The Evolution of a Superstar: Edge
We started this last weekend, and we continue it. It's time for the next installment of Evolution.
We're not doing the heels completely off the bat, but we have to discuss the two biggest heels in the WWE today.
You may not like their methods or how they handle things, but you can't argue the results.
Thanks to their own form of justice, they managed to accomplish something even bigger than themselves. Is it all starting to come together now?
If not, maybe it will after this article.
Last weekend, we took a stroll down memory lane with Randy Orton. Today, we take a trip from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to WWE HQ, and take a look back at the illustrious climb to superstardom for Adam Copeland...
But you may know him simply as The Rated R Superstar: Edge!
Edge: The Beginning of "You Think You Know Me..."
On June 30, 1998, the World Wrestling Federation was introduced to a loner character that would arrive to the ring through the crowd.
This young looking fierce lion would show a wild side in the ring that was only evened out by his constant obsession with screaming towards the sky after the match.
This individual was simply known as Edge.
Edge spent the majority of 1998 in a feud with Gangrel, and it was during that feud that the WWF Nation was introduced to another mysterious figure who also appeared through the crowd: Edge's "brother," Christian.
Following a brief war with Christian, Edge eventually joined his brother and Gangrel to form "The Brood."
In 1999, The Brood became a part of The Ministry, led by The Undertaker. But their alliance with Undertaker was short-lived as The Brood stood together and left the faction.
Edge later won his first singles title when he defeated Jeff Jarrett to become Intercontinental Champion.
But Edge's biggest moment came after The Brood left The Ministry and was introduced to a new tag team on the rise: The Hardy Boyz.
"For The Benefit of Those With Flash Photography..."
Edge was feeling on top of the world when he won the IC Title, but he unfortunately lost it the next night to Jarrett.
So there was only one thing to do: Continue making The Brood as intimidating as their entrance.
Unfortunately, Gangrel had other plans.
Edge and Christian were introduced to Matt and Jeff Hardy in the most physical of ways when Gangrel turned on his former Brood members and formed The New Brood with The Hardy Boyz.
The two tag teams would battle for months with an arsenal of tables and chairs. This is where the world was introduced to "The Conchairto."
The two teams battled in the first tag team ladder match, where the prize was the managerial services of Terri Runnels and $100,000.
Despite losing, the fans embraced Edge and Christian. But there was still something missing from the puzzle.
Insert Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley.
A product of the Original ECW, The Dudley Boyz brought their loud T-Shirts, freaky sunglasses and smashmouth attitude to the WWF.
The trio of tag teams not only provided a great storyline for WWF Fans...they also introduced the world to:
TABLES, LADDERS & CHAIRS!
At WrestleMania 2000, the tag teams dueled it out for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
In the end, E&C finally arrived and won the gold at the 16th Edition of WM. The world was introduced to a new segment called, "The 5-Second Pose."
Unfortunately, with success came jealousy...and it didn't take long for it to come in full force for Edge.
Edge: Never Gonna Stop!
Following his 2001 King of the Ring victory, Edge found himself in unfamiliar territory: Envy.
Thanks to his success on the singles circuit, Edge found himself in the middle of a war with Christian due to Christian's obsession with not having the spotlight.
The two would feud for quite a while before Edge left for SmackDown the following year. Upon his arrival, he was locked into a rivalry with a familiar foe: Kurt Angle.
Their rivalry culminated at Judgment Day when Edge defeated Angle in a "Hair vs. Hair" Match...the match that still remains a part of WWE History.
Following the match, Edge joined forces with Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Tag Team Championships.
But Edge's biggest victory in tag team action came later that year when he joined forces with idol Hulk Hogan to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships once again.
Things were going good for Edge, but a neck injury sidelined for a majority o 2003.
Upon his return, Edge won the Tag Team gold once again, this time with Chris Benoit.
After losing the gold, he defeated Randy Orton to become Intercontinental Champion once again. But a groin injury put him on the shelf once again.
Upon his return from that injury, Edge was a completely different person. He was more sadistic...more psychotic...more deranged. Dare I say it?
More Rated R?
The Birth of The Rated R Era
When Edge was denied the right to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at Taboo Tuesday, he made it his business to get ahead in the business.
This prompted his "Win at all costs" attitude, and led to his monumental moment months later at WrestleMania 21.
After a series of battles with Shawn Michaels, which culminated at the Royal Rumble, Edge went on to become the first winner of the Money In The Bank Ladder Match.
It was during this match that Edge showed that very attitude that almost got him the title several times before.
He proved his relentless demeanor by slamming a steel chair on Chris Benoit just moments before Benoit could snag the briefcase.
But before he could seize the glory of being World Champion, he was involved in some on-screen/off-screen drama.
Edge began a much publicized affair with Amy "Lita" Dumas, the then-girlfriend of Matt Hardy.
The affair took a controversial turn when Hardy was released by the WWE a short time later.
Despite the affair, Edge continued to garner heat with his "Sexy-Flexy" girlfriend by his side.
Upon Hardy's return, the two would engage in a series of brutal matches. But the end would come for Hardy as he was sent to SmackDown after losing a "Loser Leaves RAW" Ladder Match.
With his Hardy troubles over, Edge returned his focus on becoming World Champion. While rehabbing from injury, Edge introduced the world to two things: The Cutting Edge and his new persona: The Rated R Superstar.
He also got involved in a rivalry with Ric Flair that ended at New Year's Revolution with Flair a bloody mess...and Edge as....
Rated R Domination
After his battle with Flair, Edge cashed in his MITB Briefcase and defeated a bloodied and battered John Cena to win his first major singles championship.
He would hold the gold for a few weeks before losing it to Cena at the Royal Rumble.
But Edge would not be denied the taste of the gold as he defeated Rob Van Dam and Cena in a Triple Threat Match later that year.
At the end of the year, Edge was on top of the world...but for how long?
After defeating Cena in Cena's hometown of Boston at Summerslam, Edge ended the era known as The Chain Gang Era and ushered in the Rated R Era of WWE.
He emphasized it by having his girlfriend Lita toss Cena's custom WWE Championship into the Long Island Sound and unveiled his new Rated R WWE Championship.
But Edge's war with Cena was far from over as he was tossed into the very same LI Sound later that night.
The two met up once again at Unforgiven in a TLC Match, a match that Edge lost in his hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Following an interference from DX, Edge joined forces with Randy Orton in an effort to obliterate DX from WWE for good. They used every tactic necessary, including decimating the teacher of both members of DX, Ric Flair during a RAW broadcast.
The war finally ended at New Year's Revolution, and Edge began refocusing on reclaming the World Title.
Edge used his Ultimate Opportunist background to defeat Mr. Kennedy to lay claim to Kennedy's MITB Briefcase. 24 hours later, he waltzed into SmackDown, cashed it in and defeated The Undertaker to win his first World Heavyweight Championship.
After relinquishing the gold due to injury, he returned at Survivor Series and prevented The Undertaker from reclaiming the gold.
During that time, he was also involved with SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. This allowed him to get right back into the title hunt, and at Armageddon, it paid off.
Thanks to the use of the title (again), Edge defeated both The Undertaker and Batista to win the World Heavyweight Championship once again.
Unfortunately, his Rated R lifestyle led to a sordid affair with wedding planner Alicia Fox, and as punishment, he was forced to face The Undertaker.
After a brief hiatus, Edge returned at Survivor Series to defeat Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov to become WWE Champion once again. He lost it a month later to Jeff Hardy, but thanks to Jeff's brother, Matt, Edge would win it again.
His finest hour of 2009 came when he lost the WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out...and snuck into the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match to win the gold.
Sadly, he lost it at WrestleMania 25 to John Cena, but he will have one final chance to reclaim the gold at Backlash in a Last Man Standing Match.
What's Next for the Rated R Superstar?
Edge has accomplished a huge amount in his 10-year illustrious career. In fact, it's safe to say that he will be in the Hall of Fame when his career draws to a close.
And what earns him the right to be considered?
11-Time World Tag Team Champion. 5-Time Intercontinental Champion. 2001 King of The Ring. 8-Time World Champion. Two-Time Money In The Bank Winner. And of course: Lifetime Rated R Superstar.
So what is next for Edge to do? When you've done everything, what is left to do in the WWE?
Simply put: Continue winning World Championships and surpass both Triple H and Ric Flair...that is, if your body can still handle it.
You think you know me? You bet your Rated-R ass I do.
Next on Evolution: John Cena