It's been a fair few years since I watched professional wrestling regularly, something you can trace back to absolute mishandling of the ECW invasion and the death of women's wrestling in favor of juvenile sex fantasies.
That being said, WWE Raw was on the other night and I decided to take in a few matches. One of the things that struck me was that one of my personal favorites, Adam "Edge" Copeland, was no longer among the roster.
Edge was glorious when he debuted just as the Attitude era was getting under way. A mysterious figure in a black trench who used some amazing moves -- which he stole from Kanyon, but who didn't steal from Kanyon? -- Edge was the perfect model of the modern wrestler. Later, he dropped the broody vampire act for a more humorous approach with his onscreen brother Christian, leading to some of the greatest tag-team matches in wrestling history against The Dudley Boys and the Hardy Boys.
When I stopped watching, he was already on his way to a successful solo career.
Unfortunately, a severe neck injury forced Edge to undergo spinal fusion surgery, and eventually his retirement at the young age of 37. At the time, he was the reigning World Heavyweight Champion, and vacated the belt at the top of his game. He later became the youngest living person ever inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Having watched him since the day he debuted, I feel a little bad that I managed to miss the highlights of Edge's career. So to make it up to Mr. Copeland, who turns 39 today, this week's playlist celebrates some of the fantastic entrance themes he utilized over the course of his amazing career.
Jim Johnston composed some truly exceptional entrance music. Edge's first theme taps into a lot of the underground club electronica that was around in the late '90s, and was a perfect accompaniment for a man that at the time didn't speak, only appeared and disappeared enigmatically into the crowd for matches. Even when the track was released on WWF The Music, Vol. 3, the section where wrestlers were supposed to comment on their theme featured only "..."
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At his debut, Edge feuded with Gangrel, a vampire-themed wrestler. Eventually they would unite with Christian as a goth stable called the Brood. The stable was incredibly effective, but Gangrel turned out to be very injury-prone, a fact that hampered their climb up the ranks and eventually led to Edge and Christian splitting off. Too bad, because their entrance coming up through a fire-lined hole in the floor then spitting blood at the audience was one of the best gimmicks ever.
Rob Zombie was the next man to herald the approach of Edge. In 2001 Edge started using the lead single off of The Sinister Urge, and even appeared onstage with Zombie occasionally. You never realize exactly how tiny Rob is until he's standing next to someone the size of Edge. Zombie, who is in Houston tonight with Marilyn Manson at Reliant Arena, also appeared again later in Edge's career when Edge became a heel, telling the rocker his song sucked.
Afer 2007, Edge aligned himself with Randy Orton, perhaps the least likable wrestler of all time, in order to found a very effective heel tag team. The two were responsible for breaking the unbeaten streak the reunified Degeneration X has on the division. Triple H and Shawn Michaels had both handed RKO and Edge defeats that kept them from Heavyweight Title belts, so they unified to try and topple the two legendary main-eventers together. When Triple H was sidelined with a leg injury, the loss of equilibrium from the feud eventually caused Orton and Edge to turn on each other in pursuit of singles gold.
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Edge's final theme was the work of Alter Bridge. Lyrically, it is perhaps the best summation of the wrestler in his prime. Sure, it's kind of a mindless rock tune about overcoming vague obstacles, but listening to it brought back so many great memories of unbelievable physical exhibitions and cheesy yet compelling stories. Happy birthday, Edge. The ring isn't the same without you.