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Edge: My Spinal Stenosis Was So Bad, Vince McMahon Called And Told Me I Had To Retire

Edge reflects on his history of neck injuries.

Over time, professional wrestling begins to take a series toll on one’s body. WWE Hall of Famer Edge is living proof of that. In analyzing his career, many fans may recall Edge’s history of neck injuries, or the torn Achilles tendon he sustained during his Unified WWE Tag Team Championship reign with Chris Jericho. As Edge explains, though, his body has suffered a variety of injuries throughout his career.

During a recent appearance on the Brotherly Love Podcast, Edge recounted his history of injuries, the biggest of which stemmed from a No Disqualification match against Eddie Guerrero in September 2002. In the months following the match, Edge’s arms were becoming increasingly numb, which doctors later revealed as atrophy attributed to broken vertebrae in Edge’s neck. Edge later underwent cervical vertebral fusion to repair his neck.

“I ended up rupturing my C5 to C7 in my neck. I was 29 years old. It wasn’t like a one-time thing, I don’t think,” Edge said. “But I do remember in San Diego a match with Eddie Guerrero, and he hit me with a forearm uppercut. I landed on a ladder and the rung was right there, and I remember hearing a really loud crack. Now, I don’t think it broke there, but something went. [I] finish the match. I took a powerbomb off a ladder. It’s not pretty to watch because my head snaps off.”

“Now Eddie and I are on the flight together the next day. He’s got 11 stitches from me ramming him into the ladder. He looks like Quasimodo. I look like Frankenstein, and we just [say] ‘What are we doing?’ And we were sitting beside each other on the plane. We’re just like, ‘Yeah, man, but did you hear that crowd?’ Because we had them.”

“So, I wrestled for a few more months after that, and finally it got to the point where my left arm was starting to atrophy, and I was in a lot of pain. More pain than usual. So [doctors] went in and they said, ‘Oh, yeah, you need neck surgery, we got to fuse you.’ So I went in. They took a bone from my graph from my hip and put it into my spine, and then they put a titanium plate and six screws. So, I was out for a year. I had to wait for that fusion to take. Then I came back, and I wrestled for another decade.”

Edge’s Spinal Stenosis

Upon his return to the ring in 2004, WWE designated Edge as a heel, later becoming a multi-time WWE Champion in the process. Amidst his success, though, Edge developed spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal cord. Gradually, Edge’s neck began to deteriorate, ultimately forcing him to retire at the age of 37.

“I did WrestleMania in Atlanta [in 2011]. The company said, ‘We want you to go for an MRI the next day.’ So I went for an MRI, go up to Charlotte, had a full day media, had the show that night, drove to a house that I’d just purchased here. I get a call two days later and it’s from Vince McMahon, and he said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but you got to retire. ‘ [I said] ‘What? What do you mean I got to retire?'”

“I’ve passed all the strength tests, everything. He goes, ‘It’s to the point where you got to retire.’ So, I was 37 at that point, and I pretty quickly had to figure out what was next because I’m the kind of guy where I can’t have too many down days because then I start wanting to move. I got to tap the creative vein,” Edge said.

With his in-ring career halted, Edge landed an opportunity to join the Syfy series “Haven” shortly after his retirement. It might not have been exactly the same, but according to Edge, it kept his creativity alive. Through his various stunt work on the show, and in other ventures, Edge later needed a second neck surgery. There, doctors inserted a rubber disk to take some of the pressure off of Edge’s spinal cord.

Outside of his aforementioned neck injuries, Edge revealed some of the other physical damage his body has endured. “If you point to a part on my body, I’ve done something to it,” Edge said. “Like I got no labrum here. I got half a pec, so I got a divot there. I tore this tricep. This wrist is fused. I can’t bend it. Metal rods in my teeth, fractured skull, ruptured groin, tore my Achilles. I don’t have MCLs in my knees. It’s just par for the course, right? I keep moving. I don’t stop.”

Nine years after his retirement, Edge was cleared to return to the ring, paving the way for him to make a surprise entrance in the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble.

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