Adam Joseph Copeland, who would later perform as Edge, was born October 30, 1973. Growing up he was a fan of Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. In high school he went to see Hulk Hogan battle The Ultimate Warrior in the main event of Wrestlemania XI at The Sky Dome in Toronto, a formative moment in his career. He earned a free scholarship to Sweet Daddy Siki and Ron Hutchison’s wrestling school by winning an essay contest, then wrestled in the independent leagues of Ontario and the Great Lakes area as Sexton Hardcastle. He formed a tag team called The Suicide Blondes (or, alternately, The Canadian Rockers) with his best friend from high school, Christian Cage (Jay Reso).
He was signed by the WWF in 1998, playing Edge, a techno-culture drifter in a long black coat who entered the arena through the crowd. His first match, against Jose Estrada Jr., ended prematurely when he legitimately injured his opponent’s neck. He began to feud with a vampire, Gangrel, only to discover that Gangrel had recruited the services of his on screen brother, Christian. Rather than continuing to fight Edge joined the cult and together they were known as The Brood. The group joined with The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness but quickly broke off again after Christian got into trouble and was going to be sacrificed by The Undertaker. Gangrel dumped Edge and Christian for Matt and Jeff Hardy to form The New Brood. The teams fought in a triple threat ladder match along with The Dudley Boyz at Wrestlemania 2000, a match that would later be called the first TLC match. They won, then won again at a rematch at SummerSlam, then won a third rematch at Wrestlemania X-Seven.
Edge won the King of the Ring tournament in 2001, historically a platform for rising singles stars the way the Money in the Bank ladder match has become more recently. Christian became jealous and broke off to allow both to succeed in the more coveted singles division. They feuded over the Intercontinental and United States Championships. Edge played the hero, later defeating Booker T at Wrestlemania 18 in the same arena where he had, as a boy, watched Wrestlemania 6. After being drafted to the Smackdown brand, Edge defeated Kurt Angle in a hair vs. hair match and physically shaved his head, a look that Angle maintains to this day. He won the tag team titles twice more, once teaming with Rey Mysterio and the second time Hulk Hogan.
In 2003 Edge legitimately injured his neck and he was on the shelf for over a year. Upon his return he almost immediately injured his hand, forcing him to miss another month. He won the Intercontinental Title and turned heel after cheating repeatedly to defend it, but he was stripped of the gold after suffering a legitimate groin injury.
When he came back he was a main eventer, a crazed villain with severe anger management issues, obsessed with never having won the world title. He came up short in opportunity after opportunity, becoming increasingly hysterical, until finally he won the first ever Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 21. When it came out that the performer, Adam Copeland, had taken part in an affair with Matt Hardy’s real life girlfriend, Amy ‘Lita’ Dumas, Edge was hated more than ever before and the audience response was so difficult to ignore that the performers’ love lives were integrated into the script. The two engaged in a series of brutal matches highlighted by extreme stunts with each taking a couple of victories from the other. Edge won out though, defeating Hardy in a Loser Leaves RAW ladder match with significant help from Lita.
At New Year’s Revolution, ten months after winning the Money in the Bank ladder match, Edge cashed in his contract in order to take on WWE champion John Cena, who had just won a grueling Elimination Chamber match. Edge dispatched Cena in less than two minutes to win his first world title. Edge and Lita engaged in simulated victory celebration sex under the covers of a bed that lay in the middle of the ring, in front of a live television audience, in order to humiliate Hardy. He dubbed himself The Rated R Superstar. Edge quickly lost the title back to Cena at the Royal Rumble. After feuding with Ric Flair, Edge went on to fight Mick Foley in a No Holds Barred match at Wrestlemania 22, picking up the win after putting the former champion through a flaming folding table. Edge soon beat Rob Van Damn to win his second world championship, the first time the world title had changed hands on RAW in five years. He engaged in a long term feud with Cena throughout most of the year, eventually losing the title in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match in his own hometown. Edge was legitimately choked to the point of losing consciousness during the match. Edge teamed with Randy Orton to form Team Rated-RKO, feuding with Degeneration X. He qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 23 but was carried away after Jeff Hardy leg dropped him through a ladder from almost twenty feet in the air. The match was eventually won by Mr. Kennnedy.
Edge took Mr. Kennedy’s Money in the Bank contract after challenging and beating him for it. Just days later he cashed in the contract, challenging The Undertaker, who had just survived first a cage match against Batista and then a brutal attack from Mark Henry. Edge won in seconds. Edge was forced to relinquish the title after suffering a legitimately torn pectoral muscle. He was out four months.
When he returned Edge became involved with Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, buttering her up and eventually marrying her in order to gain her favor. She ensured that he was able to defeat The Undertaker for the world championship, leading to a match between the two in the main event of Wrestlemania XXIV at the Citrus Bowl, which The Undertaker won with a gogoplata choke. Edge took the title back yet again in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match at One Night Stand but immediately lost it to CM Punk on RAW. Edge won the title yet again, then lost it yet again to Jeff Hardy at Armageddon 2008. He then won it at the Royal Rumble, lost it again in the opening match of WWE No Way Out 2009 and won it again in the final match later that night. Consequently he held one or the other of the world titles six separate times in one calendar year.