The youngest WWE Hall of Fame inductee to date, Edge has had more title reigns in WWE than any other wrestler. Since he retired as World Heavyweight Champion last year due to spinal stenosis, it made sense for him to go into the Hall right away.
You probably know the basics of his story. Adam Copeland grew up as a huge wrestling fan in Toronto with best friend Jay Reso, who became his tag team partner as Christian. He won free training at Ron Hutchinson and Sweet Daddy Siki's wrestling school by winning an essay contest in a local newspaper, and Reso eventually followed him as a paid trainee.
Debuting in 1992, he first used the name Sexton Hardcastle. He mainly worked on independent shows in Ontario and Michigan, but also worked for Tony Condello's WFWA/IWA promotion on the infamous "death tours" of Manitoba and toured Japan with Reso (who used the name Christian Cage) for the short-lived Tokyo Pro Wrestling promotion with Reso as The Canadian Rockies.
Somewhere along the way, he caught the eye of WWE Champion Bret Hart, who put a good word in for him and got him signed to a developmental contract.
WWE didn't have a full developmental system yet, so Copeland polished his skills at training sessions in the ring in Bret Hart's pool room, and later, official WWE training camps run by Dory Funk, Jr. and Tom Prichard in Connecticut. As he got closer to the main roster, he was able to get WWE to take a look at Reso and sign him as well.
Copeland made the main roster first as Edge, a mysterious mopy guy who entered the arena through the crowd as a searchlight looked for him in the arena. It was different enough to get him over pretty quickly, and it showed, as he got a big reaction as Sable's mystery partner against Marc Mero and Jacqueline at SummerSlam '98 at Madison Square Garden.
The rest of the story is pretty well-known, so I'll go over some of the more relatively obscure parts that aren't necessarily going to be on Wikipedia and give more depth to some things:
In early 1999, Edge and Christian had wrestled jobbers/enhancement talent/job guys/wimpies turned developmental wrestlers turned undercard tag team The Hardy Boyz twice on the syndicated Shotgun Saturday Night television show. They immediately had great chemistry, and WWE writer Michael Hayes pushed for a feud between the two teams, which he participated in by serving as the Hardys' manager/mentor at first. With a number of twists and turns, the teams feuded on and off for years.
A series of stipulation matches (ladder matches, tables, ladders and chairs matches, cage matches, tables matches, etc.) filled with dangerous stunts helped make everyone involved more popular but took a serious toll on those involved. Edge had his aforementioned neck problems, while the Hardys both developed a number of nagging injuries and addictions to painkillers.
The wrestlers involved (including the Dudley Boyz/Team 3-D, who joined the feud) were especially frustrated over being booked in the stunt-show matches on free TV. Not only were they paid less, but the matches weren't remembered as well by fans or put over as major events as much by WWE.
Edge and Christian split and feuded in 2001. Attempts to push both as singles stars failed at first, with neither able to get to the next level for years. A heel turn in late 2004 gave him some renewed energy, and he went on to win the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21, but the title shot he had in has back pocket went ignored for months other than the briefcase that "holds the contract" being his go-to weapon.
During the "Mr. Money in the Bank" run, he cheated on his wife with co-worker Lita (Amy Dumas), who also happened to be his good friend Matt Hardy's girlfriend. The rumors went public online, and Hardy (recovering from an injury) even blogged about what happened on his website, leading to WWE firing him.
In the meantime, Lita turned heel to serve as Edge's on-screen girlfriend and valet. The fan revolt over Hardy's firing led to him being quickly rehired and all involved parties agreeing to make some money by doing an on-screen feud playing off the legitimate personal issue.
Edge came into his own during this period, as Lita did a great job in her new "slutty" heel persona and they did a great job playing off of each other.
Still, after the Hardy feud ended, he didn't have much to do, and the year-long period for cashing in his title shot was a few months away from expiring. To solve this, he cashed in after WWE Champion John Cena won an Elimination Chamber match by the skin of his teeth at the 2006 New Year's Revolution event and quickly won the title.
His reign wasn't supposed to be more than get rid of the briefcase and give Cena an opponent for the Royal Rumble three weeks later. In spite of this, he thrived in the role, and Raw's viewership went up during his reign. Having said that, it wasn't just the idea of a fresh face as champion boosting ratings, as the first two of the three intervening Raws were main-evented by:
-A "live sex show" starring Edge and Lita where one of her breasts was accidentally exposed in the highest rated segment in over a year.
- Edge defending the title against longtime ratings draw Ric Flair in a tables, ladders and chairs match.
Still, Edge was thriving, and it was probably a bad idea to cut him off so soon. To be fair to WWE, they did recognize this, as he was put back into the WWE Championship picture that summer. From that point on, he was a consistent main eventer and went on to hold WWE's world titles another 10 times.
In a WWE Hall of Fame, he absolutely belongs, and it's a fine idea to induct him right away.