With the recent announcement by just-retired, WWE Champion Edge that he was relinquishing the belt do to injuries – a diagnosis of cervical spinal stenosis is reported to have been made – we look back on CYInterview’s 2004 conversation with the Canadian professional wrestler.
I spoke with Edge six and a half years ago about the release of his then new memoir, Adam Copeland on Edge. The WWE wrestler talked about his belief that he would go from small independent wrestling to the WWE big time.
Edge also tells great stories about Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Vince McMahon. You can read or listen to the entire interview, going back in time to see the only thing the recently retired champion wanted to do was be a pro wrestler.
How does Edge feel about retiring from his dream? Perhaps, in the coming months CYInterview will catch up with him and find out. For now, this interview is compelling.
Listen to the entire interview with Edge from 2004:
Chris Yandek: The first thing I can say from reading the your book is that you had a lot of family support and your mom, who was a single mom that raised you pretty much was behind everything that you wanted to do in the world of professional wrestling. I don’t think as far as entertainment dreams go, not all families are usually supportive of your dreams the way your mom was of yours.
Edge: “Yeah. It’s definitely one of those. I think like you first said, any form of entertainment or even sports sounds like a little bit of a pipe dream. I think when I was eight years old and stumbled upon wrestling for the first time and said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’ I am sure it was kind like ok, great, that’s awesome. When I was 17, and beginning my training, and in my last year of high school and actually beginning to do this, she was always just my number one fan and totally supportive even through the thick and the thin and the days of making no money and there were a lot of those. Through all those times, she was always really supportive, never once doubted me, saw the compassion and the passion for the business and that I was never gonna stop until I did get to where I wanted to get to. So she never doubted that. If she had of, that would’ve been a big stumbling block for me.”
CY: The fact that you ended up in the world of professional wrestling was because you won a competition in a wrestling publication of sorts to get a free wrestling training or wrestling school education that was valued at about $3000. Of course Joe E Legend and a few others were there. I guess through the whole book as you look at it’s like, bad things happen, but then good comes out in the end I guess you could say and this was one of the first points I guess when you finally got into the world of professional wrestling.
ED: “Definitely. I think everybody’s life is like that. I don’t think everything is completely smooth as that’s part of life. There’s always going to be stumbling blocks or valleys, but it’s how you walk out of the valleys with your head held high as soon you get out of it. That’s what I choose to do. So any stumbling blocks, try and pull the positives. For instance, with a broken neck and a year off, I wrote a book. I’ll always try to do something productive and positive if there’s negative happening. That’s all you can do. So when it came to the wrestling training, it was a total blessing in disguise…That was definitely the first kind of huge, huge happening when it comes to the point of my career. Without that, it definitely would have delayed me getting started that much longer until I could get the $3000 up while I was still in high school. Probably wouldn’t have happened, it would’ve been after I got out of school and started working. It definitely sped that process up.”
CY: I think one of the most amazing stories is just the fact that what you did with these horrible condition wrestling independent shows, the fact that you drove over a frozen lake for an hour. I just can’t, some of these amazing stories and under degree weather in Canada going from these small independent shows on a tour and going over a frozen lake. It’s just an amazing story and showed how dedicated you were to the wrestling business and this really is the story of starting from the bottom and going from the top.
ED: “Yeah. With where I started there was no place to go but up. So in that respect, it was a good way to start. I look back at it fondly. Would I do some of the things now that I did back then? I wouldn’t drive over a frozen lake now. You couldn’t pay me enough. At that point it was fun. That’s what we needed to do to get to where we are along with Rhyno and Christian and the Joe Legends and the Swingers. That’s just what we did. Depending on who I am talking to, Canadians can kind of understand that story. Ok, frozen lake, yeah I’ve heard of those. Almost 100 percent of people have never heard of driving across a frozen week. You drove over a lake and fell through and everything it sounds unbelievable and it probably should be, but it definitely happened.”
CY: Is it amazing to you just the fact that you, Christian, Rhyno, Joe E Legend all at one time and point in WWE, but you seem to work with Rhyno and Christian of course. It’s just kind of amazing how you both not brothers, but the fact you both grew up and ended up as a tag team and you ended up as one of the greatest tag teams in WWE in this last decade. It’s just kind of an amazing hindsight is 20/20 kind of story.
ED: “It really is when I look back at it. I guess I haven’t thought about it too much like that, but if you look at the facts and you look at two guys who met in grade six. The book goes through all of it… I started wrestling about two years before he did, then we went everywhere together wrestling wise. We started teaming basically as soon as Christian was done, his training. It was just a natural fit because we had already had been doing it pretty much as long as we can remember in his side yard. Once we actually got in the wrestling ring and we found ourselves wrestling guys like Rick Martel and Bad News Brown and all these veterans, it didn’t surprise me that at that point that we were gonna get to the WWE. I know we were going to get there.
I would’ve liked to have thought we would win the tag team titles, but then doubt started to creep in because they kept trying to break us up. So when we actually did it in Anaheim at WrestleMania 16 it was pretty damn cool I have to admit… Pretty astronomical I guess if you look at the odds. Rhyno who we met almost ten years ago now to be there with us and doing our thing now. Then at WrestleMania 17 with him being such an important part of the TLC match, it’s amazing that three best friends can be doing our thing. I wish the [Johnny] Swingers and Joe Legend’s were with us too, but everybody takes a different path and this is just where the three of us ended up.”
CY: You were very calm about approaching Vince McMahon. You really seem to come away from this book that if you’re a lower card talent, I know you’re kind of worried about your spot, but you don’t want the boss to feel you’re insecure. But you really approached Vince with no problem.
ED: “Initially I didn’t. When I started to feel like I was earning my stripes, that’s when I thought, ok I am gonna go talk to this guy. I want him to know I am here rather than just this wrestler put on TV. I want him to know the person. I want him to know that I do have some thoughts. I do have some ideas. Whether they’re all good or not, who knows, but I am never gonna know what he thinks unless I go to him. That’s one thing I’ve found. He wants people to go to him. He wants to hear feedback.
He wants to hear what you think, what ideas you have. He is a busy guy so he might not always have time, but eventually he will make time for you. I think he respects that when guys do go to him. He does have a presence and it’s intimidating and a lot of guys are. Once you break down that barrier and realize he just wants you to perform and be able to produce for the show. Once you get past that it’s pretty easy to go and talk to the guy. He is a good guy.”
CY: I was surprised a little on the influence Bret Hart had on you getting into the WWE.
ED: “A lot of people just assume that I showed up in 1998 and I was a rookie. There was a lot of work to get to the point where I got there, which I think the book opens up and lets people know. Part of that whole process was meeting Bret Hart, who has always been a really huge influence on my career. Bret, Shawn Michaels, and Hulk Hogan would be the three guys that definitely touched me the most when it came to influencing my style and getting me into the industry.
A lot of people don’t realize that it was Bret who initially you know kind of opened the door for me. All he could guarantee me was ok, come up to his house, which I did when he had knee surgery and he was impressed… So he talked to Jim Ross and from theat brought me down to Stanford, Connecticut. At that point it was up to me. Either I was gonna kick the door open myself or it was going to be shut in my face if I wasn’t good enough. Thankfully they said, ‘Alright, here is your contract.’ Eight and a half years later here we are.”
CY: Of course you looked up to Hulk Hogan, did you ever imagine in your mind that you would be tag team champions with him even if it was a short lived run for the most part? I guess that must’ve been a childhood dream, fantasy worthwhile, unexpected dream come true.
ED: “Oh without a doubt. It was definitely something that I never thought would happen. When I was a kid of course dreams would happen, but I never thought that him and I would be peers at the same time in the same company, doing the same thing at the same level where an Edge and Hulk Hogan tag team could happen. Never thought it would happen, never. When it did it was one of those total goose bumps, huge cheesy smile on my face, but everything you saw was completely legitimate. That was the way I felt. The way I looked is the way I felt. It definitely goes down as one of the milestone moments in my career. Especially when you read the book and how much he had an influence on me.”
CY: The ratings aren’t the 7.0s they once were. In your opinion in this downward spiral WWE is in, what do you think it needs to take to get that big boom back up to where it once was?
ED: “Well, I have always said wrestling is a cyclical business. I was one of those fans that was always there through out it. I originally caught on with the whole Hulk Hogan rock and wrestling connection. When it teetered out and guys like Bret [Hart] and Shawn [Michaels] had to carry the load and popularity was down, I was still there. I have seen it go through its ups and downs. When I first in the wrestling industry when I was 17, wrestling wasn’t popular, but I still wanted to do it… I got lucky that when I started with the WWE, it exploded, Steve Austin, The Rock, things like that. I think it will take number one, for the cycle to run it’s course. That’s just always what it does.”
CY: Finally, your book isn’t the most revealing gossip book that a Ric Flair book is, but I guess you could say for the most part two things. I guess this is, if you really want to be a professional wrestler and you’re going through tough times, I guess your book would be the best one to read and the fact of what you went through to get to where you wanted to go.
ED: ” People have said before there is not much controversy. I say to those people, well, I am not going to make up controversy just to have it in a book. I am not going to make up issues. I am not going to start my own angles in a book. I am happy with what I do. I have never been unlucky like Ric has with Eric Bischoff. I’ve never had that. What I am is a guy who always wanted to do this, struggle through a lot of stuff to get to what he wanted to do. When he got there, still had to struggle to get to the point where I’m still not at, which is world champion. So in that respect, it’s a book you’ll have fun reading and aspiring wrestlers can look at and say ‘Ok, cool. It can be done.’ But it’s definitely not one full of controversy because I don’t have a lot of backstage problems or anything like that. I’m doing what I love to do so I’m not going to complain about it. I’ll let you know how happy I am doing it.”
You can find more information and purchase a copy of Adam Copeland on Edge Clicking Here