The Build: Edge won the WWE Championship from John Cena at New Year’s Revolution by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract after Cena won a brutal Elimination Chamber Match. Three weeks later at the Royal Rumble Cena won back the title. In a rematch on Raw two weeks later, Mick Foley was made Special Guest Referee.
Edge once again lost to Cena and took his frustrations out on Foley. That led to the announcement of a Hardcore Match for Wrestlemania 22 between Foley and Edge.
Joey Styles takes over for Jim Ross on commentary for this match. Nice that he got to work Wrestlemania this year after he got replaced by JR for the show.
Edge begins the match with a baseball bat, but Foley quickly knocks it away. The central mystery at the beginning of this match is why Foley has his shirt buttoned up. We get our answer when Edge Spears him and stays down holding his shoulder in pain. Foley reveals that he had wrapped his body in barbed wire for protection. Shouldn’t that have cut Foley up? Maybe he had extra layers on.
We see that Edge’s shoulder is cut open as Foley whips him with the barbed wire. Now Foley gets the barbed wire baseball bat as Edge is trapped in the ropes. Lita gets involved by jumping up on Foley’s back. Foley proceeds to hit the Cactus Jack Clothesline, sending everything over the top rope to the floor.
Foley takes a Hip Toss onto the ring steps, which is probably like the tenth sickest bump in this match. Edge sets Foley up on a table but Foley gets off. That table might play a big role in the conclusion of this match.
Edge gets lighter fluid from Lita and douses Foley in it. Piledriver from Foley gets two. Edge DDTs Foley on a roadsign, which is a transition spot in this match. Edge beats Foley with the bat. The barbed wire one, not the regular one that Edge brought to the ring with him. That bat seems to have disappeared.
Bulldog onto the bat. There’s some sick stuff in this match that I had forgotten. Foley is bleeding everywhere. Edge brings thumbtacks into the ring, because this has been too tame so far. A Back Suplex from Foley to Edge onto the thumbtacks, which is hilarious because it would hurt Foley just as much as Edge. Now Mr. Socko comes and Foley wraps it in barbed wire. Claw on Edge, then on Lita when she tries to interfere.
Now the evil is coming out of Foley. The blood changed him, awakened his demons. Foley douses the table with lighter fluid but gets hit with the bat by Lita. Lita proceeds to light the table on fire and we get the famous end to the match, as Edge Spears Foley through the flaming table.
Rating: ****. Middle of the match was a bit slow, but the violence here was just so jaw dropping. Perhaps the most brutal match in Wrestlemania history, and with the style of the current product nothing is going to top it. This was a classic Foley put over job, just like he did for The Rock, Triple H, Randy Orton, and plenty of others over the years. Edge goes toe-to-toe with the Hardcore Legend and beats him at his own game.
Lita helps a bloodied Edge to the back.
The Aftermath: Edge and Foley would actually become friends, as in the months after this Foley would turn heel in opposition to the return of ECW. The Edge/Foley vs. Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk match at One Night Stand was another awesome spectacle of violence.