Q&A with Edge
I conducted a phone interview recently with Edge, who defends his world heavyweight title against John Cena and The Big Show in a triple threat match Sunday at WrestleMania 25.
For a guy like you who grew up loving wrestling and was a fan in the audience at WrestleMania VI, what was it like to headline WrestleMania last year?
Oh, geez. I can’t say that I get nervous before matches, not to sound like a big tough guy or anything, but I’m more excited than nervous. So, I was really excited (laughs). I was over-excited, I think. I actually was so amped up that I lost feeling in my arms on my way down to the ring. I don’t know whether it was adrenalin or what. Basically, it was 30 years of buildup to that point for me – maybe not quite 30, but a while – and I just remember being in the ring, looking around and pyro’s going off, I’m wearing the heavyweight championship, and it was all very surreal. You always want that moment but you never necessarily know if that moment’s going to come. When it actually does, I lose feeling in my arms (laughs). You can see me shaking them out as I’m coming to the ring, because I’m thinking, “I can’t work a match here without feeling in my hands.” Thankfully, it came back.
Not only did you wrestle in the main event last year, but you did so against a legendary figure such as The Undertaker. Can you describe what that experience was like?
Amazing. He and I thankfully have very good chemistry together in the ring. I’ve always kind of likened it to Batman and The Joker or Green Goblin-Spiderman. It always just kind of worked, and I was always trying to think of different ways to counter his moves. And for him to counter my counter, and then me to counter his counter to my counter. It was really fun for me to try and figure out ways to do that. When I wrestle a big guy that can go, I think it ends up being my ideal opponent, although I consider a guy like Jeff Hardy an ideal opponent, too. I guess it’s just a matter of different styles and being able to click with a person. You never know if you’re going to or not until you get in there. That was our second singles match ever, at WrestleMania. We had one other singles match down in Chile, and with that I said, “I think we’ve got something here.” And from that point forward, I was really happy with everything we did. To be able to get in there with a guy like that and be happy with it, and to do it on the grandest stage, yeah, it’s pretty cool.
You have certainly had your share of WrestleMania moments. Besides losing feeling in your arms last year, what moment stands out for you?
(Laughs). I have a few. The first time that Christian and I won the tag team championship, standing on that table at WrestleMania 16 was the culmination of a lot of work that him and I put in together, so to do that together was really my first special moment at a WrestleMania. So there’s that one. Even though we were wrestling over a shampoo endorsement, waking out at SkyDome to wrestle at the same place that I sat there 12 years earlier, that was really special. Spearing Jeff in Houston – the super spear I think it’s now been deemed – that was crazy, because who knew if it was going to work? My main concern was Jeff. Once we hit I was a little dizzy, so I can imagine how he felt. Just the relief after that and watching it back. What was really cool for me and made it very rewarding is that it looked like the entire audience bounced. I watched it back and we were like, “Look, look, they just bounced up in the air with it.” (laughs) It shocked them. The big one – and I guess the stupidest one – was the spear [on Mick Foley] through the flaming table.
Who suggested that spot, and you have any trepidation about doing it?
Stupidly, it was my suggestion (laughs). There’s no way Mick would suggest me to go face-first through a flaming table. That was all me. I was just in a mode at that point where I really wanted to show everyone that I felt I deserved to be champ, so I was going to do whatever it took to do that. I think in hindsight that maybe my character needed to show that, “Yeah, OK, I can do the thumb tacks, the barbed wire and the flaming tables stuff, or I can be in there with Eddie Guerrero and try to go hold for hold – may not do it, but I’ll try. I didn’t really realize until after the fact that no one had ever [gone through a flaming table] without a shirt on (laughs), and nobody had gone through face first. I ended up with burns all over my arms, scorched all of my hair off. Looking back, I don’t know if I would do that one again. But at the time it felt like the right thing to do.
As far as taking big bumps, have you made a conscious effort to tone things down a bit and work smarter as you've gained experience and risen up the card?
Well, you definitely have to. I honestly think that’s part of the reason why I got higher on the card. That’s one of the things that I was told right from the beginning. I remember Steve Austin saying, “Yeah, you have to pick and choose. You have to be careful.” And I just thought I was indestructible. So that’s why at No Mercy you would have Edge and Christian against the Hardys just trying to break every boundary that hadn’t been broken yet. But looking back and feeling it when I wake up in the morning, I get it, I understand it. And I really started to understand it once I started garnering more of a reaction from the stuff that I’m doing now as opposed to trying to flip and fly everywhere. I don’t know when it clicked, but when it did, I went, “Huh, so this is how you do it.” (laughs) It’s giving the people time to react, and a lot of it has to do with story line and getting invested in your character and having more speaking time. But along with that, you have to adapt your style. It may be different at the top of the card in Japan, I don’t know, but where I work, if you do too much crazy stuff to where the people can’t keep up, you’re going to lose them. I think for me, Rey Mysterio is awesome because he has all these incredible high-flying moves, but he knows where and when to do them. And he’ll ugly it up with kicks and forearms in there – and I mean that in a good way. To me, it is kind of a dance, but it shouldn’t look like a dance. It’s supposed to look ugly and it’s supposed to look mean, and if you keep that in perspective and always remember to try and keep that part of in there, I think you’re going to be more successful. Plus, I’m kind of midway in size, and I’m not a high-flyer. I never was. I tried to be. I can catch a guy and take the moves, but for me trying to do them may not be the best idea, especially with all the injuries I’ve compiled over the years.
With your longtime friend Christian back in WWE, is it just a matter of time before your paths cross -- either as friends or foes?
I’m hoping they do. I think at some point they have to. I think the audience wants to see it. I always said it’d be cool whenever the day is that one of us or both us of retired to kind of do a little reunion tour before we did. Just because we grew up together and we have been best friends for 25 years, so it would just be a lot of fun to do. It’s been awesome having him back because we ride together again. And we’re just a couple of idiots, so it’s a lot of fun to travel and ride the roads with your best friend.
I want to ask you about another person who was a friend of yours -- Andrew Martin (Test), who died recently. I know that you guys came up around the same time and trained together. What are your thoughts on him, both personally and professionally?
I’ll always laugh – that’ll be my first thought – and think of his voice, and his cooking skills strangely pop into mind, too, because he would always cook for us. Me and Jay [Christian] and Andrew lived in a basement in Calgary for a little while, and he’d always cook. To me, he was always a little underrated as a talent. I always said if I could put my brain in Andrew’s body he’d be a 20-time world champ (laughs). With the right opponent, he could have a really good match. From a personal standpoint, as a friend that I’ve known for a long, long time, it was just very disappointing, disheartening. But what I try and dwell on are the good memories I have.