Pulse Wrestling’s Top 100 Wrestlers of the Modern Era: #34 – Edge

From sitting in the crowd at WrestleMania VI as a kid to being voted “most likely to be WWF Champion” in his high school yearbook, Edge was destined to become a professional wrestling superstar.

34. EDGE

Real NameAdam Copeland
AliasesAdam Impact; Damon Striker; Sexton Hardcastle
HometownOrangeville, Ontario
DebutedJuly 1, 1992
Titles HeldICW/MWCW Mid-West Unified Tag Team (with Psycho Joe Sampson); ICW Streetfight Tag Team (2x, with Christian Cage); OCW Tag Team (with Psycho Joe Sampson); SSW Tag Team (with Christian Cage); WCW United States; WWE Championship (2x); WWE Tag Team (with Rey Mysterio); WWF/WWE Intercontinental (5x); WWF/WWE World Tag Team (11x – 7 with Christian, 2 with Chris Benoit, 1 with Hulk Hogan, 1 with Randy Orton); WWE World Heavyweight (2x)
Other Accomplishments2001 WWF King of the Ring Winner; 2005 Money in the Bank winner; WWF/WWE Triple Crown winner; Ranked #2 in the PWI Top 500 list in 2007

It doesn’t always happen that a young boy knows what he wants to do with his life; follows through on those dreams and becomes successful in his chosen profession.

“Edge” Adam Copeland was one of those men. From sitting in the crowd at WrestleMania VI as a kid to being voted “most likely to be WWF Champion” in his high school yearbook, Edge was destined to become a professional wrestling superstar.

He got his start in 1992 after winning an essay contest that allowed for the winner to be granted free wrestling training. He spent his early years paying his dues on the Canadian and northeastern United States independent circuit. He worked with others who would all go on to be famous as well, including Joe E. Legend, Rhino, Don Callis and his childhood friend Christian Cage. He worked primarily under the moniker Sexton Hardcastle and formed successful teams with Legend and Cage under a variety of team names.

His big break came in 1998 when he was signed to the World Wrestling Federation. He had everything Vince McMahon looks for in a star; he was tall, well built and had a full head of hair. He debuted in the summer of 1998 as the loner character named Edge, and was immediately thrust into a feud with fellow newcomer Gangrel. After a few months of battling, Edge’s old buddy Christian was introduced to the mix as Edge’s brother. The trio of Edge, Christian and Gangrel soon began teaming together as the Brood, a take-off on the young Goth lifestyle. They also worked as foot soldiers in the larger Ministry of Darkness stable put together by The Undertaker.

By the end of 1999, Edge and Christian broke away from The Ministry and split from Gangrel. They were put into a hot feud with fellow young lions Matt & Jeff Hardy over the managerial services of Terri Runnels. A tag team ladder match in October 1999 put all four men on the map as budding superstars.

At WrestleMania 2000, Edge & Christian, along with The Hardys and The Dudley Boyz redefined WWF tag team wrestling with their three team ladder match. In that match Edge and Christian won their first of seven WWF Tag Championships.

For all of 2000 and the first half of 2001 it was the “E & C Dynasty” as Edge and Christian ruled the WWF tag team and mid-card scene. Their talent in the ring, their backstage and comedy antics and their legendary rivalry with Matt & Jeff Hardy made the duo huge successes.

Edge finally got his first real taste of singles success by winning the 2001 King of the Ring tournament. Later in the summer he picked up the Intercontinental Championship from Lance Storm and embarked on a blood feud with “brother” Christian after Christian turned on him. When the InVasion angle ended at Survivor Series 2001 Edge walked out as the unified Intercontinental and United States Champion, and was a bonafide rising singles star at this point.

When the initial brand expansion happened in 2002, Edge was one of the top stars sent to SmackDown! He was thrust into a star-making feud with Kurt Angle and got to win the World Tag Championship with his childhood idol Hulk Hogan. Then in the fall of 2002 he teamed with Rey Mysterio and mixed it up with Eddie & Chavo Guerrero, Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit in the legendary “SmackDown! Six” rivalry over the WWE Tag Championship.

He suffered a severe neck injury in early 2003 and was out of action for over a year. He returned in April 2004 as part of the RAW brand. He won the Intercontinental Championship from Randy Orton and had a pair of World Tag Title reigns with Chris Benoit, but his real passion was winning the World Heavyweight Tile. He turned heel in late 2004 and went on a streak of solid matches with Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels en route to winning the initial Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21.

By this time his real-life tryst with Amy “Lita” Dumas had been made public thanks to Matt Hardy, who was released by WWE during the turmoil. The crowds immediately turned the pair into the company’s biggest heels. The worked a romance angle with Kane, who was Lita’s storyline husband before Hardy was rehired by the company and the backstage feud was turned into a on-air worked-shoot angle. Edge ended up coming out the better of the two in their feud, looking like the bigger star in the process.

He finally reached the upper plateau in January 2006 when he cashed in his Money in the Bank World Title shot and pinned John Cena to win the WWE Championship immediately after Cena survived an Elimination Chamber match. Edge and Lita’s post-win “live sex celebration” on RAW earned the show its highest ratings in over a year. Weeks later Edge dropped the belt back to Cena. He then transitioned into a feud with Mick Foley that culminated in a hardcore match victory for Edge at WrestleMania 22.

Edge then headed back into the WWE Title picture, picking up the belt again in June 2006 from Rob Van Dam. He and Cena feuded over the belt through the summer and fall of 2006 before Cena won the belt back. Edge then went into a team with Randy Orton to feud with Shawn Michaels & Triple H.

His next big break was in May 2007 when he got the Money in the Bank title shot from an injured Mr. Kennedy and used it to beat Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship after Undertaker had just wrestled a cage match. Edge was Champion for two months before going out with a pectoral injury.

He returned in at Survivor Series 2007 and picked up the World Heavyweight Championship a second time a month later at Armageddon.

Edge is currently positioned as the top heel on SmackDown! He is in a “relationship” with SD! General Manager Vickie Guerrero and has a loose working stable with Chavo Guerrero and Kurt Hawkins & Zach Ryder.

He is currently at the top of his game, riding in the prime of his career. Even if he goes out tomorrow with a career-ending injury the man has already had a more successful career than most professional wrestlers can dream about. He’s been working for the biggest wrestling company in the world for a solid decade straight now. He has won four World Championships, a dozen World Tag Titles and countless secondary titles.

Critics will say much of his recent success has become because of sleeping around his friend’s woman, but that’s only a small part of it. Edge had the looks, skills and intangibles that would have made him a star regardless. He just used the negatives of one situation and turned them into a positive. He’s just a lifelong fan who actually got the chance to do exactly what he wanted with his life. Can’t fault the guy for that.

The entire Top 100 Wrestlers feature can be found here.

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