It has been more than 30 years since Adam Copeland’s first pro wrestling match. Yet, the WWE Hall of Famer known as Edge explains he is still living the dream. One of the most decorated and popular performers in wrestling, Edge remains grateful for all he has achieved, never forgetting each stop on the journey. Edge’s road to superstardom is chronicled in the upcoming Biography WWE: Legends documentary.
“It’s all so surreal,” the 48-year-old said. “I think this one feels like it deals a little less with the wrestling aspect and more of the struggles to actually get to WWE — a little more real life — and what goes into the behind-the-scenes aspect when it comes to the preparation, the ideas, and the creative process.”
Here, Edge reflects on the ups and downs and what motivates him to wrestle today.
How was it for you to open up for this A&E doc?
Edge: More than anything this was a nice capsule that I thought would be great for my girls to see one day. I think that is how I treated it. For them, whenever they are 20 or so, and move through the phase of, “Dad’s not cool at all.” Maybe by that age, they’ll be like, “Let’s see what dad kind of did.”
You talk about your mom and the impact she had on you growing up. It must have been fun to relive those memories that fostered your fandom.
I don’t know if a WWE documentary has gone this in-depth. It’s always fun to revisit that kind of thing, [a time] when you still don’t know Santa isn’t real when it comes to pro wrestling. You just see these larger-than-life characters. You see Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart and the Road Warriors — even seeing clips of Rene Goulet and Tony Parisi. The first live match I ever went to — they found it [for the documentary]. The feeling it gave me that day…it was a magical time to be a fan.
The doc delves into what you endured after being forced to retire in 2011 and falling into a near-depression. How hard was that for you to look back on?
I don’t even know if it was the idea of retirement that I felt depressed about. I really dove headfirst into acting, so I feel it got pushed off a bit. It didn’t fully land until we lost my father-in-law and my mom. That back-to-back — it landed then. I stopped working because of everything that was going on.
I think if most people are honest with themselves, they will encounter that kind of thing. It’s okay to normalize that too. Especially, when my fandom started in wrestling, you didn’t get behind the curtain. You didn’t get the people who played these characters. I think that’s one thing that is lost sometimes with wrestling fans.
The idea that behind these characters are real people.
Even now, I know the preparation before each match isn’t like it was before when I was wrestling. I didn’t have kids, and the extent of the neck issues I had before. There are a lot more responsibilities now. That adds more gravity to each match I do. I don’t do as many matches as I used to. I don’t think my body is capable of doing that many at this stage. I do whatever the company needs me to do. I try to fill that role. That becomes, “OK, we need you to turn heel because we had babyfaces go down” or “turn heel before WrestleMania because we don’t want a double babyface match.” Or: “We need you to turn back babyface because we’ve had some babyfaces go down.” Sometimes the storylines don’t see themselves all the way through because of that stuff. Those are things out of your control.
How does it feel to have more control with this second run of deciding when your in-ring career is over?
I think Dave Bautista put it best within the doc. Part of your soul is always going to be restless. It won’t rest until you see this out. Pro wrestling is all I’ve wanted to do. I got a chance to get that back and possibly see it out in a different way. That’s huge. I think anyone in any form of athletics wants to go out on something they are happy and proud of. Not to say I wasn’t happy at WrestleMania 27. I just didn’t know. This time, knowing will make everything so much easier on the backend. I think there will be a great sense of contentment. Usually, contentment is a bit of a curse word in my world. But I think when the time comes, this time, contentment will be the exact word.
Part of me is looking forward to that too because I don’t want to overstay my welcome. I want to come in and do good business. I know this window is short. I think the documentary illustrates that as well. We’re on borrowed time here. It’s not like I have a multitude of matches in front of me. I think there is a bit of weight when you see Edge wrestle now. That’s also kind of fun. A lot of pressure, but fun too.
The premiere falls perfectly into your return to Toronto for this big match on Raw on August 22. Here you are facing Damian Priest, who you’ve taken under your wing. What does this match mean to you?
I’m putting it right up there with the main event of WrestleMania. I’m putting it up there with Hell in a Cell with Seth Rollins. It’s massive for me, personally. To never expect to go back and wrestle there again, and come back 12 years since I last wrestled on television there. I saw Toronto on the schedule. I said to Paul [Levesque], “We got something we can promote here. We have a few weeks to build a television match, so we can treat it as something special.” Everyone was on board and thought it could be really cool. You get in there with a guy like Priest. It’s a huge opportunity. I love that I can get in there with this current crop of talent. It’s really exciting to get this thing back. The acting was great. It fell on my lap, but I’ve always wanted to be a wrestler. Now it falls second behind being dad, husband. It’s still very important in my life. I’m having a blast. I have the best gig in the world, and I know it. In Toronto, I’m going to have so many goosebumps on top of goosebumps.
How is it to see this new WWE regime and era coming in?
I love it. It’s exciting. It’s collaborative. Paul is a guy like me, who is a fan. He has always been a fan. I don’t think he has ever lost sight of that. To me, that’s exciting. Now, I think for the fans that vein of excitement will be hit. I’m glad I’m here for it and to be a cog in that machine. I’m trying to be a huge help to turn a corner with this company to whatever avenue we’re going to go down next.
Biography WWE: Legends, Edge, Premieres August 21, 8/7c, A&E