Following 2008′s Edge: Decade of Decadence match compilation, the WWE brings us the first full length documentary on recent Hall of Famer and 11-time World Champion Edge.
It’s undisputed that Edge was one of the top performers in the past decade of the WWE, and after watching this DVD, I think you’ll know why…
“I See Clearly”: The Main Feature
Run Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes; Rated TV-14
At the start of this DVD, Edge points out that when he introduces himself to people, he always introduces himself as Adam, and not Edge. I think this sums up Edge’s role in the documentary, and the documentary as a whole, quite well. You come out of it feeling like you know not only about the highlights of the career of Edge, but also the highlights of the life of Adam Copeland. That overall balance makes the feature a lot of fun to watch, and the overall structure of the documentary film is great.
Like many WWE DVD features, the strength of the main interview has a huge impact on the overall DVD. Fortunately, Edge is an excellent interview. Much like in the Steve Austin documentary, you always get the sense that Edge is being himself and being completely open about his career. He also is very charismatic (part of the reason he was such a big success in the WWE), and I could have listened to him talk about his career for another hour after the feature ended. I also really appreciated that the WWE went all-out to include interviews with as many different superstars/personalities from Edge’s past as possible, from his mom Judy to his college friends to his trainer Ron Hutchison to long-time friends Christian and Rhyno to former managers Lita and Vickie Guerrero to modern-day superstars like Cena, Punk, Hawkins, & Ryder (and many more). I thought it was a nice touch that at the start of the DVD, when discussing their childhood, Edge referred to Christian by his real name Jay, but when discussing their time in the WWE, he refers to him as Christian.
The DVD opens with Edge being interviewed by a Toronto radio station on the day of the Edge Appreciation Night episode of Smackdown. We return to this interview, as well as segments with Edge discussing his post-WWE life living in the “wilderness”, throughout the DVD. I thought this overall structure was really nice, and helped keep the flow of the DVD going. They also subtly tied the interview into the different stages of his career, which was nicely planned. This is very similar to the interludes in the Randy Orton DVD feature, and I think structures like this help keep the DVD flowing and make it work well as a film.
I won’t give away the stories told throughout the DVD, but Edge’s career is highlighted pretty well. The archival footage that Edge supplied from his early days is really awesome to see, and the interviews with his “pre-WWE” friends and family make this portion of the DVD stand out among the “childhood/training” segments seen on a lot of DVDs. His early days in the WWE, both with the Brood and as a tag team wrestler with Christian, are quickly, yet entertainingly, covered. Part of me wishes they included a bit more highlights of Edge & Christian segments simply because they were so much fun, but we get some of that in the bonus features, and when you look at the run time, 45 minutes of the feature has already gone by when they get to Edge’s breakout as a singles wrestler.
My first question when getting into this documentary was how well they were going to handle the Edge/Lita/Hardy situation. When they get to this part of the DVD, the voice-over announcer even refers to Lita by her real name, so they immediately let you know this was much more than a storyline. I thought it was handled perfectly. Edge and Lita are both open when it comes to discussing it, and Edge even acknowledges that in the end, it probably helped his career in that it turned him into the most hated superstar in the WWE.
From here, we move through the rest of Edge’s career, with the major highlights being his first WWE title win (and the fact that he lost it so soon after, which Edge remains disappointment about to this day) and his feuds with John Cena, Mick Foley, and Undertaker. I feel like these were the right feuds to spend the most time on; they were arguably the biggest feuds in Edge’s career. They rush through 2009 and 2010 pretty quickly, which is understandable because outside of his Royal Rumble win, nothing particularly memorable happened during those years. It creates a pacing issue, though, which is a shame because the feature had been so well paced up until this point. Casual fans may also become confused as to the timeline of his career leading up to his retirement. The end of his career is covered nicely, and we get good footage from both his retirement speech and the Edge Appreciation Night celebration on Smackdown. This serves as a nice coda to the DVD.
Like all WWE DVD features, it’s impossible to include every single aspect of a superstar’s career, and I usually don’t like to nitpick certain items that weren’t included. There was one moment of Edge’s career that I feel like was a pretty glaring omission, though. Edge’s strange 1 day Intercontinental Title run in 1999, while not a big highlight of his career, is a really odd blip on his overall rise to the top in the WWE. Fortunately, this moment is discussed as a bonus feature on the Decade of Decadence DVD release from 2008, but I really would have liked to hear Edge speak in retrospect about this bizarre and short title run so early in his career.
Overall, the main feature is a very easy recommendation. If I were to give it a rating, I would probably give it a 9 out of 10. The only reason it doesn’t live up to the Austin or ECW documentaries is simply because Edge’s career didn’t have as many fascinating twists and turns as those did. I feel like it is head and shoulders above the documentary on the recently released Rock DVD, which is itself a solid doc. As I mentioned earlier, the feature is much more than just a “greatest hits” reel as I felt the Rock’s was; it really allows you to understand what Edge was thinking at different points in his career, and serves as an excellent retrospective.
“Everything Has Come to Light”: Matches & Extras
The Bonus Features
Simply put, you should definitely make sure you take the time to watch the bonus features. You get some rare footage of a young Edge in WCW, some very funny Edge & Christian moments, and the promo that Edge feels was his breakthrough promo in the WWE. They supplement the main feature very well.
The Bonus Matches
Adam Impact Vs. Christian Cage (South Indian Lake, 1995) – ** 1/4
I considered not even including a rating for this match, because that really isn’t the reason it’s found here. This match is really awesome to watch, and you can clearly see that Edge & Christian are bound to go on to great things even if they aren’t at that stage of their career yet.
Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Edge & Christian Vs. The Hardy Boyz Vs. T&A Vs. Too Cool (King of the Ring 2000) – ***
A fun match that allows each team to get their spots in. A great spotlight for Edge & Christian as both in-ring performers and comedy wrestlers.
No-Disqualification Match: Edge Vs. Eddie Guerrero (Smackdown, 9/26/02) – ****
I think this is the match that really allowed Edge to break-out as a singles competitor, and I felt that way watching it back in 2002 as well. Edge & Eddie tell a great story throughout the match, and the weapon spots are a lot of fun. Still one of the best matches in Smackdown history.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton (Raw, 7/19/04) – *** 1/4
A solid TV match between these two superstars as they both were rising to the top of the WWE ladder.
Loser Leaves Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Edge Vs. Matt Hardy (Raw, 10/3/05) – ** 3/4
At the time, this match was certainly a big deal, and looking at it through those eyes, it is still fun to watch. A fairly standard ladder match, though, that relied a bit too much on the big “ladder match” spots that we’ve seen before.
TLC Match for the WWE Championship: Edge Vs. John Cena (Unforgiven 2006) – **** 1/4
One of the best matches in the careers of both Edge & John Cena, this match is an excellent piece of storytelling while still delivering the spots you’ve come to expect in a TLC match. If you haven’t seen it already, this is a must-see. Unfortunately, the commentary is muted out anytime the announcers refer to Cena’s finisher, the FU, even though the DVD is rated TV-14. I was disappointed in this choice; I think most fans can understand that the move now has a different name.
Street Fight: Edge Vs. Shawn Michaels (Raw, 1/22/07) – *** 1/2
A very fun “garbage match” with weapons being used throughout almost the whole match. It is strange to see a match involving the Rated RKO storyline included as a bonus match, though, when the team isn’t referenced in the documentary.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge Vs. Undertaker (Wrestlemania XXIV) – **** 1/2
A bonafide classic, and probably the best non-gimmick match of Edge’s entire career.
Pick Your Poison Match: Edge Vs. Christian (Raw, 5/17/10) – ***
I was happy to see another match between these two included on the set to compare to the match from 1995. They have great chemistry and deliver in this match, even if it is fairly short.
TLC Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Edge Vs. Kane Vs. Rey Mysterio Vs. Alberto Del Rio (TLC 2010) – *** 3/4
A very fun match between these four. It does not nearly stand up to the storytelling of the Edge/Cena TLC match, but still has a lot of fun spots and showcases each competitor well.
Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Edge Vs. Rey Mysterio Vs. Big Show Vs. Kane Vs. Drew McIntyre Vs. Wade Barrett (Elimination Chamber 2011) – **** 1/2
One of the best Elimination Chamber matches in it’s short history. Edge & Mysterio really steal the show, and the other four guys get their moments to shine. Brilliantly paced, and there is never a dull moment.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge Vs. Alberto Del Rio (Wrestlemania XXVII) – *** 1/4
A solid match that, looking back, serves as a nice ending to Edge’s career. Runs a little short, but good for the time it had. The post match celebration with Edge & Christian is included as well, which is great way to end the DVD.
Overall Thoughts on the Bonus Matches:
In my star ratings, I only had two matches clock in below *** (and one features two very young wrestlers), so clearly you are getting some great matches. At the same time, these matches sum up Edge’s career perfectly. It’s impressive to think that this DVD does not include any repeats from the Decade of Decadence DVD set, yet still includes 2 of the 3 best singles matches in Edge’s career (in my opinion) in the Cena and Undertaker matches (the other being Edge/Foley from ‘Mania 22). Even if the set is missing some of Edge’s other classics, I still appreciate the WWE for not repeating any matches from the past Edge set. There definitely are a lot of gimmick matches included, but thinking back on Edge’s career, most of his best matches were gimmick matches, so this does make sense. The matches never get repetitive, though, and I had no trouble breezing through the matches over these two discs.
“Leave It All Behind”: Closing Thoughts
Although we are still very early in the year, this DVD has definitely set itself up as the DVD to beat for 2012. The documentary is great, and reminds you just how great Edge was during his time in the WWE. In response to his theme music, yes, I definitely think I know him after watching this. The bonus matches are pretty much all great, and some are modern classics. This shows just how good Edge was in the ring. Add in all of the great matches on the Decade of Decadence set, and this becomes even more true. Admittedly, I would call myself an Edge-head, so I was bound to enjoy this set. Removing this bias and looking at it objectively, this is still in the upper echelon of WWE DVD releases. Highly, highly recommended!
What did everyone else think? How does this set stack up to past WWE superstar features? Let us know in the comments section below.