After a month long hiatus, the fabled Forgotten Classic series written by the biggest Peep in the world is back for the milestone of its fifth Volume. This edition was inspired by two of your fellow B/R Peeps; Andrea Claire and Miss Annie. These two are Edgeheads and Ortonites, respectively, and I thought I would give a shout out to these two by dedicating this next volume to Rated RKO, or more specifically, the implosion of Rated RKO 2007.
So prepare to go down memory line and revisit a classic matchup between two wrestlers that have one thing in common; they are both lesser wrestlers and entertainers than Christian!
Apr. 30, 2007, Monday Night Raw: Randy Orton vs. Edge
D-Generation-X (who had reunited earlier in 2006 due to having a common enemy in Vincent Kennedy McMahon) cost Edge the WWE Championship against John Cena inside the always unforgiving confines of a steel cage.
This was the last straw for Edge, and the following week, during the Cutting Edge (just think, a poor man's version of the Peep Show), he extended his hand to the Legend Killer himself to unite with him and take down DX. Knowing the history that Randy Orton had with both men, Edge knew he could not resist the opportunity to get rid of the two biggest thorns in his side. Thus, Rated RKO was born.
It was not surprising that Rated RKO quickly climbed the ladder on Raw, becoming the top dogs by first defeating DX at Cyber Sunday and then defeating Ric Flair and Roddy Piper for the World Tag Team Championships the following week on Raw. The final contest between Rated RKO and DX was at New Years Revolution. As you may well know, it was during this match that HHH ruptured his knee, thus forcing him out of action until Summerslam 2007.
With DX defeated, Randy Orton and Edge had done what they had set out to do: defeat their nemesis once and for all. However, things began getting sour for our favorite heel couple when they both strived to become what every wrestler thrives to become: the WWE Champion.
Miscommunication led to them being eliminated from the 2007 Rumble at the final four stage and dissension again cost either of them a shot at the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 23, when Shawn Michaels beat them at a triple threat No. 1 contendership match to get a shot at the WWE Championship against Cena at 'Mania.
With this route being blocked for the egotistical pair, they decided to go down another in order to claim what they believe rightfully belongs to them and that was the annual Money in the Bank Ladder match. However, it was Mr. Kennedy who triumphed at Wrestlemania and gained the coveted briefcase.
After Wrestlemania 23, Edge and Orton both threw their names into the WWE Championship picture and it was official; it would be Randy Orton vs. Edge vs. HBK vs. John Cena (c) for the WWE Championship at Backlash of 2007.
But, they again came up short in their attempts to become champion and with the tension between these two at an all time high, a contract was signed for a match the week after Backlash. However, due to time constraints as a result of the epic John Cena and HBK Wrestlemania rematch, the duo would face-off the following week in what would be the final chapter in the rise, the fall and the implosion of Rated RKO.
Here it is my B/R Peeps!
Putting everything else aside, this was a match that was worth the entrance fee for anyone who attended. It was a high quality wrestling match from start to finish, showcasing both Randy Orton's and Edge's talents as performers.
The match had the right blend of spots, rest holds and signature moves, yet kept the story that these two were telling at the forefront; they were proving to themselves and to everyone else which one was the better half of Rated RKO and which one was the main instigator for their success.
Furthermore, these two knew each other inside out due to their tag-team exploits so their wrestling style meshed perfectly. You had them pull out all the stops to one-up each other; from the Edgecution of the Rated R Superstar to the inverted back-breaker of the Legend Killer, from the Edge-O-Matic of Edge to the powerslam of Randy Orton.
And, adding to that with perfectly timed near-falls and finisher attempts and you had the crowd eating out of their hands leading to the hot finish.
This match also showcased what the WWE does not do very often these days and that is an heel vs. heel encounter.
The last one was the bout between Edge and Chris Jericho on Smackdown and this is an avenue that is not utilized enough by the WWE in the present era. The psychology of two heels trying to out heel each other throughout is entertaining to watch. And, to see Orton grab a handful of Edge's trunks, which led to Edge repaying the favor by using the ropes as leverage was as good as seeing two faces exchanging blows.
However, it was clear who the fans were behind in this match. It may have been because of the pure hatred the fan had against Edge at that time but Randy Orton was clearly the babyface of the match with "RANDY!! RANDY!!" chants emanating from the crowd on several occasions. This alone proves that the Legend Killer has the tools to be a top babyface in the WWE and when allowed to perform this role, the fans will indeed cheer for Randy Orton in full force.
Why Is It Forgotten?
Unlike my previous volumes, this match is not forgotten in such that the WWE has not recognized it later on. It was featured on an Edge DVD, however, it could have been so much more.
Every fan loves to see the blow-off when a tag-team splits and we have had many great moments and matches as a result. I mean, who can forget the SCM by Shawn Michaels on Marty Jannety through the barbershop window and the subsequent match was voted match of the year.
Plain and simple, this match should have been at Wrestlemania 23. The fans were on the edge of their seats from the start of to 2007 in anticipation for the implosion of Rated RKO and if this has occurred on a stage like Wrestlemania, this match would surely have been another iconic Wrestlemania moment.
What made this decision even more stupid was that the two men were instead thrown into the Money in the Bank match, a match neither man won (the honor went to Mr. Kennedy). It was a waste of a money making opportunity and one that I believe the WWE regrets.
Randy Orton and Edge have both gone onto to superstardom since this bout, both winning multiple World Championships and both providing us with mark out moments, both in and out of the ring. I, and most likely every other Peep, would relish a feud between these two, and when the inevitable feud occurs, the WWE would be wise to interweave the rise, fall and implosion of one of the most hated memorable tag-teams in recent memory.