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The secret origin of, and masterplan for, Edge’s comeback

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After spending several months trying to throw wrestling fans off the scent, Edge popped us all with a not-totally-a-surprise return at Royal Rumble. As he gets ready for his next match at WrestleMania 36, the Rated R Superstar talked to ESPN about how we got here... and what he has planned for us after his Last Man Standing match with Randy Orton airs this weekend (April 4 - 5).

The journey started, as most things do, with Sheamus and a mountain bike.

“It started dawning on me that this could be a possibility when Sheamus came to town, and we were filming an episode of his Celtic Warrior workout show. He wants to do different challenging things that he hasn’t done before, and I love to mountain bike. ... In the process of doing that — this stupid competitive thing — I’m flying down a mountain, I hit this one jump, and I wiped out.

It’s a pretty gnarly wipeout. I was going probably 20, 25 mph, landed on these stones, rolled right up to my feet. But I’m fine. I was all cut up, but my neck was fine. Couple that with doing all of these fight scenes over the years on sets — some pretty physical stuff, especially with ‘Vikings’ — and I thought, ‘OK, I feel really good.’My family doctor just said, ‘Let’s get some pictures on it, just see where you’re at, and we’ll see a spine specialist here in Asheville.’ [I] did that, met with [the specialist]. He said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. Obviously, it’s working for you,’ and that’s when I floated out the, ‘But what about wrestling?’

That led to trips to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama, and Dr. Jospeh Maroon in Pittsburgh. That’s when secrecy started to come back into play, and where he needed help from some Top Guys, and one Top Gal.

“I talked to [Triple H, Paul Levesque], and I said, ‘I can’t go to a ring anywhere because people will start seeing me. I can’t go to the PC.’ So they sent me a ring. I got a warehouse space, and I set up a ring and basically had my own personal Field of Dreams, and I just got in there and got to work. Thankfully, I’m married to another Hall of Famer who can pick up and body slam me, which you can’t say for a lot of wives. The Revival, they both live in Asheville, so they’d come, and they’d get in there with me, and they’d put me through my paces.

I was keeping up with them. I wasn’t tired, and I wasn’t sore, and I thought, ‘OK, this is going to happen, and this is going to happen at a level that I wanted.’ I didn’t want to come back and be anything less than what I was. I’m going to have to work differently. I’m going to have different limitations ... I still want to be able to go in there and be able to go half an hour.”

As for what’s next, Edge has a list of possible opponents (some of whom could mean he’ll be traveling to where his wife works on normal Wednesdays)...

“AJ Styles and Edge has to happen. In 25 years in the same industry, we’ve never touched. How is that possible? Guy like Roman Reigns, man, he’s special. He’s a leader, and he needs other leaders, and that’s what I can be. We felt a little bit of that at the Rumble, too. Seth Rollins has to happen. Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Nakumura, Sami Zayn, Aleister Black for sure, Matt Riddle, WALTER, Tommaso Ciampa, Velveteen Dream. Give them all to me, man. I just want to come in and work my tuchus off and have fun.”

... and a plan. But he’s not gonna tell us too much about that part yet. He’ll big picture it for us, though...

“I have a vision. I believe if you can visualize it, you can make it happen. I have a vision for the whole thing. I’m not going to spoil it, though. When it is time to walk away, I want people to say, ‘Oh, my God, I think he was better this time.’ That’s the challenge. This story has never been written before. No one has ever taken nine years off. No one has ever come back from a triple-fusion. It’s a blank canvas, and the story I want to try and tell, I just want it to be compelling. I want it to be fun for everybody.

Like I said in the first promo back, man, I just hope you come along for the ride with me because I am going to have a blast.”

Elsewhere in the piece, Edge talks again about how having the next big match in his return with no fans in attendance isn’t how he envisioned things. But he says he’s still excited about the opportunity.

Check out the whole interview here, and let us know if you’re excited for what Edge has planned for us this weekend - and beyond - in the comments below.