would be your pick for Superstar of the Decade, but when you look back on the decade he's had, I can definitely understand. Just take a look at the years, and obviously I'm not listing everything:
2000 - Reinvigorates the ladder match at WrestleMania 2000 and then again with the birth of TLC.
2001 - Wins the King of the Ring and splits from his partner, Christian.
2002 - Shaves Kurt Angle's head, wins tag titles on two occasions, once with Hulk Hogan, once with Rey Mysterio.
2003 - Suffers a horrible neck injury early in the year, his first major setback.
2004 - Returns from injury and begins his quest for the WWE Title, first setting his sights on Evolution, but then turning heel with his frustrated psychopath gimmick.
2005 - Wins the first Money in the Bank, the infamous love triangle with Matt Hardy & Lita, and the birth of the Rated-R Superstar.
2006 - Edge's banner year, finally captures the WWE Title after cashing in MITB, one of the greatest hardcore matches ever with Mick Foley at WM22, then an awesome partnership with Mick Foley to relaunch the ECW brand, recapturing the WWE Title and finishes the summer feuding with his greatest rival, John Cena. Following that, Rated RKO is born and they begin a feud with the newly-reunited DX, taking us into 2007.
2007 - Starts out rough, feud with DX is ended early due to a Triple H injury, Rated RKO splits, suffers his first WrestleMania loss at WM23, but winds up in control of the MITB briefcase anyway and cashes in on an injured Undertaker. Just when it looks like Edge is going to be on top of the Smackdown brand, he suffers a pectoral tear and is out of action for months. Upon his return at the end of the year, Edge reveals that he's in a relationship with Smackdown GM, Vickie Guerrero.
2008 - Headlining WrestleMania with The Undertaker, "retiring" The Undertaker in an awesome TLC match, headlining SummerSlam in an awesome Hell in a Cell with a returning Undertaker, and all the hilarious La Familia business in-between. This was the first year that Edge got to show that he could carry a brand, and pulled it off perfectly with his Ultimate Opportunist shtick.
2009 - Though his year was cut short by an Achilles tendon tear in July, Edge entered 2009 in the same way that he left 2008, as a true main event player. More World Title reigns (bringing his total to 9), more fantastic matches, and more of what makes Edge so great, being one of the coolest characters in wrestling history.

While the end of his decade was marred by injury, I'm sure the next decade will bring even more success. Edge innovated, adapted and perfected his style this in the 00s, and while he may have been the Superstar of the Decade, I think he's only just begun.

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