By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on WrestleMania Recall, I will be ranking my top 31 favorite matches in WWE WrestleMania history. A new installment will be posted every day in the month of March, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Thursday, March 31st, mere days before WrestleMania 32. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
As strong of a lock as Chris Jericho vs. Edge seemed to be for WrestleMania 26, I couldn't be too sure. I distinctly remember talking to my good friend John shortly after Edge injured his Achilles tendon in the summer of 2009 and it was announced that he would out for close to a year that he would be back in time to win the Royal Rumble. But that was more fantasy booking than it was a true prediction. That said, I couldn't have been happier when I heard "You Think You Know Me!" hit the arena at the 2010 Royal Rumble.
I've gone on the record in the past in saying that is my favorite Royal Rumble return of all-time, as to this day I get goosebumps watching it back. The only thing that came close to the raucous reaction he received was the look on Jericho's face, who was already in the ring and laying waste to John Cena and Shawn Michaels. In Edge's absence, he dismissed him as his tag team partner and blamed him for getting hurt, instead resuming his reign as tag team champion with Big Show. Edge certainly didn't forget that, and he immediately targeted Y2J and tossed him from the ring a short while later.
At that point, it was evident they were on a collision course for WrestleMania 26, which was shaping up to be one hell of a card. John Cena vs. Batista for the WWE Championship, The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels II in a Streak vs. Career match, Bret Hart's first WWE match in over a decade, and now a match many fans had been waiting for between Edge and Jericho. Their respective roads to WrestleMania took an interesting twist at the Elimination Chamber when Jericho captured the World Heavyweight Championship, and no more than 24 hours later did Edge, the 2010 Royal Rumble winner, choose to face him at WrestleMania.
Their match didn't main event the show, but it didn't need to. It was perfectly slotted in the upper echelon of the card. For weeks, Edge taunted Jericho with chants of his signature maneuver the Spear, while Jericho threatened to tear his Achilles tendon a second time by way of the Walls of Jericho. Edge has always worked better as a heel than as a babyface, so the storyline support wasn't amazing, but remember, it would have been ten times better had Edge not gotten hurt. Jericho said on his latest DVD release that their WrestleMania match was the plan all along, and they still managed to get there despite the unfortunate circumstances.
The former Undisputed Tag Team Champions were determined to steal the show that night, and had Michaels vs. 'Taker not gone on last, they probably would have. The Phoenix crowd was solidly behind Edge throughout the bout and they were anxious to see him win his tenth world title. It made perfect sense for him to go over on that night, most fans were convinced Jericho was nothing more than a transitional champion, but the record-setting nine-time Intercontinental Champion set out to prove his doubters wrong.
They had their fair share of matches in the past, but the stakes are always higher at WrestleMania, as was the case with this contest. The early goings consisted of technical wrestling, which I enjoyed, but it may not have been for everyone. Then again, this was a ruthless rivalry after all, so maybe they should have ditched going hold for hold and instead should have gone straight for each other's throats from the get-go. It came to that down the stretch, and that was when things really intensified.
WrestleMania 26 was the first WrestleMania I ever saw live, and while watching it over John's house, I jumped out of my seat on the couch and paraded around the house every time Jericho or Edge hit one of their finishers and the other kicked out (though I tried my best not to wake his parents up). And once Jericho hit the Codebreaker on a dazed Edge after being knocked out with the world title belt, he emerged victorious and did what no one thought he could: maintain his possession of the prestigious prize. Granted, the last thing Jericho did that night was look up at the lights when The Rated-R Superstar lashed out afterward and speared him off the commentary table and through the barricade, but hey, he lived to fight another day!
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #26: Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy, WrestleMania 25"