I didn’t think it would happen this soon. I didn’t think that the illustrious career of WWE superstar Adam Copeland aka Edge, would end while he was at his peak. But if you have to out, go out on top…and Adam did just that.
In my life, I’ve seen many people retire from their chosen field. Wonderful people that I worked with called it a day and when I asked them “What are you going to do next?” the response was always “Not work here.” It was something we all had to do. Do want your electric to watch your movies and stay cool in the summer? You gotta work. Want to put gas in your car? You gotta work. If you want health care? You have got to work. It is the fabric on which this country was built upon. And, if everything is as it should be, it will be passed down from generation to generation (And not Star Trek: The Next Generation). But, as I’ve seen in the past, when it’s time to call it quits, you want to go out at your best and hopefully on top. And most importantly, you want people who knew you to get a smile when they remember your exploits.
On WWE’s weekly programs, Monday Night Raw and Smackdown, Adam Copeland put many smiles on people’s faces. His wrestling name is Edge. Born on born October 30, 1973 in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, this man grew up watching Stampede Wrestling with his family. He mentioned how he and his best friend, the man they call Christian (William Reso) used to go to every house show when Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant, Junkyard Dog, Wendi Richter , Hulk Hogan, Don “Magnificent” Muraco and the rest would come through. That is when he knew one thing, the same thing that everyone thought when they were kids. The thing you THINK you’re going to do. That’s when he said to himself…“I’m going to be a professional wrestler.”
Twelve years later, this man returned to the Sky Dome as a competitor in WrestleMania X8 (Can’t WAIT until Vince McMahon decides that even WWE is just too damn much) and he was truly in his own element. Royal Rumble Winner. Two-time Money-In-The-Bank Winner. King of the Ring. Fourteenth Triple Crown Winner (Winner of the WWE, World Heavyweight, & World Tag-Team Championships), WWE Tag-Team Champion, United States Heavyweight Champion, Five-Time WWF/E Intercontinental Champion, Four-Time WWE Heavyweight Champion, Twelve-Time World Tag-Team Champion and, the biggest prize of them all, the Twenty-Five Pounds of Gold, a Eleven-Time World Heavyweight Champion, the same championship he recently relinquished. Riding High. Impressive does not even enter the solar system of this man’s accomplishments. He was at the top of the professional wrestling business, and he and many other young turks helped save the WWF/E when they hit hard times after the end of the Monday Night Wars. Tragically, this was almost taken away.
Edge ended up suffering a broken neck and a torn Achilles’ tendon at a house show (Not at the same time mind you). After surgery, he came back triumphantly at the Royal Rumble, eliminating John Cena (Thank God!) to win that event for the first time in his career. He was back on top. He was doing what he loved to do. We sat back and enjoyed every exploit, every spear, every moment of Five Second Poses (For those with the benefit of flash photography), and we marveled at this wrestler.
But as always, the man was a flawed human, just like we all are. I’m not going to drag up dirt sheet material because that makes nothing better. It only allows those whose push that garbage to feel superior to these athletes because they never have the size, or the build, or the heart to make it in that business. Adam did. He not only became a pro wrestler but he came back to the very sport he loved after sitting at home for a year. A YEAR. How many of us would take a year off of our jobs and then go back with gusto (I personally would have moved to Paradise Island and changed my name to Mr. Pango Pango, but, that’s just me)? Adam did. He walked through the locker room as Adam Copeland and came out as Edge. The Rated-R Superstar.
Fan Favorite, Rulebreaker. These were the terms I used back in my day of watching pro wrestling. The other terms were for insiders, and now I really can’t stand the use of those words from internet wrestling sites. But, that’s just me. Edge continued on with his career, won and lost matches, changed from the most hated man in WWF (I HATE WWE) into the most popular. And, while he was doing that, the one thing that never changed?
His passion for the sport that he loved so dearly.
Nothing will ever take that love away from him. But, on MNR, he had to do the one thing that no athlete wants to do. After all the fights, feuds, injuries both minor and severe, being away from home, living on the road, making his mistakes, and learning from them (Becoming a better man), time finally caught up with this finest of wrestlers. Due to numbness in his arms, he sought help from specialists (Paid for by the WWE) ad he got the news. It was over, and he was done as a professional wrestler.
I, like many others, thought this was a set-up for the next storyline. But when I saw him leave the World Heavyweight Championship & Gold Belt in the middle of the ring……my mouth just dropped open. I was speechless. He really left that which he loved. He walked away. But, the most important thing was, he walked away.
One of the finest moments in sports I ever saw was Muhammad Ali defeat Larry Spinks to regain the World Heavyweight Championship. He was picked up by his corner men and, while on their shoulders, blew kisses to the fans. He was back on top, and that is how I still choose to remember him. Nobody likes walking away from something they truly and deeply loved, but when all else is done, and there’s nothing more to prove, you turn off the lights, makes sure everyone’s out, and then you turn around and take one last look. For old time’s sake.
And that is what Adam Copeland did. He turned off the lights, say bye to all his friends, and walked away proud. Proud of what he accomplished. Proud of the hard work and sacrifice it took to realize his dream. And proud that he, over many, many others that tried, became a star…..and left everything he had in that squared circle.
And, for that…….I say thank you, Adam. I say may God Bless and keep you in His warm embrace, Adam. And you finally find the peace and serenity that you had to push aside these last nineteen years. To do what you loved. Be the very best.
Take care now, Edge. We’ll miss you very much.