[Theory] Could Edge Be One Of The Next WWE Releases?
If you’re a WWE fan, you’ve probably heard by now the company has released a number of notable stars this week. Among them, Braun Strowman and Lana, both of whom were making some pretty good money with WWE after signing extensions in 2019.
Both releases came as a shock to WWE fans, and while there’s some debate about what Vince McMahon might have thought about both talents in an on-air role, budget cuts were cited as a reason for the “future endeavor” decisions. From there, talk that WWE might be looking to sell the company offers up more speculation that future releases could be on the horizon. Our own Ishaan Shamra writes:
“Right now, Disney and NBCU are the two most likely buyers of WWE. The company has a long working relationship with NBCU and they recently sold the WWE Network to Peacock in the United States as well. Possibly, NBCU could even end up purchasing WWE as a whole.”
What Does This Have To Do With Edge?
Right around the same time WWE signed Strowman and Lana to big-money extensions, the company brought back The Rated-R Superstar. He made his triumphant return at the Royal Rumble in 2020, but not before having a chat with AEW to discuss potentially joining their roster, according to Wrestle Zone.
TalkSport reported in January of 2020: “Speaking of Edge’s deal, we believe it for three years at $3 million-a-year.” They added, “The 11-time world champion gets paid in full as long as he competes three times in a year.”
That’s a lot of money to be paying for someone who doesn’t have to work all that much.
Edge Isn’t Really Needed
While his return was met with a thunderous ovation, the buzz was short-lived because a pandemic hit. Live crowds disappeared and the draw that Edge had, in many ways, went with it. He was part of a Triple Threat Match at this year’s WrestleMania main event, but his role in that match was changed last minute to ensure Daniel Bryan was seen as the only babyface.
Edge was pinned by Roman Reigns and hasn’t been back since and there’s no word on when he will return again.
Edge is a main-event level talent, but he’s also older and was away from WWE for years. In many ways, he’s a marketable elder statesman who is open to working the new crop of budding stars, but WWE seemed to do fine without him over the course of the time he was away with an injury. If the idea here is to cut costs, his contract seems like one the WWE can do away with.
AEW Isn’t Really A Concern
Some will argue that letting Edge go to AEW if WWE releases him would be a huge mistake. But, let’s think about it for a second. First, how much use can AEW actually get out of him? He’s not keen on being a full-time performer as he’s got a family and his wife, Beth Phoenix, is still calling matches for NXT. It’s not as though he’s going to hit the road again full time.
Second, AEW is going to have to pony up big time to acquire him, assuming his rumored $3 million deal is accurate.
It’s logical to assume that Edge might not even be a singles main event star in the company as the natural thing to do would be to place him with his former partner Christian, who AEW has arguably dropped the ball on since his debut.
So too, I might argue that AEW only has so much room to add talent and that focusing on names like Samoa Joe, Aleister Black and Strowman are a better use of their resources. Could Edge show up every once and a while and make some money for one-off appearances? Sure, but how much is that really going to move the needle from a continued ratings standpoint? Short term, it’s a great move. Long-term, it’s not a difference maker.
Edge Isn’t Worth What He’s Being Paid
Multiple reports suggest WWE let go Strowman go because they couldn’t justify paying him over $1 million per year if he was past his peak. It’s logical to assume Lana was released for similar reasons — that it didn’t make sense to pay millions for a tag team talent that kept getting the crap kicked out of her.
For Edge, who works only part time, doesn’t make a huge difference to WWE’s ratings and isn’t likely to give AEW the competitive edge (pun intended) that most think, it would make sense for WWE to dump his contract, if cutbacks are the ideal end goal here.