Adam Edge Copeland | The Early Chronicles Of A Rated R Superstar

Done it all, won it all. Nothing describes the career of Adam Copeland more than the previous statement. He has had fans on the edge of their seats since his debut.

You can’t talk about the icons in the WWE without mentioning Edge’s name: Multi-time Tag Team Champion, Intercontinental champion, WWE champion, and World Heavyweight Champion.

He’s won the 2002 King of the Ring Tournament and Royal Rumble twice despite all those accomplishments and becoming a household name. AEW may not know him, but they will.  AEW is about to become Rated R.

On November 18th, 2023, Adam Edge Copeland would make his AEW pay-per-view debut at the promotions Full Gear event. This is a look at this hall-of-fame career that reeks of awesomeness.

Adam Edge Copeland
[Photo: Fox News]

Adam Edge Copeland – Right Place, Right Time 

Every wrestling fan by now knows that Adam Copeland started as a fan, just like all of us. You have to be a fan first to appreciate the art of pro wrestling. Being a fan is the foundation of a great career.

We have all seen the picture of Copeland at WrestleMania VI.  His high school yearbook voted him most likely to be a pro wrestler. In 1992, WWF Champion and Canadian Legend Bret “Hitman “Hart appeared on the Dini Petty talk show to promote the WWF Survivor Series.

When the host asked if the audience had any questions, a young Copeland stood up. He not only asked Hart how to get into the WWE but his personality popped the audience.

Little did anyone know that this was the beginning of a future WWE Champion. The look on Bret Harts’s face indicates he saw something in the 19-year-old. The Hitman was not wrong.

Destiny Awaits 

Not only was Adams’s pro wrestling aspirations destiny, but so was meeting his lifelong friend Jay Reso, aka Christian. Even at ten years old, these two were best friends. Friends is an understatement; they were more like brothers.

Both these future stars would travel to see WWF events at the Toronto Maple Leaf Garden. Both Adam and Jay were in the crowd at WrestleMania VI. Copeland has said this event is what made him want to be a.

He won an essay contest and was awarded a full training program with Ron Hutchinson and Sweet Daddy Sika. However, this was cut short due to Adam wanting to help his mom pay the bills.

Even at that young age, he earned respect. Despite the setback, wrestling kept calling to him. This was his calling. When you can’t stop thinking about something it’s what you are meant to do. Adam Copeland was meant to be a pro wrestling superstar.

He rejoined Hutchinson Wrestling Academy and resumed training.  During those months he paid his dues. He recalls many times loading the ring truck in the cold of the Saskatchewan Tundra. Jay also joined the academy with Adam. 

What’s better than having your best friend by your side? Wrestling fans know you can’t mention Edge without mentioning Christian and vice versa. It is only appropriate that Adam Copeland and Jay Reso end their careers together doing what they do best.

You ain’t seen nothing yet. Adam took the ring name of Sexton Hardcastle, yes I said Sexton Hardcastle. Never forget that the Rated R Superstar is also a comedian. Kurt Angle can attest to that. His signature phrase Angle Sucks is courtesy of Edge. 

In 1995 Adam was working an independent match in Ontario. Carl Demarco, Bret Harts’s business manager, happened to be watching.  He encouraged him to send in a tape to WWF.

Shortly after that conversation, De Marco became President of WWF Canada. Looking back one can’t help but wonder if Bret remembered that 19-year-old kid from the talk show and put a bug in De Marcos’s ear.

Copeland impressed the WWF enough that they gave him an opportunity. Based on those performances he was encouraged to go to train with the Hitman. Bret Hart was at the height of his popularity in 1997 but was recovering from knee surgery. It was a no-brainer.

With no money in his pocket and a dream, Adam went to Calgary to train with the likes of other WWE hopefuls such as Mark Henry, Ken Shamrock, Test, and yes even Jay aka Christian Cage, was there too.

Can you imagine learning from the best there is, was, and ever will be? If Adam had not stood up at that talk show appearance, it may never have happened. Fate works in mysterious ways. 

You Think You Know Him 

The Hitman put in a good word for both Adam and Jay. It was time for Adam Copeland to come out of the shadows of obscurity. In 1997, the world met Edge. Edge entered the arena through the crowd.

It was almost as if this vigilante from the streets broke into the arena.  He grew an instant connection with the crowd. At the same time, a superstar by the name of Gangrel was turning heads with a graphic vampire gimmick.

Complete with spewing a substance that looked like blood. He struck fear in his opponents. Way ahead of his time, David Heath, aka Gangrel was a force to be reckoned with.  Gangrel immediately began to recruit Edge to his Army of the undead.

However, each time, the young superstar refused. Instead, Gangrel recruited Christian. It wasn’t long before Edge and Christian were at each other’s throats. How cool is it to have your first official rivalry with your best friend? Of course, at this time WWE fans were none the wiser.

Gangrel's AEW Debut Was Nixed Due to Edge Using The Brood Gimmicks for WWE  SummerSlam Build
[Photo: Wrestling Headlines]

The Brood and The Ministry of Darkness 

Along with Christian, Gangrel finally convinced Edge to join him. The Brood was born. The entrance for the Brood is hands down one of the most impressive entrances in the history of wrestling. They were cool yet menacing modern vampires.

The group would rise through the stage in a ring of fire. can you imagine if the Brood were together during the Twilight craze of the 2000s?  Before he left WWE, Edge brought back the brood gear complete with the entrance and the fans flipped.

This is proof of the impact this group made in a very short time. In many ways, the Brood was one of the most underrated trios in wrestling history. Also, during this time a much more powerful force was building in the WWF, The Ministry of Darkness. 

The Ministry of Darkness was led by the one and only Undertaker. Undertaker had recently had a change of personality and became more demonic than ever. Immediately he added the Brood to his Ministry.

They were a perfect fit, but in hindsight, if left alone, they may have flourished. After a botched Ministry plan, Undertaker decided to make an example of Christianity. Both Gangrel and Edge stood up to the Man from the Darkside and saved Christian.

The Brood were depicted as goth kids who got mixed up in something more evil than even they could imagine. Rightfully so, in 1999, Undertaker was at his most wicked. 

Breaking out on his own 

As a result of this defiance of the Undertaker, the Brood became popular. The first matches with the Tag Team of the Hardy Boyz took place. Both The Brood and the Hardys were ushering in the second tag team revolution in the WWE.

Their matches became the thing to watch. Like a car crash, you couldn’t help but stare. Edge and Christian may have had fan support, but Gangrel threw his support to his new Brood the Hardyz.

Leaving the Gangrel cult was the best thing for Edge as he found himself challenging for the WWE Intercontinental championship. On July 24, 1999, Adam Copland defeated Intercontinental champion Jeff Jarret for the title.

This was the first of many Intercontinental title runs for Edge. Edge later explained that he was not supposed to win that night. It was a last-minute decision. Jarrett regained the title the night after at Fully Loaded. Edge may have only had the taste of gold for 24 hours, but it was a taste he would not forget.

Edge and Christian Make Tag Team History 

The Hardyz, now managed by Gangrel, reignited their feud with Edge and Christian.  By the time No Way Out came around, the fans were seething to see Edge and Christian get the victory. 

They finally defeated the Hardy Boyz in a number 1 contenders match for the WWE tag team championship at WrestleMania 2000. This was the moment E&C was waiting for. In what was one of the most amazing matches in WWE history, Edge and Christian became

The new WWE Tag Team champions in a triangle ladder match. Who can forget the image of the third ladder used as a bridge with Edge and Christian holding the titles high for all to see?

5 Greatest WWE moments of Edge and Christian
[Photo: Sportskeeda]

Now For the Benefit of Those with Flash Photography…..

After winning the titles, the champions became more arrogant. They started mocking the fans. Even though they were technically heels, they did some of their best comedic work during this time. This is when the infamous 5-second pose came into being.

They would mock fans with an unflattering pose for those only with flash photography. Much like the New Age Outlaws introduction gimmick, the 5-second pose was looked forward to by fans.

This was the attitude era, and fans enjoyed being mocked as part of the show.  At WWE Unforgiven on Sept 24, E&C lost the tag titles to the Hardys in a steel cage match with the stipulation if E&C lost, they would never get another title shot.

True to their word, E&C did not ask for another shot, but dressed as the Conquistadores, they tricked the Hardys and won the titles back. 

Wrestling Recap: Edge & Christian vs. Dudleyz vs. Hardyz (SummerSlam '00) –  Dr. K's Waiting Room
[Photo: Dr. K’s Waiting Room]

TLC at Summerslam 

 The tag team title at this time was a hot potato going from team to team. However, during that process, E&C were now four-time tag team champions. At SummerSlam, Edge and Christian defended the titles in the first-ever iconic TLC Match.

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs were the weapons of choice in this amazing match. E&C, along with the Hardy Boyz and The Dudleys, unquestionably stole the show. Amazing match from start to finish. It was unbelievable the punishment these three teams took.

Luckily for Edge and Christain, they retained their titles.  These TLC matches were when Adam Copeland learned how to use ladders to his advantage. Edge became an expert at ladder matches, which will be more important later in his singles career.

At the Royal Rumble, E&C became victim to the 3D and lost the titles to the Dudleys. At WrestleMania X-7, the duo regained the titles in a match of incredible proportions.

Who can forget the sight of Edge spearing Jeff Hardy from the top of the Alamo dome at the showcase of the immortals? Now that Adam Copeland has entered AEW with  Christian, Jeff, and Matt, will we see a last hurrah to the TLC?

2001 King of The Ring

On June 2001, Edge became the King of The Ring. He helped the WWF defeat the Alliance during the WCW invasion. Christain grew jealous and attacked Edge. The next week on RAW, he explained his actions and how he felt now that, at last, he was on his own.

In the meantime, Edge won the WWF Intercontinental Title. The title became the focal point between Edge and Christian’s feud. Christian did manage to win the Ic title but was always outdone by Edge.

Edge was solidifying himself as the champion, and he was never going to stop defeating all challengers. Unfortunately for Edge, he could not pass the Test and was defeated by the towering monster.

Not one to rest, Edge defeated Kurt Angle for the United States Title and regained the Intercontinental title from new Champion William Regal.  Edge was drafted to Smackdown. From now on, Edge was the face of Smackdown, which would continue for years to come.

Edge vs. Kurt Angle - Hair vs. Hair Match: Judgment Day 2002 | WWE
[Photo: WWE]

Smackdown Rivalries

Edge immediately began a rivalry with Kurt Angle. He humiliated the Olympic gold medalist on several occasions. In particular, the infamous “You Suck ” chants for Kurt Angle were because of Edge.

In a match where the winner shaves the loser bald, Angle loses his hair to Edge. This was a good thing for Angle. After his match with Edge, he became more intense and ruthless. Edge also faced Chris Jericho several times in steel cage matches. His star was bright. 

Mutitime Smackdown Tag Team Champion 

Edge returned to Smackdown and won the tag team title with his childhood idol, Hulk Hogan. The duo did lose the belts to Christian and Test. Edge also teamed up with Rey Mysterio.

The two superstars battled such teams as Los Guerreros and Team Angle. At Survivor Series 2003, they also became Tag Team Champions as well. It seemed as if whoever Edge teamed with became tag team champions. Edge was a tag team specialist.

Unfortunately, the wear and tear of matches put Edge on the shelf for months, and when he returned, he had a new intensity.

Never Gonna Stop 

Edge returned at the 2004 WWE Draft. He was noticeably bigger and pissed off. He started a rivalry with Big Red Machine Kane. He also reunited with Benoit, defeating Evolution Ric Flair and Batista for the Raw Tag Team titles.

Edge was a thorn in the side of Evolution. Triple H Evolutions leader sent the Legend Killer Randy Orton after Edge. It was an amazing rivalry that showcased what both Future icons could do.

On July 11, 2004, Edge defeated Randy Orton, becoming a five-time Intercontinental Champion. We didn’t know it at the time, but these two would develop a mutual hatred towards none other than Randy Orton’s mentor, The Game Triple H.

Edge’s 5th Intercontinental Championship run would be cut short due to a groin injury. Eric Bischoff stripped Edge of the title due to not defending it. 

Change of Heart 

Edge’s body healed, but his mind was becoming diseased. Slowly but surely, Edge’s jealousy and anger would show.  In particular, Edge had animosity toward HBK Shawn Michaels. He even turned his back on fellow superstars he helped through the years.

Complete with a new theme song, Metallingus by Alter Bridge, Edge became viscous and cutthroat. As the opening to the song goes, “You think you know me “. As it turned out no one knew Edge after all. Edge did what he wanted when he wanted.

He made several attempts at taking the World Heavyweight title, but each time came up empty. 


Edge vowed to be a WWE Champion that year. At WrestleMania 21, in the first-ever Money In the Bank Ladder Match, where the winner gets an automatic title shot at any time of his choosing, Edge grabbed the briefcase and took his place in history.

Shortly after that, Edge got some extreme help from a little devil named Lita over his shoulder. Matt Hardy and Lita were a known WWE couple. They were 2/3 of Team Extreme. While Matt was injured, Lita was cheating with Adam behind Matt’s Back.

WWE had recently released Matt Hardy from his contract. However, Hardy was angry.  WWE reinstated him to capitalize on the real-life rivalry that was happening behind the scenes. Matt immediately went after Edge.

So that you know, all three stars did put their differences aside before Matt returned.  It’s ironic that after all that, neither star has Lita. Matt and Edge are performing in AEW together. Edge is happily married to Beth Phoenix.

Also, Matt Hardy was instrumental in bringing Edge to AEW. The rivalry may not have gotten Matt over as a main eventer like WWE hoped, but it did get Edge over as the slimeball. Much like any celebrity scandal, this worked in Edge’s favor. The Rated R superstar had arrived.  

Edge - The Ultimate Opportunist - The Rated "R" Superstar - YouTube
[Photo: YouTube]

Edge becomes WWE Champion.

Edge wanted the WWE Championship more than anything. John Cena was defending the title in an Elimination Chamber Match at New Year’s Revolution. The champ was successful but he was a bloody mess. That’s when the Ultimate Opportunist saw his chance.

Edge walked to the ring with the Money In The Bank briefcase. He cashed it in on a beaten-up Cena. Edge was now WWE Champion. Edge, however, only held the title for a few weeks, at the Royal Rumble he lost it back to Cena.

Edge immediately demanded a rematch on February 16 on Raw. Mick Foley was appointed special guest referee. Edge lost and blamed Foley.  The two clashed at WrestleMania 22 in a hardcore match.

If you know anything about Mick Foley it is that he is the king of hardcore. Edge was out of his element…or so we thought. One of the night’s most hair-raising scenes was Edge spearing the hardcore legend through a flaming table.

Later that summer, Edge also helped ECW original Rob Van Dam defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship. Edge was just setting up RVD to be beaten. On the July 3 episode of RAW, Edge once again became WWE Champion.

After that win, Edge and Cena’s rivalry got very heated. He tried to get under Cena’s skin by attacking Cena’s dad in his home. In an unbelievable moment, Cena tossed Edge off a bridge into the Long Island Sound. 

The next week, John Cena decided to make a proposition to Edge. If he could not beat him for the WWE Championship, he would leave for Smackdown. The match was set for Unforgiven. Edge had the home-field advantage as this match was in Toronto, CA.

It was the best match between these two. It had everything. Tables were splintered, and ladders were bent over their bodies. The finish was Edge crashing through two stacked tables just as he was about to retain the title. John Cena was the new champion, but Edge was far from done.

He was about to join forces with one of his biggest rivals, Randy Orton.