In the initial years of the Attitude Era, making a name for oneself was an arduous task. With Stone Cold, Vince McMahon, Bret Hart, HBK and DX stealing the limelight on a consistent basis, the rest of the roster was still that of an emerging one. In that period, the heyday of the WWF, you needed to be truly outstanding and incredibly memorable to even get noticed and not booed off your socks. Fans didn’t like the generic good guy anymore; they HATED the good guy (as Rocky Maivia thankfully found out).
It was the age of the ‘cool’ heel, heels that were absolutely relatable and possessed the kind of attitude that everybody wanted to emulate. Times were changing for the better, leading to the WWE becoming a better wholesome product as the years went by.
Edge and Christian debuted in 1998, with Edge debuting a few months before Christian. They were storyline brothers and would eventually join The Brood, led by Gangrel, a stable of blood-sucking vampires, with Edge and Christian embracing their ‘true nature’. Gaining mild success, The Brood would eventually become a part of the even more diabolical Ministry of Darkness led by The Undertaker. The Brood would soon depart from the Ministry after The Undertaker flogged Christian and would start a rivalry with the Hardy Boyz.
Splitting up from Gangrel, Edge and Christian become a tag team and by 2000, they had established themselves as main stays of the Tag Team division. The prominent teams were the declining New Age Outlaws, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz, with E&C still very much on the outside looking in, having not made much of an impression on the audience.
Dropping the whole vampire gimmick, and reinventing themselves as cool loud-mouthed surfer idols, E&C started becoming headliners, with their popularity reaching mammoth proportions. Famous for their ‘5 second pose’, their new-found popularity would culminate in them winning their first WWF Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 2000, in a triangular ladder match, beating the Hardy Boyz and defending champions the Dudley Boyz in one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. The match would then be named as the PWI Match of The Year for the year 2000 and the team would be named as the best Tag Team of the year by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The match is also famous for one of the greatest spots in the WWE history, when Edge speared Jeff Hardy off a ladder to prevent Hardy from winning the bout for his team.
E&C became the ultimate cool guys during this period, and the fans couldn’t help cheering for the men who according to themselves, ‘reeked of awesomeness’. Their over-the-top parodies and brash attitudes endeared them to the hearts of the WWE fans, with E&C infamously parodying famous mainstream celebrities such as Elvis Presley and Bill Buckner, and also their main rivals, the Dudleyz and the Hardyz.
E&C would win seven WWE Tag Team Championships as a team, feuding almost continuously with their two aforementioned rivals in 2000 and 2001. While they never held the belts for particularly long periods of times, their antics truly set them apart and made them immortal.
At the greatest WrestleMania of all time, WrestleMania 17, E&C would face the Hardyz and the Dudleyz in a re-match, this time in the brand new Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, christened as the TLC match. E&C would win at the Grandest Stage of Them All again, this time with help from their ally Rhyno. The match was named the PWI Match of the Year for the second consecutive time, cementing the legacy of the three teams who pioneered the TLC match.
While the team did later on include Kurt Angle and Rhyno (being named Team ‘RECK’), it was never quite the phenomenon that E&C was. E&C would finally split up in 2001, with a jealous Christian turning on Edge and joining The Alliance after Edge won the 2001 King of the Ring.
In a period when crash TV was the norm, E&C arguably did it better than anyone else. The passion and intensity displayed by two fans of the business was on show every single minute of every single night, as they mocked anyone and everyone in the WWE.
Sure they never reached the fame levels of the Rocks and the Austins, but they managed to inspire a whole new generation of wrestlers, just like Hulk Hogan had inspired them. The tag team was an excellent platform for their successful single careers, with Edge going on to become a record-breaking 7-time World Heavyweight Champion and a 4-time WWE Champion, and Christian became a 2-time World Heavyweight Champion, not to mention the multiple other titles the two held between themselves.
After Edge’s retirement in 2011, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Christian, and it is predictable that the same will occur during Christian’s eventual induction to the HOF.
“For the benefit of those with flash photography, Edge and Christian will now pose, for five seconds ONLY!”