When given the chance to write about the WrestleMania’s that have taken place on April 2 for our WrestleMania REIMAGINED series, one quickly jumps at the opportunity. It was on April 2nd, 2006, at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago, one of my top five favorite WrestleMania matches took place. That WrestleMania 22 match was a Hardcore Match between Edge and Mick Foley. It is the latest in our WrestleMania REIMAGINED series.
The Rated R Superstar Edge’s ascension up the ranks of the WWE was a gradual one. He began his WWE career as a loner who made his way to the ring through the audience. Before long he was teaming with his “brother” Christian and with Gangrel they formed the Brood.
After parting ways with Gangrel, Edge and Christian along with the Hardy Boys and Dudley Boys revitalized tag team wrestling. Their high-risk table and ladder matches set the standard for dangerous, death-defying in-ring action. Eventually, after multiple tag team championship reigns, Edge and Christian parted ways to try their hands as singles competitors. Edge saw much success, winning the 2001 King of the Ring and holding the Intercontinental Championship numerous times, but his biggest breakout moment came at WrestleMania 21.
That night he defeated five other competitors in the first-ever Money in the Bank Match Ladder match. He climbed the ladder and secured the briefcase with the contract for a guaranteed World Championship match. The one-year contractual opportunity signaled Edge’s arrival as a main event player.
Over the next few months, Edge’s heel persona really shined. In feuds with Chris Benoit and Kane, Edge excelled. However, it was his very personal rivalry on and off-screen with Matt Hardy that shone. This feud cemented Edge’s status as one of the top heels in the industry. It was something that only progressed as his career played out.
Matt Hardy and Lita had long been a real couple in the wrestling business.
When Lita left Hardy for his good friend Edge a personal rivalry played out behind the scenes and on WWE television screens throughout the summer of 2005.
The curtain was pulled back and fans were given access to a real-life soap opera as numerous times the fourth wall was broken. Real names were used and details that probably should’ve been kept private about their lives were revealed. In the end, Edge defeated his bitter rival in a “Loser Leaves Raw” ladder match on the October 3 Raw Homecoming episode.
With Lita by his side and his rival vanquished, Edge reveled in the fan’s hatred.
Using his “Cutting-Edge” talk show segment to continuously get under their skin, he was at one time the most hated man in wrestling.
His dastardly ways eventually led him into a feud with Ric Flair for the Intercontinental Championship and a championship match was announced for New Year’s Revolution.
During the January 2006 event, Edge got himself disqualified, setting in motion a much bigger plan. That night’s main event was an Elimination Chamber match, one in which John Cena defended his championship. With a battered and bloodied Cena still in the ring, Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to Vince McMahon and two spears later he was the new WWE Champion.
The victory cemented Edge’s status as the ultimate opportunist and sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world.
His reign didn’t last long as Cena won the championship back at the Royal Rumble.
The rematch the following Thursday on a special Raw set the stage for their WrestleMania encounter. Edge failed to win the championship back from Cena. However, he blamed special guest referee Mick Foley for the loss.
All the hard work he had done throughout his career, was for nothing. For Edge, it was Mick Foley’s fault. Edge laid out a challenge to Foley. To the man, he said went from a hardcore legend to a cuddly teddy bear and muppet. Foley accepted but it would be no regular match, but instead a hardcore match. The verbal vitriol and physical assaults from Edge and Lita woke something up in Foley that had been dormant inside him for years.
Mick Foley once again had the desire to take things to a hardcore level in order to destroy Edge this time at WrestleMania. Also for Foley, this was his opportunity to achieve his WrestleMania moment. In all his years he never had that one stand out moment at the Showcase of the Immortals. This time Edge will face Mick Foley at WrestleMania.
This hardcore match, his specialty, on the biggest stage, was the perfect opportunity to finally achieve immortality.
“In my career, I never had that one defining moment, deep down I’ve known it and deep down I’ve needed it for a long time. So while I reject your offer for a wrestling match. I’d like to challenge you to another match.”
Before the match begins, Jim Ross is replaced on commentary by Joey Styles, whose history as the voice of ECW made him the perfect complement to this match. Edge enters first, not in his usual ring gear, but black jeans ready for a fight. With Lita by his side and a baseball bat in hand, his determination to steal the show is very apparent. Foley enters next and the Chicago fans in attendance welcome him with a raucous ovation. Styles does a fantastic job referencing Foley’s hardcore history, mentioning infamous matches he’s had across the globe.
After the bell rings, Edge immediately swings for the fences, but Foley is able to dodge each swing of the bat at WrestleMania. With the advantage, Foley lands an elbow to Edge while he’s stuck in the tree of woes. Taking the time to play the crowd with a vintage “Bang, Bang” allows Edge to connect with a big boot to the face. Lita hands Edge two metal cookie sheets that he slams across Foley’s head before base slide kicking a street sign into the hardcore legends face.
With momentum on his side Edge connects with his vaunted spear, but comes out of the maneuver in more pain than Foley. Foley, ever the wily veteran, had wrapped barb wire around his waist, causing Edge to receive most of the damage including a gash on his arm. Whipping Edge with the barbed wire after using wire cutters to free it from around his waist, Foley continues to inflict more damage.
Eventually, Edge gets tied up in the top and middle ropes and with his enemy seemingly helpless.
Foley introduces his trusty baseball bat wrapped in barbwire “Barbie” into the match.
However, Lita the sinister sexpot as she is called by Styles jumps on Foley’s back in efforts to protect her boyfriend. Throwing caution to the wind, Foley with Lita on his back, Cactus clotheslines Edge over the top rope as all three go crashing to the floor.
The two warriors do battle around the ringside area and Foley takes two nasty bumps involving the steel stairs.
The first is when his attempted face crusher knee slam is reversed by Edge into a hip toss onto the stairs. Shortly following it is Foley flipping completely over the steps. How he was able to walk after these bumps is anyone’s guess. Before getting back into the ring, Edge sets up a table on the ringside area, something that will come into play later.
Fighting up the entrance ramp, Edge slams Foley into the steel ramp eliciting a sickening thud as Foley’s head crashes onto the steel. His brutality only receives a two count as the hardcore legend refuses to stay down.
Once they return to the ring, Edge douses Foley with lighter fluid, something that appalls both Styles and Jerry “The King” Lawler on commentary.
Edge finally gets a hold of Barbie and uses Foley’s signature weapon against him.
First striking him in the gut and then following up with a shot to the back.
The damage continues when Edge rams the barbwire bat into Foley’s face before raking the razor-sharp wire across his forehead. The vicious assault causes blood to rain down Foley’s face.
Edge thinks he has the match won when he slams Foley face-first into Barbie, but amazingly Foley kicks out at two. With his frustration rising, Edge reveals a bag full of thumbtacks under one set of steel stairs.
After pouring the tacks in the ring, he attempts to slam Foley onto them but is caught off guard when Foley reverses it into a side suplex. Styles once again nails the commentary calling Edge “a pain injected pin cushion.”Foley’s beloved Mr. Socko makes an appearance in the match but is given a hardcore makeover after he wraps barb wire around the sock.
Both Edge and Lita receive the barbed wire wrapped mandible claw, much to the delight to the Chicago audience.
Then it’s Foley’s turn to use Barbie, returning the favor to Edge with a gutshot followed by a shot to the back. What follows is one of the most iconic images of this match, with Edge in the ropes Foley rakes the barb wire weapon across his forehead.
Now with both men wearing crimson masks, Foley sprays lighter fluid on top of the table set up at ringside. However, before Mick Foley can finish Edge off he is hit below the belt with Barbie by Lita during their Hardcore Match at WrestleMania 22. Lita proceeds to spray more lighter fluid on the table before setting it ablaze.
As Foley attempts to recover on the apron, Edge, the ultimate opportunist, connects with a spear. Both men crash into the flaming table as Styles lets out his trademark “OH MY GOD” perfectly capturing the reaction by everyone watching at home and in the live audience.
Through all the carnage Edge is able to make the cover for the 1-2-3.
Worse for wear, with blood dripping into his eyes, Edge is consoled by Lita as the two make their exit. Going the hardcore distance with the legendary Mick Foley, further cemented Edge’s status as a main event player. With the crowd chanting his name, Mick Foley makes a heroic exit. Mick Foley truly created a WrestleMania moment against Edge that will live forever.