Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw, a bombshell was dropped when World Heavyweight Champion Adam "Edge" Copeland announced his retirement from professional wrestling due to worsening spinal injuries. In one of the most emotional segments on a wrestling program in the last few years, he went over his life as a wrestling fan and his career before explaining that his neck pain had gotten worse and he started to lose feeling in his arms, so he had an MRI done, showing severe damage. His doctor told him to retire, and he didn't fight it. WWE.com has a video of the speech up. After Raw went off the air, Randy Orton and John Cena both paid tribute to Edge (with Cena going out of his way to also refer to him as "Adam Copeland"), and WWE.com also has video of Cena's speech available. Edge will be vacating the World Heavyweight Championship at tonight's Smackdown tapings.
Since the post last night, more information has surfaced. WWE.com's Greg Adkins explained the severity of his injuries in his article about the announcement:
The Rated-R Superstar had been suffering numbness and uncontrollable trembling in his arms and hands. This is not the first time Edge has experienced these symptoms of nueropraxia. An MRI administered at Atlanta Midtown Diagnostic Imaging last Monday was sent to Dr. Joseph Maroon, a renowned neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery at The Pittsburgh School of Medicine. After careful examination of the MRI, it was determined that Edge would never be cleared to compete again, and thus, he is forced to retire.
In 2003, Edge underwent a two level spinal fusion of the discs between his C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae. After being cleared to compete, The Rated-R Superstar returned to the ring, resulting in stenosis of the spine, or a narrowing of the spinal column, above and below the fused discs. This narrowing resulted in less and less of the vital fluid needed to protect the spinal cord. Medical professionals cannot clear Edge to compete ever again in WWE since doing so could result in paralysis or even death.
Steve Austin was suffering from spinal stenosis when he had a similar spinal fusion operation done in 1999. It's a very scary situation, especially after the in-ring death legendary Japanese wrestler, booker, and Pro Wrestling Noah promoter Mitsuharu Misawa almost two years ago. Misawa had severe neck damage after years of hard bumps on head-drop moves, but hadn't seen a doctor in a very long time. In the match where he died, he took a back suplex at an ugly angle, was internally decapitated, and died within minutes.
At F4WOnline.com, Bryan Alvarez has more details on Edge's situation in today's daily update, which supplemented information provided on last night's free edition of Wrestling Observer Radio with himself and Dave Meltzer. Edge went into Wrestlemania knowing it might be his last match, as he had the MRI scheduled for the next day. He didn't have the results back until after the Smackdown tapings that took place the following night. While he was probably pretty sure that the prognosis was bad, he still speared Brodus Clay (the spear has been blamed in the past for his, Bill Goldberg's, and Terry "Rhyno" Gerin's neck problems), which appeared to be a big mistake, as he went down, grabbed his neck, and crled up on the floor. Alvarez thinks that since WWE was fully aware of the injury situation, they may have decided against changing the title at Wrestlemania in his match with Alberto Del Rio so he could go out on top and retire as champion.
As you might expect, as with the death of Alex "Larry Sweeney" Whybrow earlier in the day, there was an outpouring of emotions on Twitter from wrestlers and fans to the point that both "Edge" and "Adam Copeland" were trending keywords. Hulk Hogan, who recently had his spine fused after many less invasive procedures were unsuccessful, leaving him in terrible pain, decided to chime in with...this...
@jays712 if any of the guys like me,Flair,Hardy,Andre,AA,Blanchard,orndoff,Henning would have listened to doctors we would have quit15yrsago
@jays712 but I don't know Edges working environment because they are a media company not a wrestling company. HH wrestlers work hurt!
What about Foley! I bet EDGE still wants to keep wrestling,he's one of the boys big time!!! HH
After he started to get heat for his comments, he came back with this:
@Only_1Abz my take is with a unfixable neck injury it's over ,but he's one of the boys and it will be hard to keep him down,he's 4life HH
I'm not saying anything bad about Edge but he's a real wrestler,Stone Cold and Cena had neck surgery and u couldn't stop em,Or Edge it's in
Edges blood,he lives for this business he's a real wrestler,he a lifer,he's one of the real boys,he's hard to hold down,that's all. HH
@kartikaitha i don't understand you saying I'm mad,it's going to be interesting to see how he handles his wrestling life after some time HH
See, he wasn't calling Edge a weakling for retiring on his doctor's orders (unlike Andre The Giant...after he had been dead for 3 years...), he was just wondering how a wrestler who saved his money, bought his retirement home, and planned to retire next year was going to adjust away from wrestling. Yeah, that's it...