WrestleMania 6 in the Toronto Skydome – April 1, 1990. A rabid Canadian crowd roared their approval for the main event of Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior. As the match and angle played out, the crowd were held in raptures. One in particular, a young man, was so enthralled that he swore he too would walk that aisle and take his place in the ring at WrestleMania one day.
That young man was Adam Copeland. 18 years later, at WrestleMania 24 – Adam Copeland, now known as Edge, fulfilled that dream.
That wouldn’t be the only dream that the man called Edge would live out. He announced his premature retirement on Monday’s Raw, a body ravaged by injuries from a near 20 year career (13 of them in the WWE) was no longer able to withstand the demands of an active wrestling schedule. He retires one of the most decorated competitors – we’d better not say wrestler in case Vince gets upset – in WWE history. Since winning his first Intercontinental title in 1999 at a Toronto house show, he’s gone on to hold a total of 31 championships, including 11 World Championships, 5 Intercontinental titles, and 14 Tag team titles.
He’s one of only two men to have held every active WWE title; he was the first man to win the Money In The Bank match, and to this day is the only man to be a Money In The Bank winner, King of The Ring, and Royal Rumble winner. It’s safe to say Edge has had a career that far exceeded his expectations. Along the way, he’s been part of a generation that redefined ladder matches – with his tag team partner and life long friend Christan, he engaged in some unholy wars in the ring with The Hardys and The Dudleys that set the bar so high, it may never be passed.
His career hasn’t been all highs; he broke his neck in 2003, the injury that is at the heart of this retiral. There was the infamous love triangle with him, Matt Hardy and Lita that lit the wrestling world on fire in 2005 and threatened to overshadow his in ring achievements. In 2007, he was linked to a steroid and HGH scandal that surrounded the WWE and several of their roster. However, the highs and the memories far outweigh the lows.
Out of the ring, his promo style was effortless, and along with Christian, he provided some of the funniest moments in WWE history. From the 5 second pose for the benefit of those with flash photography, to Team ECK, even to the one word “SI!” answers he provided on commentary as one of Los Conquistadors, he more than held his own with the greatest talkers the WWE had to offer.
In the ring, his hard hitting style, and fluid movement in the ring endeared him to fans. Whether or not he was the good guy or the bad guy that he were dying to cheer for, the one thing Edge did was hold your attention. His list of opponents and tag team partners reads like a who’s who of the wrestling world – Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Triple H, Ric Flair, Eddie Guerrero, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and more – Edge has been in the ring with them all, and claimed more than his fair share of victories.
It’s often the case that you don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone. In Edge’s case, it’s fair to say for the past year, he’s been coasting along without hitting the heights he reached in the mid 2000’s – but it’s hard to imagine a WWE landscape without him. For all his achievements, and victories in the ring, the one foe he couldn’t overcome was his own body.
I’m sure all wrestling fans the world over will join me in wishing Edge a happy and healthy retirement.