How many wrestlers can claim to be a Grand Slam Champion, Royal Rumble winner, King of the Ring, and Money in the Bank winner? The answer is: not many. In fact, Edge was the first pro wrestler to achieve this monumental feat, as he wrote his name in WWE’s history books several times over.
Born Adam Copeland in Ontario, Canada, Edge is widely regarded as one of WWE’s greatest performers of all time. Whether it was his individual success where he cleaned up capturing all the gold in the company, or his legendary tag matches alongside his real-life best friend Christian, he never failed to deliver iconic performances that had the crowd on their feet.
While his achievements are all there for everyone to see and appreciate — either through YouTube highlights or watching his old matches on the WWE Network — it’s equally important to find out more about the man behind the Rated-R Superstar façade. His entrance theme always began with "you think you know me." Well, there might be a thing or two you might not know. Here are the facts that every fan should know about Edge.
Edge originally wanted to retire at 40
When Edge walked out on "Monday Night Raw" and retired in April 2011, it shocked the world of pro wrestling. He was the World Heavyweight Champion at the time and at the high point of his run as one of the top superstars in WWE. Unfortunately, his neck injuries caught up with him and resulted in him ringing the bell on his career at the age of 37. While there are many performers who have called time on in-ring action much earlier than that, the irony for Edge is that he had plans to retire not too long after he actually did.
"My original [goal for retirement] age was 40 and I screwed that up," Edge told Bleacher Report. "I had to retire at 37, so I feel like I didn’t get those last three years of stuff I wanted to do." The Rated-R Superstar explained how he felt he was approaching the period in his career where he could assist and elevate the next generation of talent. This is one of the reasons his comeback mattered so much to him, as he was now able to fulfill his initial goal of passing the torch and imparting invaluable knowledge of the business onto others.
Edge once wrestled in a barn
The life of a professional wrestler isn’t always glamorous or lived in front of the eyes of millions. There are times when they won’t be performing for a 30,000-strong crowd, or tearing down the house in a small arena. In some instances, they might need to take the action to a high school gym or even a shopping mall. Well, Edge takes the cake in terms of the strangest places that he’s wrestled in his career.
"I wrestled in a barn in Tennessee in front of six people that sat on bales of hay," Edge revealed to IGN. "That was probably my lowest point, where I was like ‘What the hell am I doing?’" He added that Christian was with him at the time and they were even responsible for setting up the ring for the event. The worst part, though? The promoter didn’t pay them for the show. That being said, Edge said moments like these toughened him up and made him appreciate what came later when he signed with WWE and became a world-renowned superstar.
Vince McMahon played an epic prank on Edge
The wrestling industry is filled with jokers. There are many performers who love nothing more than to rib their fellow wrestlers with pranks and other tomfoolery to pass the time until the big show. Well, it appears as if Vince McMahon enjoyed a good chuckle as well, since he pulled a fast one on Edge, as revealed by Kurt Angle on "Inside The Ropes."
Angle explained how McMahon informed him that the Olympic gold medalist’s hair was receding badly and he would be losing it in a hair versus hair match against Edge at Judgment Day. However, McMahon told Angle to not tell Edge about the finish, because he would be telling the Rated-R Superstar that he’d be losing his long locks as a prank. "He pulls Edge into the office while I’m in there," Angle said. "And he said, ‘Okay, Edge, we’re gonna have at Judgment Day, we’re gonna have a hair versus hair match. You versus Angle, and I want Angle to go over by tap-out and he’s going to shave your head.’" Angle revealed that Edge’s face dropped, and he started saying that he didn’t think he’d look good bald, but McMahon was unrepentant. To make matters worse, they strung poor Edge along right until the pay-per-view where Angle revealed to him it was all a rib.
Edge’s first two loves were music and comics
There’s no disputing Edge’s undying love for wrestling. He has gone on record many times to discuss his passion for the business and the need to scratch the itch even when he was away from the industry. One only needs to look at the fact he was ready to put his body on the line again and come back after his first retirement as testament to this. Yet, as he revealed to IGN, his two first loves were heavy metal and comic books.
"I think it was pretty obvious from the get-go that with those as my main interests I was going to fall into something like this," Edge said. "Yeah, it was Kiss and comic books. I loved Spidey, Incredible Hulk, and Thor … Those were my guys." He added that when he saw pro wrestling for the first time, especially Hulk Hogan, he realized these performers were essentially presented as real-life superheroes, so naturally he gravitated toward sports entertainment and his interest in becoming a pro wrestler burgeoned from there.
WWE wanted him to be a part of the creative team
Edge’s return to the ring hasn’t been without its challenges. While the fans have welcomed him back as if he had never gone away, he has suffered a few injuries since he stepped back into the ring at the 2020 Royal Rumble. However, WWE has tried to find a way to use him even when he has been out of action.
Appearing on "Busted Open Radio" (via Wrestling News), Edge revealed the offer he had to be a part of the creative brain trust of the company. "When I was down when I tore my tricep, initially they wanted me to be on the creative team," he said. "I tried it for like three weeks and I felt like if I’m a talent, I shouldn’t be in there. You know, I didn’t want to ostracize myself and it didn’t feel right."
While Edge didn’t feel the spirit of Hulkamania burning in his veins nor encouraging him to book his bros (and himself) to be the main event talent for the next 100 years, he found a different way to make himself useful. He offered to help talent with their promo skills and to find ways of tweaking and bettering what they were already doing.
The life-changing advice Bret Hart gave him
It’s a widely-held belief in the wrestling industry that Bret "The Hitman" Hart is one of the greatest — if not the greatest — of all time. Everyone believes it, except for Road Dogg, who has made controversial comments on considering himself a better sports entertainer. As a good Canadian kid, it should come as no surprise that Edge holds the Excellence of Execution in the highest regard. However, their paths crossed early on in the Rated-R Superstar’s career in the most unexpected of places.
In 1992, Hart appeared on "The Dini Petty Show," and in the audience was a young Edge, who took the opportunity to ask The Hitman for some professional advice.
Years later, in an interview with Fox News, Edge admitted how Hart’s words meant the world to him. "It was massive because he was WWF champion at that point," he said. "It was huge. And I considered him the best in the world, so for me to get that encouragement and also understanding that he couldn’t give me the answers to the test because there weren’t any answers, and there aren’t really any answers."
Edge has a decent-sized filmography
Ever since Hulk Hogan crossed the great divide between pro wrestling and Hollywood, other superstars have followed in his footsteps. The likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dave Batista, and John Cena have tasted the most success in Tinseltown, as they have successfully transitioned from being in-ring performers to bona fide A-listers. Edge has also dipped his toes in the entertainment industry, with more IMDb credits than most fans might imagine.
Under his real name Adam Copeland, he has appeared as Al Rothstein (Atom-Smasher) in "The Flash" TV series. Additionally, he has had significant roles as Kjetill Flatnose in "Vikings," Dwight Hendrickson in "Haven," and Ares in "Percy Jackson and the Olympians."
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Edge explained how WWE is the best kind of training for the entertainment industry. "WWE is live and you have a live microphone with time to fill," he said. "There are no real time cues, you have eight cameras on you, and you have to keep track of which camera is hot while still interacting with the audience. If you flub a line or lose track of what you’re saying, the crowd is going to jump on you quickly."
Alter Bridge believes Edge helped them gain a wider fan base
Ever since his debut, Edge has had memorable WWE theme songs. At one point, he even boasted Rob Zombie’s groovin’ ghoulish number "Never Gonna Stop" as his entrance music. However, most fans know him for walking through the curtain to Alter Bridge’s "Metalingus," which is undoubtedly one of the greatest entrance themes in pro wrestling. While Alter Bridge is recognized as a huge rock act today, the band struggled to shake off the shackles of being known as Creed Version 2.0 when it rose from the ashes of its previous incarnation.
From the band’s perspective, they credit Edge for helping to get them over with a new audience and widening their fan base. Speaking on the "Drinks with Johnny" podcast (via Ultimate Guitar), Alter Bridge lead singer Myles Kennedy said, "We go somewhere, and someone comes up and is like, ‘I had no idea who you were, but I love that entrance music. I discovered the band after that.’ That’s been great for us. I mean, we really are appreciative of that."
"Metalingus" wouldn’t be the only song from Alter Bridge that Edge would use, though, as he also rocked out to "The Other Side" during his time with The Judgment Day.
The influences that shaped the Edge character
Before Jon Moxley walked out through the crowd to the ring, Edge was doing the same in the late ’90s. However, not much was known about the performer coming out from the shadows, as he came across as enigmatic and — pardon the pun — brooding. There was a certain mystery and intrigue surrounding this long-haired wrestler wearing the coolest shades and a fashionable trench coat. In many ways, he seemed like the perfect rock star from the ’90s, which is exactly the angle Edge was going for when shaping his character.
Chatting to Revolver, Edge unpacked the various influences he tapped into while formulating his wrestling persona. "Heavy metal and rock music was the bedrock for Edge — it’s where it all came from," he said. "Everything about creating that character in the beginning, metal was such a huge part of what I wanted to convey. There was a little bit of a Type O Negative vibe, some Nine Inch Nails in there. And then there was also ‘Blade’ in there, and ‘The Lost Boys.’"
Edge loves being a heel
It’s fun to be the bad guy. Every actor gloats about the time when they were able to be the villain in the story and really get to show off their acting chops. It’s also one of the reasons most actors gravitate toward playing someone like the Joker rather than Batman. In pro wrestling, it’s relatively the same. A perfect example is someone like Roman Reigns, who has truly sparkled as a heel rather than as the white meat babyface he was before.
Edge embraced the dark side, too, as he told Kurt Angle on "The Kurt Angle Show" (via Essentially Sports) that he had one goal during his legendary heel run: to be considered "the Joker to John Cena’s Batman." The Rated-R Superstar explained how he wanted everyone in the arena to hate him when he was in the ring. He refused to present himself as an antihero or to display any qualities the audience might like, as he wanted to establish himself as the ultimate bad guy on television.
FTR helped Edge get ring-ready for his comeback
As soon as Edge received the green light for his comeback, he embarked on his new quest: clearing off the ring rust. Now, the only way to do this is to actually get inside the squared circle and to feel the spirit of the pro wrestling gods flow through the veins. Edge had one problem, though: If he was set to make his return in a spectacular fashion, no one could know about it. So it wouldn’t be possible for him to head down to the WWE’s Performance Center or any other ring since people would spot him and start to piece together what was going on.
Fortunately, WWE has deep pockets, so it set Edge up with his own warehouse and ring, so that he could run the ropes again in private at his home in Asheville, North Carolina. Assisting him on a daily basis was his wife and Hall of Famer, Beth Phoenix, but he also received additional help from some wrestling buddies. "The Revival, they both live in Asheville," Edge told ESPN, "so they’d come, and they’d get in there with me, and they’d put me through my paces." At that point in 2020, the tag team of Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler were still under contract with WWE under the name of The Revival. They would leave the company for AEW later that year, but at least they managed to help out Edge before bouncing.
The pinnacle of Edge’s career
Both as a singles star and tag-team specialist, Edge has achieved numerous successes throughout his career. Heck, he could easily have his own list of the top 10 moments that revolutionized the world of pro wrestling without having to think too hard. That being said, there is one highlight that stands out more than the others. Naturally, it involves main-eventing WrestleMania 24 in front of 74,000 people.
"I never got stressed before wrestling matches," Edge revealed to Sports Illustrated. "I always felt completely confident that I had done everything I could do, all my mental preparations when I sat down and envisioned the match, so I never felt stressed. But that is the one that if someone said, ‘What is the pinnacle of your career?’, then it would be main-eventing WrestleMania against The Undertaker."
At the event, Edge and The Deadman wrestled for a little over 24 minutes in a fiery contest for the World Heavyweight Championship. In the end, The Undertaker took the win (and title) after forcing Edge to tap out to his Hell’s Gate submission hold.