Edge says checkmate

Edge says checkmate

PITTSBURGH — "Nobody will ever be a step ahead of me," declared Edge, the new World Heavyweight Champion. "I'm always six moves ahead of everyone else in this industry, possibly even seven — more like nine."

In this particular scenario, the Rated-R Superstar effectively completed two crucial chess-like moves to shake the foundation of sports-entertainment in the space of 24 hours. First, he successfully baited Mr. Kennedy into a match on Raw that cost the vocal Superstar his Money in the Bank World Championship opportunity. The opportunistic Edge then cashed in his newly won contract on SmackDown the following night, covering a barely conscious Undertaker to claim his first-ever World Heavyweight Title.

While savoring his historic victory over The Phenom inside SmackDown's locker room area, an eerie smile stuck on the new champion's sweat-drenched face. It was the same smug look that Edge has become notorious for over the years, especially whenever his complex mind games and intricate schemes come to fruition (and they always seem to). Rubbing his chin while admiring his new gold-plated prize, the anything-but-modest Superstar summed up his acute mental prowess with a metaphor: "I'm like Phil Jackson, Bill Belichick, Scotty Bowman and Joe Torre all wrapped into one… Just when you think you have a game plan mapped out, I change everything up."

Giving the devil his due, the rook was placed 24 hours earlier on Raw, as Edge's unmatched power of persuasion lured Mr. Kennedy into putting his Money in the Bank briefcase on the line. The following night on SmackDown, he cashed in his newly seized World Championship contract moments after a battle-weary Undertaker emerged from a taxing Steel Cage Match against Batista (and was subsequently dissected by a returning Mark Henry). The move was closely related to Edge's crafty decision to cash in his 2005 Money in the Bank opportunity after WWE Champion John Cena had survived a grueling Elimination Chamber Match against five other competitors.

"I don't wait for things to come to me. I don't wait for things to happen," he explained. "I make things happen. I create the questions, and then I go ahead and give you the answers.  There is nobody close to the mental chess that I can play."

Part of those mental games came in the form of an earlier WWE.com exclusive with the Rated-R Superstar, during which he said his main focus was the WWE Championship.

"So I threw people off by saying the WWE Championship," he said, "but I've conquered that mountain. That was part of my master stroke; it's all part of the mental chess game. You see, whether it's my opponents, the fans, or the people within this company, I always keep people guessing."

According to Edge, there isn't one person who could have guessed his planned change of scenery all along. In fact, to hear him tell it, it had always been in the cards (or pawns, for that matter), and was even highlighted by a strategic act of frustration that our fans saw during his twilight on Raw.

"That ‘frustration' was all part of a ploy to give the impression that I was off my game — but I'm never off my game," he barked. "Some people have ‘off' games, but I don't. I'm the smartest man and by far the best in the industry, period."

One person who would loudly disagree with such comments is the Superstar Edge unseated as "Mr. Money in the Bank" this past Monday. While the new World Champion gave props to Mr. Kennedy as a bona fide up-and-comer, he believed the Green Bay native's skills are nowhere near those of a master manipulator such as himself.

"Mr. Kennedy is a good kid. He's where I was a few years ago," Edge said. "He's still learning, but he's not the master yet. He's not where I'm at now."

For Edge, returning to SmackDown presents new challenges. Not only will the Rated-R Superstar enter a new brand with a target centered around his waist, but he also will be facing competitors in SmackDown match-ups that our fans could only dream about — until now.

"I took Raw to new heights and did things that have never been done before. I look at SmackDown as an open field of opportunity for me. It's competition that I can sink my teeth into — Undertaker, Batista, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Finlay…. Those are guys I want to test myself against."

Like all of Edge's tests, they all still pale in comparison to his dominant mental skills — at least, according to him.

"Even the top SmackDown Superstars are guys I will stay one, two, three, four steps ahead of," he claimed. "Like I said before, I'm the best in the industry, period."

Watch Edge win the WWE Championship in 2006

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