Adam Copeland shouldn’t be here.
And neither should his best friend, Jason Reso.
MORE: WWE Royal Rumble 2021 results, match grades: Bianca Belair, Edge punch tickets to WrestleManiaThe WWE Superstar known as Edge shocked fans with his return at last year’s Royal Rumble. He entered the 2021 Royal Rumble at No. 1 and went on to win and will get to challenge a champion of his choice at WrestleMania 37. But as big of a moment as that was for Edge, who was forced into a 9-year retirement because of a neck injury, perhaps even greater was seeing Jason “Christian” Reso make his stunning return just a year later. It was a tear-jerker for fans to see the two embrace. But now that it is behind him, the 47-year-old has an important choice to make. He spoke with Sporting News about whether we can see the return of Edge & Christian as a tag team, weighed in on WWE Champion Drew McIntyre and WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and explained how this run is more about Adam Copeland than it is about the character known as Edge.Sporting News: First thing’s first: Did you know that Christian was going to make his return?Edge: I was one of the few that was privy to the fact that he got cleared a few months ago. We didn’t know he was going to be in the Rumble until Friday, though. I was in the midst of driving down to his house from North Carolina to stay for the weekend. And then we found out and we’re like “OK, well, we’ll drive over to the rumble together then.”SN: Pro wrestling may have its fair share of theatrics but there are times when the emotions are real. Can you talk about what was going through your head as you saw your best friend walking down the ramp in 2021? I’m assuming neither of you thought you’d see this.E: Nope. We didn’t think we’d ever be back, period. And I think that’s what was going through my mind. Even though I knew it was going to happen, still, to see him walking down there, and for me to have been in the ring by that point for like 35 minutes, I just had to take a second. I’m learning to take these moments to really savor it. And in doing so, I’m pulling in the audience because what they’re seeing from me is real. They are seeing Adam Copeland react to seeing Jason Reso coming down to do something that he was never supposed to do again, while I’m doing something that I’m not supposed to have ever been able to do again. That’s special and it’s real. So, let it be real. And, hopefully, the audience can feel a sense that this is indeed a genuine moment in the midst of the theatre of the absurd. And that’s when you get special moments in the world of wrestling.SN: Are you aware of how significant that moment was for fans?E: I guess for me, I think what we both have kind of taken away from this is there are so many real elements within our stories that I think people can relate to. If people are struggling through things in life, they can see that Adam and Jay have struggled through some things, and you can get through them and that’s real. I think people can relate to that. We came up with a new T-shirt for me that says, “Earn your scars.” I wear my scars and I cannot help it. They are there and I can’t apologize for them nor would I. I started getting these comments from people saying things like, “That’s gonna be my shirt for my last round of chemo.” That’s when it started dawning on me that this is bigger than just a wrestling storyline because there’s so much truth to it. Rocky Balboa is still my favorite character in the history of characters, and it was just all about getting up and continuing to get up. That’s the story of Edge and Christian: Just keep getting up.SN: Is this your Rocky moment of overcoming the odds?E: It seems blasphemous since it is such an iconic character to me. This wasn’t supposed to happen for me, but it is. I always said that Edge is purely a character. I’m Adam until I go through that curtain. Then I am Edge. Edge is a pretty horrible human being, character-wise. But this incarnation of Edge is basically Adam. This is a really transparent character now and that’s a lot of fun. I really feel like, mentally, this is the best I’ve ever been. Now it’s just a matter of whether my body can continue to keep up with that. And I don’t know how long that is. But that’s also part of the beauty of this thing is we just don’t know. So I want to enjoy it while it’s happening because I don’t know when it’s gonna stop.SN: Last year, you surprised the WWE Universe by making your return in front of a full house at the Royal Rumble. This year, you enter the Royal Rumble under completely different circumstances because of COVID. How jarring was that for you considering that much of the emotion comes from the crowd reaction?E: There’s not that same shot of adrenaline that you get from Royal Rumble last year with 45,000 people directing their energy at you. Without that, it feels different and it doesn’t feel as good. But once I saw Randy Orton, I was just dialed in and it was time to go. But I sure do miss audiences. You know I can’t wait to have everybody back to be able to soak this in with me. SN: Walk us through from the time you were injured until getting cleared. When did you know that you’d be able to compete in the Royal Rumble?E: I usually have a gauge when something has happened and my mental calculator kicks in. I said, “OK, this feels like a torn tricep and that’s probably six to eight months. When the injury happened, I knew that I could get back for the Rumble. But it really didn’t start to come together until a few weeks ago. I just made sure that I trained accordingly so that I could be ready. I never stopped training cardio and I got to the point where I could do burpees and pull ups again. On top of my cardio, I implemented a workout so that I could be able to pull off an hour in the Royal Rumble.SN: In the end, Randy Orton comes back and you end up eliminating him to win. There’s a great photo of you kneeling and looking at the WrestleMania sign. What was going through your mind considering that this was much different than you winning in 2010. E: When I said my promo to announce that I was gonna be in the Rumble and the stakes were higher, everything I said was real. They do feel higher given the timeframe I am working in. If I’m going to come back and give something to the business in the time that I’m here or help some of the talent, I gotta do it. I need to be out front to try, help lead the charge and spread some knowledge around. That’s why I wanted to come back. So when I’m looking at the WrestleMania sign, these dreams that just seemed astronomically impossible before are now happening. It’s easy to tap into that emotion that I feel because you are getting Adam up there now. And Adam is really stoked to be doing all of this. I am savoring it and sitting in the present with it. Everything you saw on my face was all real. SN: When you were forced to retire, Roman Reigns hadn’t joined WWE yet and Drew McIntyre was a very young talent who had yet to mature. Now they represent two possible opponents at WrestleMania. Have you kept an eye on their growth?E: There was a time when I first had to retire that I had to really walk away from the industry. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it anymore, it was because I couldn’t do it. And that hurt. I needed to take a couple of years to adapt and figure out what life was now without this thing that that’s consumed almost every waking moment of me. And in that time, here comes Roman Reigns. Drew McIntyre leaves. By the time I come back, Roman is starting to become who he is now and Drew is coming back after leaving to find himself. Drew took full responsibility for the mistakes he made in the past and came back to flip the world on its head. I’ve watched all of that happen. And to see them now both fully blossom into, I think, the characters, performing at their highest level, that’s really exciting. It’s an embarrassment of riches because you can’t go wrong. I truly feel like you get Drew when you see Drew McIntyre. That’s who he is. And with Reigns, I think this is the guy that I always wanted to see because I always saw it was in there. As a performer, you see a guy like him and say, “Oh man, that guy hasn’t tapped in yet. But when he does, look out!” And him not tapping was still probably the top guy in the industry. So now you got this guy who has been allowed the freedom to find what his voice is in this storytelling business. That’s exciting. And now as a performer that can possibly get into a storyline with him, that’s the kind of thing that I came back for. I want to craft those kinds of stories that hopefully kids watching now will talk about in their teen years just like I talked about Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage or Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart. SN: You and Reigns have similarities that go beyond the Spear vs. Spear storyline. You were both in situations where your career was threatened. Yours was an injury and his was cancer. Doesn’t that make a feud between you two a much meatier storyline?E: There are so many similarities. I used to enter the ring through the crowd when I was with The Brood and he did the same as part of The Shield. We both use the Spear as our finisher and we both look a little bit alike with very large craniums. You know, you really can’t go wrong with either and that’s an amazing place to be. Whichever path I choose, I feel there are really compelling stories to tell where being transparent brings more money into this. I think the days of a character like the Repo Man wouldn’t work now. I think our audience needs to see something that’s much more nuanced now. In the nine years that I was gone, with the acting work that I did, I studied and brought as much of that back here as I could. That’s super exciting. SN: We are now on the Road to WrestleMania, which means we have some time. Can we expect an Edge and Christian tag team run leading up to your title match?
E: I have no idea. I truly don’t. Man, that would be fun! Even just in terms of the matchups. There are all these new matches that never seemed could have happened. But think about an Edge and Christian vs. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins match. Incredible. That was never supposed to happen. That could feasibly happen now. That’s goosebumps stuff.SN: How does being a father of two young girls who never really knew their father as a pro wrestler affect your motivation in this run? E: Well, I think any anxiety or tension I have derived from that is because I’ve bigger responsibilities now it’s not just about me. They’re part of the reason why I’m doing this too. I want them to see that if you work, you can accomplish what you set out to do. They don’t watch wrestling and have never seen wrestling. I don’t know if they are ready for that. They understand that I played a Viking and wore a prosthetic nose. It’s such an innocent place for them. But we needed to have a conversation because people come up and ask for a picture or an autograph. Or they have a teddy bear. We have to explain that not every daddy has a teddy bear. So, this is just what we have chosen to do with our lives and mom (Beth Phoenix) did the same thing. But I’d like to think before this is done, hopefully we’ll both be of an age where they can at least come and even just soaking in the feeling of the audience. I think that that would be pretty fun. But, again, I think any anxiety or nervousness I have now doesn’t ever derive from if I can pull off a match. Now it is all about being safe, and I got to make sure that I get back to my family.