After nine years away due to a neck injury, Edge had his first singles match at WrestleMania 36 when he battled Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match.
The circumstances weren't ideal as the two men fought in an empty Performance Center instead of performing in front of thousands at a sold-out stadium. And while the change in venue and atmosphere disappointed Edge, he knew he had to make the best of it.
"There was disappointment, of course. We want to be in front of the audience," said Edge on WWE After The Bell. "It's not the same without the audience physically there. You know they are there watching at home and that's what you have to try and focus on; the performance for the people at home that are hopefully reacting the way you would want them to within the arena. You have to try and look at the positives. It was disappointing, but pretty quickly I went, 'This is what we have. Now what can we do?' Let's try to look at this in different terms. I started thinking about it in cinematic terms, and apparently I wasn't the only one [Laughs]. That's really what I tried to do, and focus on the story. The story is the steak, and if it's there, I think you can do it without an audience. There's challenges and you do feed off of it with the adrenaline. And I do think the audience can take something and make it better, just purely by reaction. But this is the set of circumstances we have and you have to try and make it work. We're pros."
Edge and Orton went nearly 40 minutes in a match that looked more like a fight. And according to Edge, the original plan was much different than the final product.
"We had a lot of things we had to adapt around, on top of doing [the match] within the empty arena. The time that we filmed it didn't coordinate with the ideas that we had. We find that out on the day, hours before. We had to change everything. And that's truly what you saw, a 40-minute audible. I'm proud of that. Without uttering two words to each other, we were able to do that," he said.
The reviews for the match were mixed with some enjoying the fact that the match looked more like a fight than a wrestling match, while others criticizing the length of the match and the "walk and brawl" style. No matter the criticisms, Edge is proud of what he and Orton were able to accomplish.
"I'm really proud. I go on what my gut tells me and my gut tells me that we had a fight and it's what it needed to be," he said. "You weren't going to see two guys creating these extreme high spots within the parameters of a Last Man Standing match. To me, it wasn't a Last Man Standing match, it was a Last Man Standing fight. This story was dirty, ugly, personal. It feels like it should take place in the bowels of a boiler room. It shouldn't be pretty or fancy. It should be two guys just beating the piss out of each other. It had to be a fight. Initially, I had ideas of drones and going on rooftops, but we're filming in sunlight, so that's not going to work. Let's just go fight. For that, I'm very proud. I'm also very proud that after nine years off, I could go for 40-minutes."
Edge stood victorious at the end of the bout, finishing Orton off with a con-chair-to on top of a production truck.
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