One year ago today Adam Copeland walked out on WWE RAW and shocked the wrestling world. Without any warning, Edge announced his retirement from pro wrestling. One year later the void left by the Rated R superstar continues to be a hard one to fill.
An unfortunate aspect of being a pro wrestling blogger is that you rarely experience the “surprise” By the time a new wrestler debuts, an angle evolves, or a mystery finish takes place you likely knew about the “shocking” turn of events days or even months prior. The night Edge walked out on RAW to make his big announcement, I don’t think anyone had a clue as to what the former WWE champion was going to say.
“You’re may to have to bear with me here a little bit. I’m probably going to ramble and not make much sense, but please bear with me. Uh. A lot of people think that the WWE doesn’t hurt. Um, that what we do, that maybe it’s done with smnoke and mirrors, and I wish that were true. Anybody in that locker room, anybody that has ever stepped foot in here, laced up a pair of boots. They know that’s not the case.
Uh, which brings me to what I am about to tell you. Eight years ago, I broke my neck. Um, I had spinal fusion surgery which means they move your throat over, they put a plate in there, and screws, and it’s really in depth surgery. But because of that surgery I knew that I was, uh, I was wrestling on borrowed time from that point on. Uh, so fast forward, and uh, the last, the last little while I’ve been in a lot of pain. I uh, I’ve been losing feeling in my arms. Um, so, uhhh, I passed strength tests and all of those things, and I made it through Wrestlemania. But, uh The WWE wanted me to go get more tests. And thankfully I did. Um, because the MRI showed that, that I have to retire. I mean trust me it’s not my choice. The doctors have told me that I got no choice. Uh, they thankfully found out because I’m not gonna be in a wheelchair now. Uh..”
I have always been an Edge fan. Like many, I thought he had potential the second I saw him sitting in the stands with the dark sunglasses on in his very early WWE days. Once he and Christian got their chance to shine with the Hardy brothers, there was no turning back for Copeland.
Personally, I interviewed him twice for my Pro Wrestling Radio show, once in person. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy. We have a few mutual friends that met Copeland through his travels on the independent pro wrestling circuit pre-WWE. 19 years later they were still friends with him which says a lot about his character and the man he was outside of the ring.
Did he have his personal struggles outside of the ring? Sure, he wasn’t perfect but I’ll be honest with you. I could care less about who is sleeping with who outside of the ring. It doesn’t impact me as a fan and I can only imagine the soap operas that never make it outside of the locker room. To that, Copeland’s gossip was arguably the most public of any WWE superstar and unlike some who would crumble under the pressure, he owned it as a man.
As big of a fan as I was of Edge I thought he grew a little stale towards the end. There is just so much turning back and forth that you can do with the same guy. However, I will say that one year later I am finding myself missing his matches, his presence, and his personality in the WWE. To show you how good this man was, the WWE still has yet to find a guy to take his spot as the top dog on SmackDown. They have tried with everyone from Randy Orton to Mark Henry to Daniel Bryan, but none have had the impact that Edge had as the top babyface or heel on the brand.
Retirement is a funny thing in pro wrestling. It is a word that is often said but rarely meant. Even worse, it is usually the guys like Edge who retire early due to injury that wind up coming back to chase that pro wrestling high they missed. Fortunately it looks like Edge is content in post-retirement and happy to revel in his legacy. His hair is shorter, his physique has changed, but he appears to be just as happy if not happier to those that know him personally.
Some say that Edge went into the WWE Hall of Fame too soon. I disagree. When you take a look at some of the names already in the HOF and compare them to Edge, there is no comparison. He is a Hall of Famer and deserves every second of recognition for it.
Congratulations on a happy retirement and a hell of a career!