It’s almost impossible to trust a “retirement” speech in professional wrestling.
Edge made one Monday night on RAW and, thankfully, it wasn’t to advance an angle. There wasn’t any interference or interruption, which certainly was expected when RAW was promoting a possible Edge retirement speech out of the blue throughout its show.
Nope, Adam Copeland, 37, legitimately retired from the WWE because he really had no choice.
He’s never been one to shy away from pushing his body to its physical limit, being a pioneer of Tables, Ladders & Chairs matches for one. Along the way, his body broke down multiple times — an Achilles tendon injury that shelved him for six months before the 2010 Royal Rumble, and a neck injury in 2003 that required fusion surgery and kept him out for about a year. That neck injury is what has forced him to retire now. He said he started to lose feeling in his arms, had more tests done and received the news that he must quit. Either that or, as he alluded, risk going out in a wheelchair.
There wasn’t a huge sendoff, like other legendary retirees before him. Just a man who was told to take a mic and say whatever he wanted on the way out. Though his retirement, admittedly sudden, lacked fanfare, he leaves as one of the best professional wrestlers ever. He won 31 championships in WWE, including 14 tag team titles and 11 world titles. He leaves as the World Heavyweight Champion, which he’ll relinquish on SmackDown this Friday.
He reinvented himself several times — from the guy in the trench coat who entered the ring through the crowd to a psuedo-vampire with Christian and Gangrel, to a tag-team specialist who tore the house down with The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz, to a highly decorated singles competitor who transformed from fan favorite to The Rated-R Superstar and arguably the best heel in wrestling in the mid-2000s.
It was Edge who brought me back to wrestling in 2006. I instantly became fans of Edge and Randy Orton, and their run as Rated-RKO was one of my favorite times as a viewer of wrestling. I went away from being an Edgehead for his final year after a breakup with a girlfriend who assumed the role as the absolute bane of my existence (and was a bigger Edgehead than I), but wasn’t prepared to see one of the best hang ’em up.
It was a great run, Mr. Copeland. We’ll miss ya.