WWE Hall of Famer Edge recently spoke with USA Today’s For The Win to hype his upcoming WrestleMania 36 matchup with rival Randy Orton. The R-Rated superstar discusses how the empty arena setting due to COVID-19 may actually help their Last Man Standing bout at the Show of Shows tell a better story. He also recalls earlier bouts against The Viper and changes to his training routine because of the viral outbreak. Highlights are below.
First reaction on WrestleMania being moved to the Performance Center:
I think we’re at a time where… everything’s so in flux and everything’s so strange right now. I guess if I’m looking at it purely from a performance aspect, you go ‘ahh.’ Because you love being able to be in front of an audience, feed of that, the adrenaline of that and all those things. Then I started looking at ‘OK, well this is where we are. This is normal for now. So what are the challenges here, and how can you adapt and still make a compelling story?’ I get off on the challenging aspect of it, and that’s how I started looking at it. So if I’m cutting a promo, well now I’m doing theater. I’m doing a monologue to a camera. And that was fun! That lets me explore my acting chops. So that’s how I tried to recalibrate my brain with it.
Working without a crowd:
You know, out of all the matches, I truly thing it affects us the least. I think the story that Randy and I have told is so personal and so – I’ve been using ‘grit’ throughout this whole thing – but gritty and dark and kind of twisted, that I almost feel that it doesn’t affect us. And may actually help us, strangely? Because a Last Man Standing match in a football stadium, you know, I would want to take the thing everywhere. But you have the possibility of losing your audience when you take it backstage, away from the audience, now they’ve got to look up at the screen. Now they’re craning their necks. Now we have the full freedom, it’s a blank canvas. Now we can do anything. And really, what I want to do is to continue to tell this story between two guys who know each other so well, that have so much history. And a lot of what you’re seeing and hearing is true, and I think that’s why it’s connecting with people so much, at least in the feedback that I’ve gotten. Between the promos, between our work together, there’s a lot of reality there. We go way back, and a lot of the things we’ve talked about, they’ve happened. And I think when there’s that much kind of raw truth, that’s what you can really sink your teeth into. So I don’t think the lack of audience will hinder us as much as it will other matches.
Recalls first bout with Randy Orton:
The first time I met him, I still remember it, I really do. That meeting where Bob [Orton] introduced us, and I just remember thinking ‘hey, he’s taller than me.’ And thinking that he’s got all the tools by just looking at him. You know, he’s a good-looking guy, all of those things – but you don’t know what they bring to the table from an in-ring aspect. The first time I saw him work, I went ‘OK, he’s special.’ And then the first time that we ever actually wrestled against each other was for the Intercontinental title, and pretty much from the get-go, from the first time we locked up there was just something different between us. And it’s either there or it’s not. You can work to get there with someone, but with him and I that spark was immediate. And I’ve had it like that with maybe one other person. It’s neck-and-neck with Taker and Kurt Angle. I’ve got to throw Jeff Hardy in there too.
Their match being tough to follow:
My mindset is our match is going to be tough to follow. It really is, and that’s what my job is, is to make it tough to follow. So if you want to put it on in the middle, if you want to put it on in the beginning, good luck following it. If it’s on last, great, but that doesn’t change my mindset going into it. My mindset is to continue to tell this story, and for my first singles match back in nine years, I want to start this second chapter since coming back at the Royal Rumble, I want to keep that momentum going. I want to show people I’ve taken this craft to a different level than I did it before.
Changes to his training routine because of Coronavirus:
For me, no, because I use a company called Nutrition Solutions that has continued and they have their protocols. I’ve still been continuing to get my meals – a matter of fact, the CEO of the company has been really hands-on with me to dial me in. I almost feel more prepared than I ever have for a match ever, even within all of this. This is the most strict that I’ve ever dieted…. When everything happened, it kind of cut our [training] plan in half of what we had planned. We were planning for six weeks out, well now we’ve got three. OK, so we adjust accordingly. I’ve kind of built a compound where we have a gym, I have my own gym and was just able to keep training and keep doing my thing.