Edge vs. Lance Storm (C ) – Intercontinental Championship
Here are two guys I have traditionally liked a lot less than most. Let’s see how this opener on one of the WWE’s biggest shows of the year pans out! Lance is still doing the “if I can be serious for a minute” and Edge has Christian cheering him on backstage which surprised me as I thought they had already split. I do remember around this time there being a ground swell for an Edge singles push.
The match starts off really fast with Edge performing a flapjack and dropkick, sending Lance to the outside. After slamming Lance’s head against the apron, Edge gets a nice crossbody for a two count. Lance is able to take over by suplexing Edge onto the ring ropes and sending him into the guard rail outside ribs first. Lance attacks the ribs outside with kicks and this appears to be focus of his control segment. A front suplex from Lance earns a couple more pinfall attempts. Edge fires back a little bit and then Lance teases going for the half-crab where the leg has not been worked on one bit so far in this match.
This looks like a tease as Edge sends Lance into the corner and Lance responds by going back to the ribs. We see a reoccurring theme start to develop with Lance getting frustrated and trying to slap Edge, giving Edge an opening to fight back. Lance halts all of that momentum with a forward roll slam that looks good. Lance adds some variety on a rest hold submission by having a knee in the back. Again we get a spot where Edge fires back with some shots before Lance cuts him off. Paul Heyman and Jim Ross are excellent on commentary putting over the storyline of this match. Abdominal stretch gets locked in and I would have liked to have seen more fight from Edge in this hold to rile up the crowd.
Edge fights out of the stretch and Lance climbs to the top but gets powerslamed off his dive. Edge now makes his comeback and we head to the finishing stretch with lots of high-impact moves and nearfalls. The highlight of these was Lance going for a hurricanrana with Edge reversing into a powerbomb. A few seconds after this, Storm locks in the half-crab. Edge gets to the ropes but also reverses and locks on a half-crab of his own. Christian runs down and accidentally spears Edge so here is where heavy dissension starts. That was the best near fall of the match. A few counters result in Edge hitting an implant DDT for the pin in fairly anticlimactic fashion. Edge and Christian embrace after the match and seem to be on the same page.
I really was bothered by Edge’s performance for the most part here. I know he was still fresh as a babyface but he forgot really basic staples like selling an injury and also interaction with the crowd. Luckily, the crowd was still pretty hot for the entire match but I do believe this match being the opener played a role in that and it also was clear that they didn’t think the Implant DDT was going to be the finish until it actually was. Storm was someone who I have criticized for being notoriously light in the ring and not conveying much intensity even though his gimmick revolved around him being “serious”. He didn’t throw as many notorious strikes in this match and his focus on the ribs for the most part was very good in trying to advance a storyline within the match. One of the perils of having a leg submission as a finisher is that the leg should be worked on at some point and even in almost all of Ric Flair’s matches I have seen, he gives a few leg shots before locking on the figure four. Overall the match gave Edge the biggest singles win of his career, but judging by this performance, I don’t know if he really looked poised yet to become an upper mid-card singles star in the promotion.
Final Grade: **1/2