The time of losing sports could not have been set up more perfect than to line up with the story of WWE superstar “Edge” otherwise known as, Adam Copeland.
On overcoming the impossible to be able to do what he loves after having it all taken away not on his terms. This comes from the documentary produced by the “WWE 24” team called Edge: The Second Mountain.
As a fan, I was able to experience some of these events and have been motivated by this story during the times where many of us have lost things we enjoy doing on a daily basis.
Copeland has overcome all the odds and returned to his second home in the WWE.
In 2003, hitting a wrestling mat hard never seemed to worry the “Rated ‘R’ Superstar Edge“. Copeland was preparing for his next match like any other athlete would do to prepare for a game with practicing.
But, Copeland began to not feel any strength in his right arm, which he thought was just a minor injury that could be taken care of by just getting a massage.
Copeland made medical visits after feeling nauseous when getting work from the trainer to find out he had two herniated disks putting a lot of pressure on his spinal cord and needed surgery as soon as possible. This cost Copeland his “Intercontinental Title” at the time and a year of continuing his rise in the company.
The next decade wasn’t easy for “Edge” after his first surgery in February 2003.
“I knew I was in pain I thought, well that’s just normal,” Copeland said in the documentary
After “Wrestlemania XXVII” in 2011, Copeland went for a check-up with Dr. Joseph Maroon and before receiving the results, Chairman of the WWE Vince McMahon called Copeland to break the news that he is not healthy enough to wrestle ever again.
April 11, 2011. Just eight years after his first spinal fusions, Copeland made the announcement to the WWE Universe as the 11-time “World Heavyweight Champion” he would no longer be allowed to do what he has loved ever since he was a kid.
“For lack of a better term, it was taken,” Copeland said.
Without questions asked, Copeland had to walk through the curtain of “Monday Night Raw” for the last time. Unfortunately having to end giving up another title but ending it all as on top as the “World Heavyweight Champion.”
“There was some adapting but thankfully acting fell in my lap.”
What Copeland didn’t know was the executive producer of Haven, Shawn Piller, was watching and offered Copeland a chance at his new job outside of wrestling. Copeland signed up for acting classes and acquired an agent and ended up doing 40-plus episodes for the show. Though the pain was still there and only was getting stronger, as Copeland still needed another surgery.
Copeland was enjoying acting and doing as much as he could but found himself losing mobility by the day.
“He couldn’t go two or three hours without needing to lay flat and was having a hard time even holding a coffee mug,” said Copeland’s wife Beth. Also known as Beth Phoenix, she was also a former WWE superstar in the Divas division.
It was time for Copeland to finally get the second surgery as requested by doctors prior to retiring from the WWE.
The first surgery Copeland had a titanium plate with six screws in his neck which would do justice only for the eight years. Copeland struggled being forced to retire from wrestling.
In going back to hitting the mat stronger than before his first surgery, he suffered more damage to his neck that called for more to be repaired.
“After that second surgery I woke up in the hallway, ” Copeland said. “Beth asked me how I was, and I said I don’t have a headache. And I didn’t realize I had one.”
The disbelief of this newborn feeling put Copeland back up on his feet better than his first neck injury.
After four years not watching wrestling to keep away from the heartbreak feeling, Copeland began to come back to the WWE in 2015 with starting a podcast called the “E&C’s POD of Awesomeness” with his long-life friend and former tag-team partner Jason Reso, better known as “Christian.”
In 2017, he made a trip down to Orlando, where young talent trains to give out his number to be a helping hand to any he could.
Copeland began to help more backstage and train the younger stars coming into the WWE. Though Copeland lost the ability to be physical within the ropes, he did not lose his head on his shoulders and used it for the good.
In acting, the majority of the roles Copeland was being cast for were for physical “tough guy” parts and pushed Copeland to do more than he realized.
It never had even crossed his mind of the thought for him to step back within the ropes. He was enjoying life as an actor, coach and a father to his two daughters.
Copeland had wrapped his most physical role in 2018 for the show “Vikings” where executive producer, Michael Hirst, had requested the actors do their own stunts. Hirst knew he wanted to cast Copeland and put him to his most physically demanding role.
After finishing the life of being a Viking, Copeland suffered a loss of his rock when his mother, Judy. Mom was his biggest fan in his corner.
Things became foggier in his mind as he finished “Viking” and then Copeland received a call from his doctor requesting a checkup as he hadn’t had one since after his second surgery in 2012.
It never crossed Copeland’s mind the fact there could be a chance he could get inside the ropes again to do what he loved. At the checkup the local doctor informed him his neck appeared “normal.” Which he questioned after eight years straining more on his neck and taking hit after hit after his first surgery.
Soon after, Copeland was taking part in an episode of “Celtic Warrior Workouts” where he went riding down the mountains near Copeland’s home in Asheville, North Carolina. In the video, Copeland is seen taking a hard fall after jumping a dirt hill.
“I came up and was like my neck doesn’t hurt at all,” Copeland said. “That was the first thing I thought.”
Though he isn’t invincible and still suffered some scrapes and bruises this was Copeland’s realization that the door for the WWE could have just opened up again.
A week later he took a trip back to his hometown, Toronto, Canada to watch “Summerslam” and meet up with some old friends and family while there. What was only to be a behind the scenes viewing for Copeland turned into a surprise appearance for his “hometown stadium.”
While in Toronto, Copeland returned to his mother Judy’s house to close her estate. His Aunt had discovered in a shoebox which held the dreams of his wrestling career and designs from gear he drew himself. The box was placed in the heart of where he found wrestling and was held onto by his mom who he shared those dreams of wrestling with.
“If it had to do with me, she saved it,” Copeland said.
Later on, at “Summerslam” Copeland and Jason Reso were in talks about cutting a “Promo” together to open the show with it being in their hometown stadium. What was supposed to be “Edge” and “Christian” together again turned into a test of the limits for Copeland as he speared WWE Superstar “Elias” erupting Scotiabank Arena.
After “Summerslam” Copeland had the same amount of curiosity he had back in 2011 when he was in pain. He met with multiple doctors for check-ups to find an answer and to hear a reality check. Copeland went to multiple doctor visits to find answers that were all positive for him to be able to do what he loves.
With the good news, Copeland contacted Vince McMahon, this time asking to meet face-to-face. Copeland shared the news and his belief in doing what he loves again.
McMahon set him up with his final doctor’s appointment to meet with the one who disqualified him the first time, WWE Doctor Dr Joseph Maroon. This was the answer Adam and Beth Copeland had both been waiting for the most.
“And then I got the text from Adam that said two words … I’m cleared.” After almost nine years, the retired the wrestling superstar was given the green light.
Though “Edge” will not do incredible spears through tables that are on fire or doing dives onto thumbtacks or gives, Copeland a new challenge to come back with a new style.He has never feared away from a challenge to do what he loves. Copeland was gifted a ring to begin training and did all possible to hide away and keep it a surprise.
Copeland was able to have the help of his wife to get him back into “ring” shape. Returning to WWE headquarters in Connecticut, he came ready with his own designs and ideas much like he would do in his wrestling school when he was a young wrestler. Just as he would do in the journals and notebook paper found in the shoebox his mom kept.
January 26, 2020. The day of the “Royal Rumble” and the day no one predicted to be the return of “Edge.” With entry No.21, the WWE universe was stunned with the return of the 11-timee “World Heavyweight Champion.”
Copeland walked down the long ramp at the Rumble with eyes wide and stunned to be doing what he was told to be “impossible.” The Minute Maid Park in Houston filled with “welcome back” chants. Though Copeland did not win the “30-Man Rumble” match, he had won back the thing he loved most.
“It’s still surreal,” Copeland said.
It was clear he had dreamed of this day with his daughter Ruby, waking him up, back within the ropes of the sport which defines him. The mountain filled with climbs and falls had been defied.