April 26, 2005
REAL NAME: Adam Copeland
BORN: October 30, 1973 in Orangeville, Ontario
6'4", 235 pounds
ALIASES/NICKNAMES: Edge, Sexton Hardcastle, Adam Impact
Adam Copeland's transformation into WWE superstar and possible future World Champion is one of the more "feel-good" stories in the industry, as he certainly paid his dues on the way to stardom.
Copeland grew up a life-long wrestling fan who was in attendance at the Skydome for 1990's Wrestlemania VI. A former radio broadcasting student at Humber College, Copeland won a Toronto Sun essay contest to train at at Sully's Gym in Toronto with Ron Hutchison and Sweet Daddy Siki. Other grads he trained with included Johnny Swinger, Joe E. Legend, Zakk Wylde and long-time friend Jay Reso, later known as Christian Cage or simply Christian. Copeland's in-ring debut came in a tag match when he teamed with the El Fuego Kid against Legend and Wylde.
His most frequent tag team partner, however, was Cage. With Copeland wrestling as Sexton Hardcastle, the pair became known as the Suicide Blondz. By the summer of 1997, the pair were wrestling in Emile Dupre's Atlantic Grand Priz promotion and fueding with the Super Models (Rick Martel and the Jackyl - Cyrus in ECW). Also wrestling in singles matches, Edge worked against Bad News Brown. That December, the team of Copeland and Cage would win the ICW Streetfight Tagteam titles.
After an independent show in Pickering, Ontario, Copeland was approached by WWE Canada head Carl De Marco to work a WWE show in Hamilton, Ontario. By early 1998, he was already a WWF vet, as an 'enhancement' wrestler for Canadian shows under the Sexton Hardcastle, and Adam Copeland monikers. His wrestling travels had taken him across Canada and to various spot shows in the U.S.
After participating in the WWF training camp run by Tom Pritchard and Dory Funk Jr., Copeland was given the Edge character.
"Five years from now, I'd like to sign another five-year contract," Copeland told the Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines in an interview held just after signing with the WWE, stating that he liked the character he's been given by WWE owner/choreographer Vince McMahon.
"I'm still this mysterious guy in the rafters running in and popping people," Copeland told the Ottawa Sun.
After weeks of vignettes, Edge debuted on Raw on June 22nd, 1998, against Jose Estrada, Jr. He was quick to earn the attention of WWE officials. Jim Cornette said "This Canadian boy will likely make history." Vince Russo, then a writer for WWE Magazine, said Copeland will be "The next Ric Flair". Jim Ross stated on his hotline that Copeland will one day be World Champion.
After his debut, Edge feuded with Gangrel, who quickly enlisted the help of Christian (Cage), who was brought in as Edge's estranged brother. However, the fued between the two brothers didn't last, as Edge joined Gangrel's "Brood", fueding with Al Snow and the J.O.B. Squad. In early 1999, the Brood joined up with the Undertaker's Ministry, only to break away again.
Gangrel would lead the Brood into battle against the Hardy Boyz over who was the rightful number one contender to the WWE Tagteam titles. However, during one Hardyz-Brood match, Gangrel accidentally hit Edge leading to the Hardyz winning the match. It was that seed of discontent that would eventually lead to Edge and Christian dumping Gangrel as their manager.
In July, 1999, Edge (a last minute substitute for Ken Shamrock) defeated Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title in what was a shocking last minute decision at a Toronto house show, the night before Fully Loaded, in which Jarrett regained the title with the help of a still upset Gangrel.
While still competing for the WWE Tagteam titles, Edge and Christian also battled the Hardy Boyz in the Terry Runnels Invitation Tournament. Silly name aside, the tournament would culminate in a ladder match at No Mercy '99. The two teams came of age in that match, which is still regarded as one of the best matches of all time.
At Wrestlemania 2000, the team of Edge and Christian began a long run at the top of the WWE Tagteam standings with a win over the Hardy Boyz and the Dudleyz in a TLC match. After Wrestlemania, Edge and Christian began to turn heel but did so in a very comedic fashion. They began to earn heat from crowds by dressing in outlandish outfits and instituted the "five second pose". They also began to hang around fellow heel, Kurt Angle.
After losing the titles to Too Cool, Edge and Christian regained the titles at King of the Ring 2000 in a Fatal Fourway match involving Too Cool, Test and Albert and the Hardyz. SummerSlam 2000 saw Edge and Christian come out on top in another TLC Match against the Dudleyz and Hardyz to retain the titles.
After losing the titles to the Hardy Boyz at Unforgiven 2000, Edge and Christian resorted to resurrecting the Conquistadors gimmick and competing under masks as a way to psyche-out the Hardy Boyz. The trick worked as the "Conquistadors" won the Tagteam titles from the Hardyz at No Mercy. Unfortunately, the trick backfired, as the Hardys showed up the next night on Raw dressed as the Conquistadors and regained the tag titles.
At Armageddon 2000, Edge and Christian would regain the Tag titles but this time from the Dudley Boyz, leading to a feud between those two teams that would continue into 2001. With the help of Rhyno, Edge and Christian would overcome the Dudleyz and the Hardyz to regain the titles in another TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7.
After years in tagteam action, Edge began to come into his own as 2001 progressed. On June 25th, 2001 Edge defeated Kurt Angle in the finals of the King of the Ring Tournament. Then, Edge defeated Lance Storm at SummerSlam 2001 to win the Intercontinental Championship.
Meanwhile, the chism between Edge and Christian, rumoured for weeks, finally took place in the fall of 2001. After Edge's title defence against Storm, Christian attacked his "brother" with a chair. Christian would defeat his former tag partner for the I-C title only to have Edge regain the belt in a ladder match at No Mercy 2001.
On November 12th , a week after losing the Intercontinental title to Test, Edge defeated another former friend, Kurt Angle to win the U.S. title. Edge went on to defeat Test to unify the U.S. and Intercontinental titles at Survivor Series 2001.
After fueding with William Regal (and losing the Intercontinental title to him), Edge found himself on the receiving end of a challenge from Booker T due to Booker's jealousy over Edge getting a part in a Japanese shampoo commercial. At Wrestlemania X-8, Edge got the victory.
After being drafted by Vince McMahon to the Smackdown roster, Edge would find that his hair would also lead to a fued with Kurt Angle, culminating in a hair-vs.-hair match that left Edge victorious and Angle bald.
In July 2002, Edge teamed with Hulk Hogan to capture the first of two WWE Tagteam titles on Smackdown. Edge's second reign would come in November when he teamed with Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Sometime in January 2003, Edge suffered a neck injury but wrestled for almost two months before he noticed anything was wrong. In March 2003, he underwent surgery.
Nearly a year after his surgery, Edge finally made his return to WWE Television, spearing Eric Bischoff to certainly make an impact on Raw. After a short program with Kane, on April 19th, Edge would team with Chris Benoit to win yet another World Tagteam title.
But tag action wasn't enough for Edge and in July 2004 at Vengeance, ending Randy Orton's lengthy title reign. After getting by Chris Jericho and Batista (and being on the verge of turning heel) at SummerSlam, Edge was stripped of the Intercontinental title due to an injury. The injury wasn't serious and Edge returned within weeks. Angered at not being voted into a title shot against Triple H at Taboo Tuesday, Edge began to become obsessed with getting a shot at the World Title.
On the November 29th edition of Raw, after being a co-winner (along with Chris Benoit) of a battle royale to determine the #1 contender, Edge seemingly won the WWE World Championship when he defeated Benoit and Triple H in a triple threat match. However, Benoit also made a case that he had made Edge tap out at the same moment that Edge pinned him, and thus the title was held up, pending an Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution, set for January 9th.
Edge would come up short in that Elimination Chamber match (Triple H walked out with the title). During the bout, Edge speared special referee Shawn Michaels who retaliated with a superkick that took Edge out of the match. The two men would continue to battle throughout the early part of 2005, including a bout that Edge won at the Royal Rumble.
Edge's next major victory would come at Wrestlemania XXI at the Money In the Bank Ladder Match, guaranteeing him a title shot at any time he chose during the next year. Edge would also win himself a World title match when he defeated Kane in the finals of Raw's Gold Rush tournament, with some suprise help from Lita.
Undeterred by the loss, Edge and Lita turned their attention to taunting Kane, flaunting their relationship and boasting that they would get married. During their ceremony, however, Kane emerged from under the ring and chased Edge and Lita away.
Although Kane continued to chase Edge (the two recently engaged in a bloody cage match on Raw), there is another thorn in Edge's side: Matt Hardy. With the line between real life and in-ring action blurring, Hardy made several run-ins from the crowd, promising to make the lives of both Edge and Lita "a living hell".
Edge and Hardy finally met at SummerSlam with Edge getting the better of the excahnge, defeating Hardy when the match was stopped for blood. Matt and Edge met again a week later on Raw, and both men flew off the stage and into some electrical equipment. Matt won the rematch at Unforgiven in a cage match but Edge banished Hardy from Raw when he won a "Money in the Bank/Loser Leaves Raw" ladder match at WWE Homecoming.
After JBL's music cost him a match against Big Show, Edge and Chris Masters invaded Smackdown, setting up a Raw vs. Smackdown match at Taboo Tuesday. Ironically, on the night of the match, Edge was on the sidelines with a torn pectoral muscle.
The next night, Bischoff sent him to Smackdown to battle Batista in a match that was little more than a ruse to allow Kane and the Big Show to attack Batista.
While Edge recovered from his injury, he and Lita hosted the Cutting Edge as a way to play mind games with Ric Flair, a feud which culminated at New Year's Revolution. Flair won the match but Edge cared little. For that was the night he finally called in his "Money in the Bank title shot, immediately after John Cena had survived the Elimination Chamber match.
Edge defeated Cena and finally won the WWE Championship, then delivered on a "live sex celebration" the next night on Raw, which was interrupted by both Flair and Cena. Edge's celebration and title reign would be short-lived as Cena regained the title at the Royal Rumble.
Edge earned the ire of Hardcore Legend Mick Foley after Edge attacked Foley when the latter refereed one of his rematches against Cena. Edge believed that Foley's officiating was suspect and attacked him after the match.
Edge and Foley continued to feud, engaging in a thrilling hardcore match at Wrestlemania 22.
Meanwhile, Edge would remain in the WWE title hunt, eventually winning the Championship on July 3, 2006 in a Triple Threat match from Rob Van Dam and John Cena. Cena would vow revenge and defeated Edge by disqualification on Saturday Night's Main Event. The two clashed again at SummerSlam, with Edge retaining the title. They continued feuding up to Unforgiven, where Cena won back the WWE belt in a Tables-Ladders-Chairs match.
Soon thereafter, Edge formed an alliance with Randy Orton to form Rated RKO and start a feud with Degeneration-X. Ric Flair also got dragged into the feud, and RKO would beat Flair and Roddy Piper to win the World Tag Team titles.
After Team DX swept Team RKO at Survivor Series in what was essentially a squash, RKO took their revenge on Flair, bloodying him on RAW. The feud, however, didn’t develop much further as Triple H suffered a serious quad injury at New Year’s Revolution, leaving Michaels alone to fight the duo.
But Cena would soon tag up with Shawn Michaels, and the two of them would take the belts from Rated RKO.
Most of Edge’s following matches would be singles competitions. He’d defeat Rob Van Dam on RAW to win a Money in the Bank Qualifying match, but also suffered a fractured jaw in the contest. His schedule would be significantly lighter until WrestleMania 23, where he lost in an eight-man MITB match that Mr. Kennedy won.
Legitimate injuries to his peers would help put the belt back around Edge’s waist. As a result of a massive hematoma to Kennedy, Edge would get back the MITB brief case (via a quick match), and cash it in at the end of a steel cage match between Batista and Undertaker (who also would need time off to recuperate from a legit arm injury) to win the World Heavyweight Title.
With Edge now primarily on SmackDown!, Batista would chase after him for the belt, but Edge would retain at Judgment Day, One Night Stand and Vengeance, the latter representing Batista’s last chance to face Edge for the title.
Edge would start a feud with Kane, but that ended prematurely when Edge had to forfeit the belt because of a torn pectoral muscle. Surgery and a 30-day Wellness Policy-related suspension would keep Edge shelved for five months.
He returned to sabotage Undertaker’s Hell in a Cell match against Batista at Survivor Series. At Armageddon, Edge would beat Batista and Undertaker, with the help of two look-alikes (The Major Brothers) in a Triple Threat contest to once again walk away with the World Heavyweight Championship.
From this point on, viewers would need a road map to follow the complex soap operatic twists and turns of Edge's storyline, which revolved around him getting together, breaking up and reuniting with Eddie Guerrero's widow Vickie, as well as playing hot potato with the WWE's two heavyweight belts.
Edge, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder (formerly the Major Brothers), Chavo and Vickie Guerrero (and later Bam Neely) would be packaged as "La Familia" and run amok on SmackDown. After practicing their dirty deeds first on Rey Mysterio,the gang chose the Undertaker as their primary victim. Edge promised to end 'Taker's WrestleMania streak, and softened him up before the annual extravaganza, but Undertaker would get his revenge and take Edge's belt at WM24. (This also marked Edge's first singles loss at WrestleMania.) Edge would try to regain the title, but Undertaker submitted him at Backlash to retain his belt.
A few days later on SmackDown, though, Vickie would claim the submission hold Undertaker used to win was illegal and stripped him of the championship. Edge and 'Taker met for the vacant title at Judgment Day, but neither left with the belt for Undertaker defeated Edge by count-out. Edge would get back his gold by beating Undertaker in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs contest at One Night Stand. (The win supposedly banished Undertaker from the WWE forever.)
Edge, however, again lost the title, this time about a month after winning it. On Raw, Batista avenged his controversial loss against Edge at Night of Champions by hitting the ring and knocking Edge senseless. CM Punk ran to the ring with a ref in tow to cash in his Money in the Bank, hit his Go To Sleep finisher, and beat Edge for his belt by pinfall.
It's around this time that Edge's on-screen romance with Vickie took a real turn for the weird. Edge first cancelled their wedding, they reunited and got married, and then at their reception, Triple H revealed Edge had kissed the wedding planner Alicia Fox. The story would overshadow Edge's title match against Triple H at Great American Bash, as Fox and Guerrero had a cat fight in the ring and Edge accidentally speared his "wife." On the following SmackDown, Vickie revealed she has reinstated the Undertaker and that he and Edge would meet at SummerSlam in a Hell in the Cell match. Edge, obviously desperate, consulted his old nemesis Mick Foley on what to do. Foley told him only the old Edge could help him now. Edge agreed, beat the crap out of Foley, and from there, went on a lunacy tear.
A week later, Edge took out everyone in La Familia, including Vickie, as he told her he'd take her to Hell with him. At SummerSlam, Undertaker smashed a video camera over Edge's head, Con-Chair-To'd him, and Tombstoned him for a pinfall victory. After the win, Undertaker chokeslammed Edge from atop two ladders, which drove him through the ring. Flames shot out from the gaping hole left behind, as Edge apparently really did get sent to Hell.
Nearly three months passed before Edge returned to action, and he thereby slightly beat out the average time it takes to escape from Hell and journey back to Earth. Guerrero, (now apparently back on good terms with the husband she helped send to Hades), replaced Jeff Hardy with Edge in a three-way championship match at Survivor Series, and Edge managed to beat Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov to win the WWE Championship. But less than a month later, he lost his title yet again, as Hardy won in another three-way, beating Edge and Triple H at Armageddon.
Don't be shocked to hear Hardy's reign was short-lived, for the musical titles continued to switch waists. Edge met Hardy at the next pay-per-view, Royal Rumble, and with surprise help from Jeff's brother Matt, took back the WWE title. Just in case the belts weren't switching enough, WWE had another twist for fans. At No Way Out, Edge lost the WWE Championship in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match, but then stole Kofi Kingston's spot in the Raw Elimination Chamber match, and managed to come away with the World Heavyweight title. Got all that?
The situation settled down after all that, but not much. First Cena wanted a rematch, but Edge wanted no part of it. Guerrero seemed to be on the same page, declaring Big Show to be the number one contender. Edge, for obvious reasons, wasn't overly pleased with her choice of a giant instead of a bodybuilder. Cena, refusing to be left out of the picture, managed to blackmail Guerrero into making the match a triple threat one that included him. Edge, stunned, demanded to know why. Cena, happy to oblige, and with nothing to lose after signing the contract, showed footage that revealed Guerrero had been having a secret affair with Big Show. And we're off to Houston and WrestleMania!
Edge's worst fears came true at WrestleMania 25, as, despite help from Vickie and Chavo Guerrero, he came out on the losing end when Cena pinned Big Show to regain his title. Edge, however, regained the title at Backlash, thanks in large part to the assistance of Big Show, who choke-slammed Cena off the stage and into a spotlight.
The Rated R Superstar then went on to mix it up with Jeff Hardy and CM Punk. The latter came close to taking the title on three occasions, but was denied when Umaga attacked and prevented him from cashing in his Money in the Bank title shot. Hardy missed his opportunity to win the belt when his brother interfered in his match against Edge at Judgment Day, but was able to beat Edge at Extreme Rules in a ladder match. (The reign lasted mere moments, though, as Punk came down to cash in his contract and defeated Hardy to win the World Heavyweight Championship.)
-- Compiled (in part) by Richard Kamchen