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.
For whatever reason, I have never been too fond of WrestleMania 22. When the WWE Network launched in 2014, it certainly wasn't leading my list of WrestleMania events I was in a rush to watch. It's far better than a number of the installments that occurred in the late '90s, but the whole card just felt like it was lacking to me. But the one match that stood out in my mind after sitting through the event in its entirety was Edge vs. Mick Foley.
2005 was mostly dominated by John Cena and Batista on Raw and SmackDown, respectively, but Edge had just as strong of a year as them. At the same WrestleMania where they captured their initial world championships, Edge won the inaugural Money in the Bank Ladder match, which guaranteed him a future shot at the prestigious prize at any time and place of his choosing. It was evident as early as 2002 that he was destined for big things in WWE, but it was what he accomplished throughout 2005 that cemented him as a star on the rise.
Following the tremendous year he had, Edge deserved to be involved in a prominent match at 'Mania, but officials didn't share the same vision. He dropped the WWE Championship a mere three weeks after winning it and wasn't scheduled to be a part of their top plans for the biggest pay-per-view of the year. Thankfully, he struck gold in his feud with Mick Foley, who had been wrestling on-and-off since his semi-retirement in 2000. They were the perfect opponents for each other, and little did fans know they would end up stealing the show that night in Chicago.
Needless to say, Hardcore matches had always been Foley's specialty, but one of Edge's greatest attributes was that he was able to thrive in whatever match type he competed in. Regardless of whether it was TLC, Steel Cage or Last Man Standing, he would find a way to win, and this contest versus Foley was no different. Speaking of whom, there was plenty of concern how Foley would fare in the ring with The Rated-R Superstar, especially coming off his embarrassing performance two years earlier at WrestleMania 20.
Despite that, Foley prevailed with a performance of a lifetime, beating and battering Edge with just about anything and everything he could get his hands on. A frightened Lita looked on from ringside, even interjecting herself into the action at various points, but even she knew there was nothing she could do to stop the pain her boy toy was going through. Edge was determined to make an impact after being snubbed from the WrestleMania main event, and that motivation proved to be his biggest strength in beating the master of hardcore.
The whole match was a blast, and that's coming from someone who traditionally doesn't enjoy a blood bath for the sake of a blood bath. This bout had stellar psychology, both from Edge and Foley. Edge was willing to do whatever it took to put the future WWE Hall of Famer out to pasture while Foley was hell-bent on beating respect into the former WWE Champion. The story was simple yet stellar, and the action spoke for itself.
Of course, I'd be remiss not to mention the fantastic finish that saw Edge hit a scintillating spear on Foley through a burning table at ringside. Only someone as sick as Foley would do something so heinous, but hey, we're still talking about it a decade later, aren't we? It was surely a moment for the highlight reel that earned Edge the hard-fought victory. He went on to win nearly a dozen more world championships, but it was his win at WrestleMania 22 that solidified him as a bona fide main event player.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall: Coming to Next Era Wrestling This March"