WWE: Adam 'Edge' Copeland on his second chance at a second chance following Royal Rumble win

For Adam 'Edge' Copeland, 2021 provides a second chance at a second chance to do what he loves. 

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar's Royal Rumble win last month came after a nine-month layoff with a torn triceps.

But that's not where Copeland's fairytale story begins or ends - the 47-year-old is more than a decade removed from triple fusion neck surgery that ended his career, while he was at the top of the business in 2011.

Copeland was told by medical specialists that he could never compete inside the ring again - one more bad knock and he could face the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair. 

At age 37, the Canadian announced his retirement.

Flash forward nine years to January 2020 and Copeland made a memorable comeback at the Royal Rumble event in Houston, to a thunderous reaction from the WWE Universe. 

The 'Rated R Superstar' looked better than ever after being cleared by doctors in 2019, thanks to several years of dedicated rehabilitation to his mangled neck. 

But in May, Copeland suffered a serious triceps injury and his comeback story came to an abrupt halt, and once again he was forced to sit on the sidelines and recover.

But last month, Copeland made his return, again at the Royal Rumble, winning the one-hour match from the No. 1 spot and booking his place in the main event at WrestleMania in April. 

For Copeland, the triceps injury was almost a blessing in disguise as it has opened up the possibility of fiction intertwining with reality. 

"What the injury provided is a story where 11 years to the day after I won the Royal Rumble [2010],  I won the Royal Rumble again," Copeland tells Newshub.

"The second day of WrestleMania this year is 10 years to the day that I announced my retirement - you can't map that out or plan it.

"I didn't realise that stuff until fans started pointing it out on social media and it was a wow moment. - the whole thing is a happy accident and it changed the narrative. 

"Those were all things that wouldn't have happened had I not been injured.

"The injury sucked, but this new set of opportunities - this new reality is really exciting and I've refocused on my goals a little bit."

And for Copeland, incorporating reality into any sports entertainment storyline makes a match, a segment or a wrestler more believable.

The 2021 Royal Rumble was full of those moments for Copeland, including the in-ring return of his lifelong friend, Christian (Jason Reso), who has been inactive for seven years after suffering a series of concussions.  

The pair are regarded as one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history after breaking into the business together as teenagers in the early 1990s. 

"Here is where wrestling can work at its purest level, [it] is when you have reality and truth mixed with a story.

"Real emotions that can't be fabricated, can't be written into a storyline and can't be scripted.

"So the look you saw on my face as Christian was coming down the ramp - that was real.

"That dumbfounded look on my face was real - that we were both in the Royal Rumble in 2021 after being told in years past that neither of us could ever do this again.

"There were so many emotions at that moment. I mean yeah I knew he had been cleared for quite a while now, but when you are in the ring, in that moment, in the pocket, everything that you have been feeling comes out on screen and that is a beautiful thing."

Edge and Christian embrace during the Royal Rumble
Edge and Christian embrace during the Royal Rumble Photo credit: Image - WWE [Supplied]
Edge unloads on Randy Orton during the Royal Rumble
Edge unloads on Randy Orton during the Royal Rumble Photo credit: WWE (Supplied)
Edge Photo credit: WWE (Supplied)

Copeland returns to the wacky world of professional wrestling almost feeling like a rookie.

He has shared the ring with WWE legends The Rock, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Triple H, but 2021 and beyond opens up the possibility of working with the faces of the new era.

It's something that wouldn't have been possible had he not been forced out of the business prematurely.

"Here's the thing - had I not been forced to retire in 2011, I would have been retired by now," Copeland tells Newshub. 

"But having those nine years off and now having the opportunity to get this back, I need to enjoy every single aspect.

"I'm not looking past it and I realise how precious it is and how lucky I am that all this is happening and I'm savouring that, even though I woke up the next day and my body was like 'oh my god'.

"Everywhere I look it's just wide open for me and we can go in any direction we want. This is unexpected and that's what makes it even more special for me. 

"So many guys. Drew McIntyre - I've wrestled Drew before, but this Drew is a different man altogether. He's a beast that wasn't there before. Those seeds were there before, but now they have blossomed and Drew is an amazing performer at all levels. 

"I've never had a one-on-one match with Sheamus. I love his stuff and he is doing special things. Seth Rollins has to happen. AJ Styles has to happen and I would love to wrestle Daniel Bryan. Of course, there is Roman Reigns as well.

"There are so many opportunities there."

They are opportunities that Copeland never saw coming. 

WrestleMania 37 will take place in front of a limited crowd at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa Bay, Florida on April 10-11.