Acrylic and spray on 30″ x 40″ canvas
Once the dust settles, Adam “Edge” Copeland will be known as one of the very best professional wrestlers of all time. Born 1973 in Ontario, Copeland began his training at the age of 18 after winning an essay contest (An essay contest. To become a pro wrestler. How fun!), getting his instruction from Sweet Daddy Siki and Ron Hutchinson. After taking time to finish college and help his mother pay bills, he began working the independent circuit around Ontario and the Great Lakes region of the US under the name Sexton Hardcastle. He worked a couple matches in WCW under the name Damon Striker before getting signed by the then-WWF in 1997.
After finishing his training there he debuted as the loner Edge, who would emerge through the crowd and was built up by a series of promo videos showing him attacking passers-by on the streets. He soon began a feud with Gangrel and his storyline brother Christian, before teaming with them to form the Brood. This stable would have feuds with The Ministry and The Hardy Boyz, before Edge and Christian went on to become a tag team on their own. The Edge and Christian tandem are regarded as one of the best tag teams ever, holding the titles seven times and having notable feuds with the Hardys and The Dudley Boyz. These three teams had what many argue were the pedigree of tag team matches with the infamous ‘Tables, Ladders, and Chairs’ (TLC) events, with spectacular spot after spectacular spot involving all of those weapons.
In 2001 Edge began to shine as a singles competitor after turning face, winning the King of the Ring and the Intercontinental Championship, and having a feud with Christian over that title. After losing the title to Test, he soon defeated Kurt Angle for the US Championship, and then unified that with the Intercontinental Championship after defeating Test. He then found himself in a feud with Kurt Angle resulting in Angle getting his head shaved (and it’s never grown back for the poor guy!). He then won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Hulk Hogan (how cool for him, right?), and then he formed a notable team with Rey Mysterio. He then suffered a serious neck injury in 2003 that took him out of action for nearly a year.
Upon returning, he became a regular in the upper-card matches as a serious contender for a World Championship. In 2005 he won his first Money in the Bank ladder match, giving him a title shot at a time of his choosing. During this period he became the most detested man in wrestling, both as a villain storyline wise and for a real-life relationship he had formed with Matt Hardy’s then-girlfriend Amy “Lita” Dumas. Word of this somehow made it out to the fans, and something, I don’t know, magic happened. Edge and Hardy began a feud that blurred the lines of fiction and reality, and Copeland solidified his stance with the company when these matches were brutal-looking but amazingly safe between the combatants. Edge was paired with Lita on-screen, making him even more hated by the crowd and getting some of the most vile jeers from fans. As a fan, I remember being utterly enthralled by this, and as an artist I was even moreso amazed by how professional these guys were.
After a brief feud with Ric Flair, Edge won his first WWE Championship at the 2006 New Year’s Revolution, cashing in his contract on John Cena after Cena had just finished a brutal, bloody match. This led to Edge and Lita’s infamous “Live Sex Show” on Raw and on to a notable feud with John Cena. As a perpetual main-eventer from this time on, he had other notable feuds with Mick Foley and Rob Van Dam. In 2006 he teamed with Randy Orton to form Rated-RKO and had a great feud with Triple H and Shawn Michaels. He won his second Money-in-the-Bank contract in 2007 and cashed it in on The Undertaker to become the World Heavyweight Champion, and then went on to feud with Batista and Kane.
He was soon paired with Vickie Guerrero and formed ‘La Familia’, which also included Chavo Guerrero, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. This period was a lot of fun, because Edge was such a heel. Everything he did made the fans hate him even more. And from here, man, I could go for another thousand words on his amazing career. More notable feuds included Jeff Hardy, an exceptional one with Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, and his final one with Alberto Del Rio. Edge’s match against Del Rio at WrestleMania XXVII would wind up being his last, with a career of brutal matches and high spots catching up to him and the doctors telling him it was no longer safe to compete. His retirement speech on the Aprill 11, 2011 edition of Raw is…raw, it’s emotional and heartfelt. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena that night. Copeland has successfully transitioned into acting and is a regular on the show Haven as the character Dwight Hendrickson.
An his accomplishments in wrestling? A four-time WWE Champion, a record-setting seven-time World Champion, a one-time US Champion, a five-time Intercontinental Champion, a twelve-time World Tag Team Champion, a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, the 2001 King of the Ring, a two-time Money-in-the-Bank winner, the 2010 Royal Rumble winner, inducted into the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame and into the 2013 National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Like I said at the beginning, one of the very best of all time.
About the piece: Last week I told myself that I have to get better as an artist. I felt that I had been treading water for a few months. This is my first true effort at growing myself. I used a lot of techniques and tricks that I have in the past, but I pushed myself harder in how and more importantly why I used them. I feel it’s a personal best.