In the desert of Arizona, Wrestlemania 26 is rightfully remembered for the main event between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. This is the match where Shawn Michaels loses and must enter retirement. Forgotten by many is a good Wrestlemania match that in my opinion stands on its own and has a place to be remembered in a list of good championship matches at WWE‘s Wrestlemania. The match I’m on about is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Chris Jericho.
Some critics dismissed the match and didn’t seem to enjoy the contest but in contrast The Wrestling Observer gave it 4 stars making it the highest-rated match by Dave Meltzer aside from the main event that got 4 3/4 stars. The history of the match and their feud begins back in the summer of 2009. Having been put together at The Bash where under pressure Teddy Long adds the newly formed team to the Unified Tag Team Championship match. Edge and Jericho would emerge victorious to capture the titles.
Unfortunately soon afterwards Edge would snap his Achilles’ tendon and have to vacate his half of the titles. At Night of Champions, it’s announced that the Big Show would replace him as Jericho new partner and the team would have a decent run until the end of the year known as Jeri-Show.
The Royal Rumble in January of 2010 in Atlanta saw Edge return as a huge surprise, entering number 29 and winning the Royal Rumble Match, earning a championship shot at Wrestlemania. Chris Jericho won the World Heavyweight Championship a month later inside the Elimination Chamber, setting the stage for a match at Wrestlemania 26. The match build is focussed on Edge always getting the best of Jericho with a spear and Jericho starting to fear being hit with it, right up until nine days before on Smackdown when Chris Jericho leaves Edge laying in the middle of the ring.
The matchup at Wrestlemania 26 is a well-worked match where we see back and forth, well paced action. The match starts with a more technical side but soon speeds up with some aggression and goes into the final stages where we see finishers hit and false finishes to the crowd’s delight. Jericho hits Edge with the championship belt behind the referees back and as Edge is dazed he hits the code breaker to secure a victory. At the time everyone thought including myself that Edge, the returning hero, would win the championship so it was a surprise to see Jericho retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
After the match a furious Edge would attack Jericho and spear him off the commentary table, through the barricade. Edge goes back to the middle of the ring and the crowd give him a mixed reaction. Edge never really connected fully with the audience on his return and that simply is down to the fact he is more suited to being a heel. Surprisingly in contrast to what The Observer rated this match, WhatCulture put this match in the top 10 worst championship matches in Wrestlemania history. But I believe that to be unjustified especially considering the championship match that comes next which feels a little flat compared to this one and feels a let down considering the big build it receives.
The Smackdown after Wrestlemania Jericho would lose the WWE World Heavyweight Championship when Jack Swagger would cash in his newly won Money in the Bank contract that he earned at Wrestlemania. Edge and Jericho would end their feud the next month at Extreme Rules when Edge would defeat Jericho inside a steel cage.The Phoenix crowd engages with this match and it is a forgotten one that is very enjoyable. I would even say to go out of your way to watch it if you haven’t already as it’s worth a watch or a revisit.
This article was first published on WrestlingCulture.com