Whenever I interview a pro wrestler, I always ask them how they prefer to be addressed.
Adam Copeland is the first to request his real name.
I didn’t think much of it at first until we started talking about his sudden retirement due to injury. It was then that I realized that he’d been Edge for over a decade and was now forced into being Adam.
During the interview we discussed his transition from wrestling to acting, how working on “Haven” has helped him deal with an emotional time, and when it’s appropriate for Canadians to use baseball analogies.
Gordon Holmes: You seem to suck at retirement. You only retired a few short months ago and you’re already back working in Syfy’s “Haven.”
Adam “Edge” Copeland: It was kind of one of those happy accidents. Like you said, I’d retired and got a call from WWE, I think it was within like three days, and they asked if I’d be interested in flying out to Nova Scotia and doing an episode of “Haven.” I thought it’d be fun. I figured I’d go and try not to be too horrible at it. We did one episode to test the waters and they liked the character, or what I did with it, and then they brought me back for three more episodes.
Holmes: What can you tell us about your character Dwight Hendrickson?
Copeland: He’s the clean-up hitter. If things go strange or need to be swept under the carpet he’s the guy that comes in after the fact and takes care of that kind of stuff. So that the strange happenings of “Haven” don’t make it past the people that already know.
Holmes: Clean-up hitter? Are Canadians allowed to use baseball analogies?
Copeland: Well, we’ve got the Blue Jays. (Laughs) The catcher for the Twins is Canadian. He’s pretty good.
Holmes: Joe Mauer is Canadian? OK, I’ll accept that.
Copeland: I should’ve used a hockey reference. I guess you could say I was a goon. But Dwight does more than just fight.
Holmes: With your wrestling background, I’m sure you have to deal with a lot of surly characters. Did that help you with your motivation for Dwight?
Copeland: Yeah, and that was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The storylines are kind of dark and creepy with all of those supernatural things going on. And I’ve always gravitated toward that kind of thing whether it be WWE and the larger-than-life aspects of that or music. It was a natural for me once I got on the set. “Haven” has a little bit of a comic book element to it that I really enjoyed.
Holmes: You’ve been in the WWE for quite a number of years. We won’t get into the exact number.
Copeland: Thanks. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re a young retiree. We’ll leave it at that. But when you’re wrestling you have to be big to sell it to the cheap seats, where in television your head could be 10-feet tall and every movement is magnified. Was making that transition tough for you?
Copeland: It was because I have a naturally big head anyway. (Laughs) That’s been the biggest challenge in anything I’ve done so far. I’m so used to going over the top, and like you said, getting the point across to someone who could be 70,000 people away. Now the camera picks up every little nuance, every eyebrow raise. And because you can’t see yourself, thankfully I had some really good directors. They really helped me along with “OK, pull back here some.” But at the same time, I think it’s easier to pull back than to push forward.
Holmes: I’ve always heard it’s the actor’s job to go out there and the director’s job to pull him back.
Copeland: Yeah, and for me…this is all new to me. So I was kind of hoping that would be the case. In this one episode Jason Priestly was the director and I asked him if I was doing OK. He said, “If you weren’t, I would tell you.”
Holmes: Jason Priestly is Canadian right?
Copeland: Yes he is.
Holmes: I’d bet I’d get hockey analogies out of him.
Copeland: (Laughs) There were a lot of Canadian jokes because Lucas Bryant grew up 20 minutes away from me. He plays Nathan. So, there was a lot of Southern Ontarian humor.
Holmes: Your wrestling retirement was extremely sudden. How hard was it on you to be defending the title at “Wrestlemania” one day, and then out of the business the next?
Copeland: It was an interesting time. The first couple of days I went through that period of feeling sorry for myself. I was, “What? What are you talking about? I know better than you, surgeon.”
Holmes: (Laughs) Well played.
Copeland: (Laughs) But then what I said in my retirement speech was true. I talked to Christian and he said, “Sit down and think about it. Get past everything else.” And in that respect, it’s actually a pretty good way to go out. Because of the fact that it was because of injury is frustrating. I haven’t missed doing it yet. Also, with “Haven” falling in my lap, it’s helped the process. It wasn’t 120 to reverse. Now it’s 120 to like 60. It was nice to gently dip my foot into retirement.
Holmes: Christian has been given a chance to step up in your absence. Does that help ease the transition?
Copeland: It does. He deserved the shot whether I was there or not. And one regret, well, I won’t even say regret, but we were building to him and I going against each other. Which for us would have been fun. But, if any positive can come from me leaving, it’s them realizing that they’ve got to give him a shot. And I know now that he’s got that shot he’s going to kick the door open. He always has. The fans have always seen him there. They’ve always understood that he deserves to be there. But I think it was going to happen regardless of if I was there or not.
Holmes: There seems to be a new direction with Triple H becoming the COO and C.M. Punk taking off. What’s your take on that?
Copeland: You know, I haven’t watched “Raw.” One of the things I need to do in the process of getting away from it has really been getting away from it. I’m just not ready to sit down and watch it, well, I’ll watch (Christian’s) stuff.
Holmes: You are going to be in Los Angeles for “SummerSlam” though, right?
Copeland: Yes, and I probably won’t watch it. (Laughs)
Holmes: So you’re not ready to enjoy it on that level?
Copeland: I’m not ready to watch it and not do it. Not yet. I don’t know when yet will be. You’ve seen guys who can’t turn it off, and they can’t not be the character that they played. I’ve always really tried to make sure that isn’t the case. And I think part of that is stepping away from it.
Holmes: It looks like they’re building up to John Cena vs. The Rock at this year’s “Wrestlemania.” Not a lot of people have worked both of them, but you have. What’s your take on that bout?
Copeland: I think it’ll be good for business. I don’t think there are many instances where you can take guys who are at the forefronts of different eras. I think the last time you got that was Hogan and Rock. And you saw how that turned out. I think match quality-wise it’ll be better. And I know both guys’ attitudes, they want to go out there and leave it out there, as cliché as that sounds. I may watch that. I’ll probably be down there for “Wrestlemania.” Maybe by “Wrestlemania” time I’ll be able to sit down and watch an entire show.
Holmes: I understand. It’s like you want your ex-girlfriend to do well, but you don’t want her to do too well.
Copeland: (Laughs) You just don’t want her to do better than you.
Watch “Haven” on Syfy, Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET.
Follow me on Twitter: @gordonholmes