From Edgeheads to Figure-Heads: A History of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins’ Bromance

Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder
Credit: WWE

The “run in to save a former ally/friend which ultimately leads to an on-screen reunion” is a classic wrestling plot device and on Monday night, WWE used it to seemingly reunite Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, formerly known as the “Edgeheads”, when Ryder came out to save Hawkins following the tag match that Hawkins worked as a referee, after The Revival objected to Curt’s refereeing.

Just two boys from Long Island, NY, Hawkins and Ryder began their wrestling careers as a team for the independent New York Wrestling Connection in 2004 under Hawkins’ real name (Brian Myers), and Ryder as Brett Matthews. The following year, Myers and Matthews, now staples in NYWC, won the first titles of their career, defeating the team of Dickie Rodz and Mason Raige. The following year the duo won the titles again, holding them until NWA Cyberspace a few months later.

Ending what had been a very short indie career, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, now known as brothers, Brett and Brian Majors, joined WWE’s developmental territory Deep South Wrestling. They wrestled their first match for the promotion in April 2006 and just six months later, won the DSW Tag Team Championship, in their first attempt. The two successfully defended the titles several times before losing them a month later. Adding one more title reign to their resumes, the Major Brothers finished up with DSW and were moved to Ohio Valley Wrestling in May 2007.

In June of that year, they received their first OVW Southern Tag Team Championship match and won, but only by DQ so they failed to capture the titles against Ox and Hammer (Charles Evans and Justice LaRoche). The Major Brothers and Ox and Hammer continued to feud for a few weeks of OVW TV. In their third match, the Majors captured the titles for the first time and held them long.

In the midst of their time in OVW, the Major Brothers also worked the RAW and SmackDown house show circuit as well as dark matches for Heat and SmackDown. In May 2007, they made their televised main roster debut on an episode of ECW, defeating the team of Marcus Cor Von and Matt Striker. They made their televised debut for SmackDown in July after being drafted to the blue brand a month prior, and received their first title opportunity working a house show program with then champs, Deuce and Domino. In November, after winning a tag team #1 contender’s battle royale, they got their first TV title match, losing to Matt Hardy and MVP in what amounted to a squash.While the Major Brothers continued to appear on Smackdown periodically for the rest of the year, it was in December 2007 that the team got their first big break.

At Armageddon, Edge wrestled in a triple threat match with the Undertaker and Batista for the Animal’s World Heavyweight Championship. But he wasn’t alone. In addition to having the support of his beloved Vickie Guerrero, Edge was aided by the Major Brothers, who were both dressed as Edge and served as diversions. Thanks to the fake Edges, the real Edge was able to take advantage of the situation, ultimately pinning Batista to win his third world title in WWE (then two-time WWE Heavyweight Champion) and first World Heavyweight Championship.

The following week on SmackDown, Guerrero introduced the re-packaged Brett and Brian Majors as Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, the Edgeheads.┬áThe two even took part in a world title match that night, aligning with Edge as Batista defeated him by DQ. Now heels, Ryder and Hawkins began dressing like Edge, acting like Edge, even posing like Edge. And most importantly, they interfered on Edge’s behalf to help him retain his world title and win several more. In joining Edge and Guerrero as well as Chavo Guerrero, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder began part of the La Familia stable, even referring to Edge as “Uncle Edge.”

While their primary objective as Edge’s proteges was to help him win and retain titles, the two did find some success on their own. Aside from occasionally teaming with Edge and Chavo in handicap matches set up by biased SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero (including a four on two victory over Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair), in July 2008, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder received another chance at WWE tag gold. This time, the duo was victorious defeating Festus and Jesse, John Morrison and the Miz, and Finlay and Hornswoggle to win the titles in a fatal-four-way.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, who had become the youngest tag team champions in WWE history at age 23, held the belts for about two months, defending against Festus and Jesse and Miz and Morrison before losing the belts to Carlito and Primo. All the while, the two continued to interfere on Edge’s behalf, even doing so at WrestleMania XXIV, albeit unsuccessfully, against the Undertaker in the midst of his undefeated streak (16-0 after the match). Nevertheless, Hawkins and Ryder made their presence known much as they did for the year-plus run they spent as Edge’s lackeys.

In 2011, after a three-year absence and both moving on to singles careers, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder reunited but it was just for a match. It was thought that when Hawkins returned to WWE in 2016, that he and Ryder’s then-tag team partner Mojo Rawley, might feud over Ryder but that never came to pass and it wasn’t until a exclusive segment that Hawkins and Ryder had their next reunion, reciting Edge’s theme song lyrics alongside the man himself. With Hawkins “facing the facts” on Raw and Ryder “woo-woo’ing” on SmackDown, the two wouldn’t cross paths again on screen until November 2018 on an episode of WWE Main Event where they wrestled their first match as a team in seven years, losing to Apollo Crews and Tyler Breeze thus continuing what has become an epic losing streak for Hawkins.

Off screen, however, the two friends started their own podcast to talk about one of their favorite hobbies, collecting wrestling toys. Called “The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast,” the two members of Mattel’s “Elite Squad,” talk the latest news, upcoming releases, toy history, vintage collecting and pretty much anything else that has to do with action figures.

Neither Curt Hawkins or Zack Ryder really ascended to the kind of singles success one might have hoped for Edge’s proteges. Their best years were the ones they spent as a tag team and on Monday night, the duo came one step closer to reuniting. If that’s the case, Raw’s tag team division is set to get a needed boost and both Hawkins and Ryder could be set for a fresh outlook as well. Could this be the pairing that leads to Hawkins’ breaking his oh-and-forever losing streak? It certainly seems like the time is right and as far as payoff goes, him getting that win, perhaps in a tag team title match, alongside his best friend and tag partner, is a pretty satisfying end to the story.

No matter the outcome, fun and entertainment will certainly be in store if Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder bring back the Edgeheads or as they might as well be known now, the Figure-heads.


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