One of the biggest news stories of 2011 was WWE Superstar Edge, real name Adam Copeland, announcing his retirement on Monday Night Raw just two weeks after having successfully retained the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVII against Alberto Del Rio.
The toll of working a full time WWE schedule on a surgically repaired neck for seven years had finally caught up with him. He'd started suffering from numbness and uncontrollable trembling in his arms and hands, so he had an MRI performed with WWE's Medical Director Dr. Joseph Maroon, who subsequently diagnosed him with spinal stenosis, a condition that wrestling with would risk paralysis or even death and one that couldn't be completely cured. Therefore, Dr. Maroon concluded that he would never clear his patient to wrestle for WWE ever again.
Thankfully, Edge took that news to heart and bowed out of the squared circle immediately with his head held high, proud that he had already accomplished every goal he had set for himself before starting his lengthy wrestling career.
Over the past fortnight, Edge has been back in the media spotlight again, promoting his appearances as "Dwight Hendrickson" on the third season of the supernatural SyFy drama Haven that started airing on Friday Sept. 21st, the same night and network that WWE Smackdown airs on. Naturally, this included an appearance on the Sept. 21st edition of SmackDown to plug Haven, which WWE wisely used to have Edge attempt to play peacemaker between Daniel Bryan and Kane, only for Damien Sandow to thwart his attempt to get a group hug, a segment that made the most of Edge's comedic flair.
On Wednesday, his media rounds led him to do a lengthy, candid interview on The Matthew Aaron Show, where the subject of his neck injuries came up. When asked by Aaron whether the many risky Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) matches he had during his career were to blame, he agreed that they led to his neck deteriorating much faster and that the blessing of being so adept at these stunt shows, quickly became a curse:
"I think the TLCs is what really sped it up, sped the process along. I ended up kind of getting pigeonholed into those matches too, you know, I've had more ladder matches than anybody in history, so when you show that you can do them with a wide variety of opponents, then suddenly it's like 'Oh, we want Ric Flair to have a ladder match, well put him in with Edge, he's had twenty of them' and that's kind of how that ended up working."
Edge then revealed that even though he hasn't taken a bump in nearly 18 months, his neck is still bothering him and that he will be needing neck surgery in November to correct the ongoing pain from his cervical stenosis:
"Well, I mean, I got to get surgery November 8th on it, which I've put off basically since I retired and I put it off because you know [WWE] like wanted to put me in the Hall Of Fame this year, well I didn't want to show up in a neck collar having dropped twenty pounds from sitting on my butt, you know, or gained. As I'm getting older it might be gained. I [also] wanted to do "Haven", I wanted to make that commitment, so I kept putting the surgery off that, you know, the reason I had to retire is because [the WWE doctors] said you got stenosis, we got to clean out the pressure on your spinal cord, so I was like OKAY, but I said maybe it would feel better when I stopped getting thrown around. Now it feels better, but I still got to get it done, so November 8th I get that done."
It should take Edge only four months to recover from the surgery, a much quicker turnaround than if he was still wrestling. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin had similar surgery on Jan. 17th 2000 and it took him eight months to return to the ring.
As Dave Meltzer noted in the Oct. 2, 2012 subscriber only Wrestling Observer Newsletter, this may partly explain the sudden departure of Edge's girlfriend Beth Phoenix from WWE. It makes sense that Phoenix would want to be off the road when her partner gets neck surgery, so she can be at home all the time to help him convalesce.