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This month: WWE Superstar Edge

A native of Orangeville, ON, WWE’s Edge (né Adam Copeland) made his debut in the then-WWF on a June, 1998 episode of Monday Night RAW.  In the eight-plus years since, the charismatic Canuck has made his mark as one of the company’s leading Superstars, swinging ably from heel (bad guy) to babyface (good guy) and back again.  Having held the WWF/E Tag Team, Intercontinental, and World Heavyweight Championship belts all multiple times over, the 32-year-old is currently in the mix with the likes of John Cena and Triple H for the World Heavyweight crown on a weekly basis.

So how difficult was it growing up as a Leafs fan?

Edge: The [Harold] Ballard years were pretty abysmal.  There were some lean years there which of course made me despise the Canadiens because they were one of the dynasties of the era.  When I was a kid I would always root for the underdog, and the Leafs… well, they still are the perennial underdog (laughs).

Edge remains a huge hockey fan, and sure knows his NHL history.

1967, right?

Edge: Yeah (laughs).

Our boy Aaron Downey says he played minor hockey with you.  Do you remember him?

Edge: Oh yeah, he’s got these big old mitts, that’s why he has a good punch.  He’s a good guy; he grew up in Shelburne and I grew up in Orangeville, and those are neighboring towns.  We ended up meeting up here and there throughout both of our travels, and I remember I was in the States watching ESPN and there he was taking out some dude with one punch.  I think it was their “Highlight of the Night” (chuckles).

What kind of player were you?

Edge: Big.  I was there strictly to hit and to make sure nobody got over the blue line.

Was there a lot of referee interference during your games?

Edge: (laughs) Not so much, no.  That came later in my career.

When did you know things weren’t going to work out for you as a future NHL’er?

Edge: It was the cost of the game.  It was just too much… I came from a single-parent household, and my mom and I couldn’t afford it.  I could afford soccer, you know?  All I needed was a pair of shoes.  But each year, I was growing and growing and growing and growing, and we couldn’t afford the new equipment and couldn’t afford the cost to join the league.  I know that with my cousins playing now, that’s still the case, especially with all my cousins being goalies and growing out of their pads every year.  I already knew by that point, too, that I wanted to be a wrestler, anyway.

You were converted at Wrestlemania VI?

Edge: Oh no, way before that.  I was 14 of 15 by then, and it must have been six or seven years prior that I realized I wanted to get into it.

Though their careers have taken them in different directions, Aaron Downey and Edge once laced up their skates together in their minor hockey days.

What NHL player playing today would make the best WWE Superstar?

Edge:  I always said Scott Stevens, even though he’s not playing right now, would have made a great wrestler because of the impact of some of his hits. That one hit he laid on [Paul] Kariya in the Finals, where you could see Kariya wake up and his breath suddenly fill up his visor, or the hit where he took out [Eric] Lindros… He was just a physical, physical player, and I remember seeing him years ago, when he was still playing for the Capitals, all jacked up just wearing his hockey pants without a shirt on in some photo, and thinking, “Damn, hockey players look like that?!”  He’s definitely the guy that jumps to mind for me, even though he’s retired.

You’re not doing the tag-team thing so much anymore, but if you were, would Stevens be your ideal partner, then?

Edge: I don’t know who I’d pick as a tag-team partner, actually.  Maybe somebody small and quick, like a [Martin] St. Louis (laughs).

Montreal rates as one of the better hockey cities, obviously, but how would you rate it as a wrestling town?

Edge: Aw, it’s a great wrestling town.  A lot of what Montreal and Toronto fans do and react to dictates eventually how the rest of wrestling crowds around the world react.  Montreal was where the “One… TWO!!!” chant started during referee counts, where we had the Bret Hart-Vince McMahon screwjob [at the 1997 Survivor Series], and where Hulk Hogan got a 10-minute standing ovation the night after losing to the Rock at Wrestlemania in Toronto.  It’s definitely a wrestling hotbed here, along with places like Toronto, Chicago, New York, Tampa, L.A… It’s right up there.

How often have you used a hockey stick as a foreign object in your matches?

Edge: Only a couple of times, actually.  I remember once I used a goalie mask to block the stinkface from [the 350-plus pound] Rikishi, though… Rikishi used to get his opponents down in a corner and then back his rear end into their face; [former tag team partner] Christian handed me a goalie mask and I threw it on and blocked it.  I think it was a Red Wings mask because I was in Detroit, though right now I’d probably wear an Avalanche mask if we were in Detroit (laughs).

Who do you like better: Crosby or Ovechkin?

Edge:  Crosby.  Ovechkin might end up with more points, but as an all-around player I think down the road everyone will realize Crosby is more important to his team.  He’s more than an individual with impressive point totals.

Hockey players need to answer to their coach, to a certain extent, but you need to answer to Vince McMahon.  What’s that like?

Edge: It depends on what day of the week you ask me. (chuckles)  It depends on whether or not we’re butting heads that day.  We can get along splendidly, or we can butt heads.

What’s worse: a crosscheck in the back, or an unprotected chair shot?

Edge: An unprotected chair shot.  No doubt about it.  Every time it happens you taste copper; it’s like sucking on a penny.  I think that’s a sign of a concussion.

Give us the greatest wrestler of all-time and the greatest hockey player of all time.

Despite growing up as a die-hard Leafs fan, WWE superstar Edge admired several Habs greats, including Guy Lafleur.

Edge: Well, I have a problem saying anybody’s the greatest anything because it’s too subjective…

Okay, then give us your biggest influences as a wrestler and the biggest influences on you when you were playing hockey.

Edge: My biggest influences, I can narrow it down to three, wrestling-wise: Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels.  For hockey, hmm.  As a kid I liked Guy Lafleur a lot, even though I wasn’t a Canadiens fan.  You know, his hair, the way he’d glide… Man, I said I wasn’t a Canadiens fan, but I liked Ken Dryden a lot, too.  That classic pose of him resting his chin on his hockey stick… I guess in general I was just a fan of the Original Six and I’d read up on them a lot.  I loved Johnny Bower because he almost seemed to be too frail to be in nets without a mask on, but there he was.  The Terry Sawchuks, the Glenn Halls, guys like that – I remember being fascinated by the masks.  Gerry Cheevers’ mask was incredible.  Jacques Plante’s first archaic mask is unforgettable.  There were so many I liked: Mike Liut, Bunny Larocque – I would sit there and draw goalies.  I loved Gump Worsley because he looked like the opposite of what you’d expect a goalie to look like.  I was definitely a goalie guy, but guys like obviously Gretzky and Lafleur were huge.  Denis Savard was great just because of the things he could do – the spin-o-ramas and all that – and he’s actually someone who doesn’t get talked about all that much.  Some of his moves were simply phenomenal.

Edge will be in action at the home of the Flyers, Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center, on November 26 for the 2006 WWE Survivor Series.  He can also be seen every Monday on RAW at 9:00 p.m. on the USA Network in the U.S. or at 10:00 p.m. on The Score in Canada.

J.S. Trzcienski is a special contributor to canadiens.com.

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