|The WWE family celebrates Edge in September 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
What started off as a kid sitting watching WrestleMania 6 in Toronto, dreaming that he could one day throw elbow smashes and bounce off ropes, turned into so much more.
The kid, Adam Copeland, became Edge the WWE superstar. And that kid, from small town Orangeville, north of Toronto became a champion. Saturday night, he will join the most legendary of legends in WWE's Hall of Fame.
"Finding out (I was going into the Hall of Fame) was really surreal," said Copeland. "I'm not going to lie. I had big reservations. It was: 'This year? Really? Why not next year or five years from now? Is it too soon?' Then I started getting texts from guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. They were the first. And if these guys were OK with it, then I had no problem with it. Looking back at where I have been ... This is so awesome."
Copeland was forced to retire when doctors diagnosed him with cervical spinal stenosis.
"Having doctors make the decision for me actually made it easier," he said. "I didn't have to hem and haw over it, I didn't have to stew about it. Thankfully I was already emotionally and mentally preparing for it. I wanted to make it to the top and I made it to the top. All that I did, it was selfish, but I needed to get there to make it work.
"I grew up in front of people. And yes, I was emotional when I was forced to retire. I never became my character. I was always able to say: 'I'm Adam and I'm playing the character of Edge.' I was never going to be 55 and still wearing trench coats, trying to be a rock star. It can be hard playing a character for 20 years that that character doesn't become you. It didn't for me. I can't imagine Johnny Depp walks down the street and has people saying: 'Hey, Jack Sparrow ... What's going on?' "
With spare time on his hands, he has found time to do things like hiking his dogs and mountain biking ... And he's getting out his rock and roll ya-yas.
"I've seen Pearl Jam a bunch of times ... Foo Fighters too ... The first time I met Dave Grohl, I thought: 'That's the way I have to be.' And I have the time so I can do things like fly out to see Eddie Vedder in April."
Does he have that inner rock star?
"I think it's in there, but first and foremost, I did what I was supposed to do and that was to be a wrestler," he said. "I have dexterity enough to throw a punch, but I don't have the dexterity to be a musician."
Copeland is excited by and looking forward to The Rock vs. John Cena main event at WrestleMania.
"The fact that they've been able to have a year buildup is unheard of," he said. "It's almost impossible. You look at Savage vs. Steamboat, Andre vs. Hogan ... How do you keep these guys apart for that long. Luckily, with Rock's schedule, it wasn't difficult.
"As a fan, I'm loving it. I've been watching Triple H and Undertaker and Rock and Cena. Would it be fun to be in their shoes? Sure. But I will sit up in a box with my family and enjoy the show. There will be no pressure, no dangerous bumps and no mid-air spears from Jeff Hardy. Sure there will be moments that I wish I was in there. I'm sure it was the same with Brett Favre and John Elway where they were watching football and thinking: 'I wish I had made that play.' "
Copeland is also excited about a new DVD on him (You Think You Know Me: The Story of Edge) which will be released soon.
"I'm in an amazing, amazing place. For me to have college buddies and guys that I trained with ... To see them in a WWE DVD is cool for me. And I'm not going to lie, you want to hear what other guys say about you."
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Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.email@example.com.