Creatively Endeavored #2 – Growing Up on the Edge

I began this week’s article with Randy Savage on the mind. Obviously, I immediately felt the need to write about this legend’s career and the legacy he left behind. But when I sat down to write, I found myself unable to compose my thoughts on his entire career so soon and rather than put out a lackluster effort for one of the true greats, I decided to give myself one more week to truly do the man justice. Instead, I choose to focus this week’s Creatively Endeavored on another man who has left us this year, albeit for a very different reason. I originally wrote this article the week of Adam Copeland’s retirement and now, the first paragraph is pretty eerie. It’s amazing to think that within 2 months, we as fans were robbed of two of the greats from the sport we love. This article focuses on the least tragic of the two who left the business on the top of his game but not by his own choice.

I’ve been watching wrestling for 25 years. The first match I ever saw was Randy Savage beating a young Bret Hart. The first main event of the first live event that I ever attended featured Savage against the WWE champion Yokozuna. And in 1998, I went to my first taping of WWE Raw. A night earlier at Summerslam, a young star made his PPV debut as the mystery partner of Sable and was beginning to make a big splash in the WWE. That night on Raw, I stood in the audience with my father and reached out to pat that new superstar on the back as he entered through the crowd. And last Monday night, I sat in the arena at Bridgeport watching that same man’s career come to a close.

Edge debuted in the WWE at the age of 25. I was 15. When looking back at old pictures of his career, I legitimately feel that I have grown up with him. Even when I was a young kid, I always hitched my wagon to the undercard guys. It made it a little hard on my parents when on Christmas morning I would open up the big talking Hulk Hogan when what I really wanted was the small Rockers Hasbro figures. When my friends were painting their faces and running around like the Ultimate Warrior, I would be jutting my arms out to the side with my construction paper pink Hitman glasses on. I’ve never grown out of this love of the underdog. I’m a diehard New York Mets fan and can’t help but to root for TNA wrestling to get their act together and one day challenge the WWE. So when the hype promos began to air for Edge, not only was I drawn to his different look and cool music but also this was a new face that I could get behind as he tried to make an impact in the titanic WWE.

In 1998, everyone was a Stone Cold Steve Austin fan. I did my fair share of cheering for the anti-authority Austin but the guys I really got behind were “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn and Triple H. They were the guys who could really go in the ring and it wasn’t always the same punch-kick fest Austin liked to work at this stage in his career. Once again this didn’t make me too popular with my friends but being a fan of Edge did. There was just something about him that every fan at my age gravitated toward. From his entrance to his music and his moveset, he was unique in the WWE. I loved his energy in the midcard scene and it made my love for wrestling that much stronger.

Flash forward 13 years later and Adam “Edge” Copeland is being forced to retire due to a severe neck injury. A career that has consisted of moments like the TLC matches, the Live Sex Celebration and WrestleMania main events. A career any kid who grew up a wrestling fan can be extremely proud of. I don’t remember another time where a guy’s career was being looked at so fondly but seemed so underappreciated while he was active. I think this comes with the feeling that we always thought Edge would be there. He could be consistently counted on whether it was a goofy storyline with Kane or a vicious feud with Mick Foley. He was asked on so many occasions to carry the ball when creative just didn’t know what else to do and he always did so with pride. He was the kid who made good and was living his dream every single day.

I’ll miss Edge even though I’m ridiculously happy the doctors caught this injury when they did. I’ll miss the genuine emotion he showed whenever he stepped onto the stage. I’ll miss the comfort in knowing that when I turn on Smackdown on Friday night there will be at least one entertaining segment with the Rated R Superstar. But I think the biggest thing I’ll miss is being able to watch someone that felt like a childhood friend doing something we both loved.

We’ll all miss you Edge. Thank you for growing up with me and allowing us to tag along on one hell of a ride.

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