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WWE WrestleMania 37: Roman Reigns, Edge and Daniel Bryan reflect on unlikely journeys to the epic main event

On Sunday night, WrestleMania 37 will conclude its two-night extravaganza with a main event in which Roman Reigns defends the universal championship against Edge and Daniel Bryan. The game is one of the most unlikely in the decades-long history of the biggest event WWE has to offer.

All three men had previously faced health situations that left them to experience a life without struggle. After more than a decade in remission, Reigns, real name Joe Anoa’i, had to vacate the universal title in 2018 when he found himself in a battle with leukemia. He will return to action in 2019 when the cancer goes into remission again. . Bryan, real name Bryan Danielson, had a series of concussions that forced him into an official retirement in 2016. It would take more than two years of evaluation and perseverance before he was finally cleared for a ring competition in 2018.

For Edge, the real name Adam Copeland, the journey was even longer. In 2011, Edge was forced to retire when he began to feel numbness in his arms after a previous fusion of the vertebrae. Doctors told him that the paralysis or death due to participating in wrestling could result. It was only in the Royal Rumble of 2020 when he appeared as a surprise contestant that Edge re-entered as a wrestler.

Edge walked away in 2011 and will only return in January 2020.


Even with their similar experiences, all three men told CBS Sports that they did not sit down to discuss the unlikely nature of the most important event of the year.

“We did not do it, and I’m sure there will be that moment, but I think it will be before or after the game when you can hear the crowd roar and know it’s really happening,” Edge said. “At the moment, nothing really feels right. The aspect of the thing is there with three guys who at some point thought it might be. If you look at the aspect of the story, it’s hard to get one of the characters to hate., and it’s part of our job.If you look at this aspect of Joe, Bryan and Adam, we’re three guys who at one point thought it would never happen again. a little crazy. I think we’ll have a moment to really think about it, but maybe it’s only after the game. Then it’s going to be like, ‘OK, we did it. We did it. And there was a time when we thought we would never do that. “It’s quite special.”

Bryan will see his wife, Brie Bella, inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Tuesday night. This, he said, and not his own return trip to the main event of WrestleMania, dominated much of his thinking.

“What’s weird is that it came to me, but I didn’t really think about it deeply. No deep appreciation for it,” Bryan said. “This is something that needs to happen to myself. There are so many things going on in life so fast? Now, my family – and I’m probably all three families – are at this stage where COVID things are being lifted, it means my woman is busier and that she also enters the Hall of Fame.We are like ships that sometimes pass by at night with the kids coming and going and all the stuff and the journey and all the stuff.Sometimes, you get caught up in not really realize how wonderful it really is.

‘I took a few moments to appreciate how wonderful it is that my wife is going to perform on the Hall of Fame – it’s very cool for me as a man and for that I’m very proud of her. little less time to appreciate it, hey, I’m going to be in the main game of WrestleMania again. It did not seem like it could have been a real thing to me just a few years ago. to think about two guys I have an awful lot of respect for, and the three of us in it. I thought about it for a moment, but never sat down and very much appreciated that it was happening. ‘

Reigns’ time away from wrestling was much shorter than his two opponents, with an incredibly rapid turnaround from walking away due to leukemia to less than a year.

Even with that, he suggested that there is something of an unspoken bond between the three men, rooted in everyone who experiences that they have been taken away from wrestling in cruel, unexpected ways.

“To be honest, I don’t think I really focused on that,” Reigns said. “I think it’s just because of the experience. I think where we can all be connected and you can equal all our thinking is that we are all grateful for today and the opportunity that comes with it today. I think of all our own ways, we experienced the feeling when it was not there.We all woke up and the program went on without us.Although we did not all sit down about it, there is a strange connection and chemistry.sure as they feel the same way or have experienced the same thing, but I can feel it through them I can feel that gratitude, that gratitude for the opportunity to wake up and do what we love outside of our families and our children and us women.We all appreciate the opportunity to have the health to wake up and be physical beings, to be athletes, to be storytellers.There is no form of entertainment like us, where you have every sentence, every emotion, everything from feeling, touching, smelling – everything is part of our show. This is where we are deeply connected. ‘

Roman Reigns was forced to become universal champion after his leukemia returned.


Between Edge and Bryan, it was the latter whose retirement came later and return came earlier. Edge hung on to the fringes of WWE after his retirement and occasionally participated as a special guest and one of the stars of a WWE Network comedy show with his longtime friend and tag teammate Christian.

When Bryan makes the emotional announcement of his return, the moment passes by Edge without giving the Hall of Famer so much as a bit of hope that his own return to the ring will follow just a few years later.

“I did not look at the product, so I did not see anything for a while,” Edge admitted. ‘I can look back now and say it was kind of a mourning phase after I snatched this thing away from me. It took time. It really did. In that time a lot happened that I missed, and that was one of the things I did not see. I know every injury is different, right? I heard he was cleared to come back, but it was a concussion problem. I know that a spine and a concussion – or leukemia – are very different things. you can not be too wrapped up in: ‘Oh man! That man got it back! ‘ They are just different cases. I was happy for him, because when you can get this thing back, this thing you love, and everything you ever wanted to do – and that’s the case with Daniel Bryan – it makes you smile. But it never set the wheels in motion for me or anything. ‘

Edge will follow up his Royal Rumble appearance in 2020 by immediately switching to an on-screen feud with former label mate Randy Orton, leading to a showdown at WrestleMania 36 and a rematch at Backlash featuring WWE ‘The Greatest Wrestling Called Match Ever ‘. In the filming of the match before the live broadcast of Backlash, he suffered a torn triceps and was on the sidelines again.

However, the injury did not put Copeland in doubt about his decision to return as a talent. He was surprised that his neck was not on the shelf.

“I was like, ‘Well, that’s what it’s,'” Edge said. “Now I’m 47 and asking my body to do it, and we’re having a 48-minute game. You know I’m going to zero to hero, right? So there could be a fall in. For me, I have just think, “Wow. This is not my neck. This is amazing.” This is really how I had to look at it. More than anything I still encountered the pandemic and did not act in front of anyone. For me it was much bigger, like, ‘Do I want to do this without an audience? Did I come back to do it? just do it without an audience? “It’s just selfish to look at that one aspect, because I know there are much bigger fish to fry than to jump around in a pantyhose. It was the aspect of it being the most enjoyable part of this job – engaging the audience and back and forth.It’s gone.Is it fun now? It was more the question.But the injury? No, I did worse than that . ‘

Daniel Bryan emotionally announced his retirement on Raw.


For Bryan, the experience of seeing a fellow legend return was much more positive. After all, he was in the ring again and did what he loved. Seeing Edge get the opportunity to put on the boots and make another turn was nothing short of a positive experience.

“You know what? It’s weird,” Bryan said. “I do not want to say that it is more joy, but it is a different kind of joy when you see that someone else can do it and you will be so happy for them. I know from my perspective that he saw me make it me … when I was cleaned up, it was Monday night and I was just doing the Bahrain Comic Con and I was in the Middle East and I was flying to Pittsburgh, I landed late and after [WWE Medical Director Dr. Joseph Maroon’s] office. I’ve done so many tests, but they had to cross the T’s and dot the type of things I u. Dr Maroon is already gone, but he left me a note and at the end it just says: ‘Finally. You have been cleaned. ‘I literally cried most of the way back to my airport hotel, got on a plane the next morning, flew to Texas, announced I had to wrestle again. I think I powerbombed on an apron or something, you know how it goes. But it was super, super emotional and this roller coaster of things.

“If it happens to someone else, it’s not a roller coaster. There’s no roller coaster with them. It’s just pure joy. I did not even know it would happen or be close. He has a triple. had fusion on his neck. I do not know of an athlete who came back from there. When he finished, it was just, ‘Oh my god! That’s great!’ It’s just different feelings when it’s someone else, because you have nothing to do with the downturn, you’re just there for the big whore at the end. ‘

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