Adam Copeland on nearly signing with AEW rather than making his WWE comeback. why he went to AEW last year, looks back on the flaming table spot at WrestleMania 22

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Adam Copeland
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via

On how he close he came to debuting for AEW before making his WWE return: “Really close, we had great discussions [in late 2019]… “So when I first started talking to AEW, I wasn’t yet cleared. I had made it, we talked about it like the bosses of each video game level. But I still wasn’t cleared by company doctors, right? So once all of those clearances started to come, I was like, Oh, this is real now. Okay. So before I did anything, I had to go kind of get the final clearance needed for either company. But I had negotiated with everybody. I was like, Okay, here’s where I’m at, here’s what I’ve been told I can do and started the process. And then in going to WWE, and sitting down with Vince, he goes well, it’s got to happen here. At that stage, I looked at the equity built and it felt like having to start over, especially having to start over after having been gone for nine years felt really daunting, if that makes sense. It felt like at least with WWE that’s one thing off the table that I don’t have to worry about. I can come back and walk into the history of this character. I do feel like it needed to have happened there initially. I really do, if only for that Royal Rumble moment right before the pandemic hit and just feeling and experiencing that I’m happy the way it turned out.”

Why he chose to sign with AEW in 2023: “It felt like I’d done everything that I was going to do with WWE. I’d worked the people I’d wanted to work, 95 percent anyway. And it really just felt like they were in a direction and I was in a direction and they were kind of going separate ways. I wanted to be with this limited window that I have, I wanted to be involved. I wanted to be there kind of on a weekly basis in order to tell proper stories, and it’s tough to do that popping in and out every three months or so. And I also get the idea of, well, that keeps it special and I understand that. But again, I’m working with such a limited timeframe here that I got to go while I can go. And I looked at the roster and I just thought man, so many people that I’ve never laid hands on and been in the ring with.

“The one that seems to blow people’s minds is Samoa Joe. In all the years that him and I have both been wrestling we’ve never touched. Then I see Moxley and I see Claudio and Bryan and I have never had a proper singles. Swerve and Hangman. And then if you look at the tag teams, FTR, Young Bucks, Penta and Fenix, man, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, let alone all the young guys that have already wrestled since I’ve been there. It’s just really exciting and almost feels, I don’t want to say I feel like a kid again because I think that sailed. But I’m just having fun. With each match I’m going to try something I’ve never tried before. I was against Brody King the other night, I’ve never done a blockbuster, I’m going to try a blockbuster. Never done a Davey Boy Powerslam, let me try that. It’s fun to get out there and just try new things, especially at this stage of the career. But I think in working new people, and a whole roster of new people that I don’t know, it’s just opened up my brain to all the different possibilities.”

Why Gangrel was not a part of his Brood run in WWE: “I tried and I just got shut down. Every person shut it down. [Why?] So this isn’t a knock on WWE, but I’d always get the well nobody remembers. People remember, wrestling fans remember and I think wrestling fans want to be rewarded for remembering. And that’s a way to reward them. That’s what I’ve always felt. I think you know, you fast forward to me and Matt Cardona doing a Cope Open. And his music hits and he comes out. I mean, they remembered. And so I’ve always been a fan of pulling in things from the past and kind of integrating them into current things. But yeah, that was one I just kept getting shut down. I realized, okay, that was not a hill to die on because it didn’t get to happen. It’s not my sandbox, I got to do with what I’ve been given.”

On the flaming table spot with Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22: “It was part of my plan. I’ve always said this, if you see something stupid that I do, chances are it was my idea. Whether it’s the AA off of a ladder through two tables, whether it’s the flaming table, chances are it was my stupidity. Yeah, I don’t even have like a good answer as to why. I mean, obviously, I’m a masochist on some level. But I think every pro wrestler is. You don’t rehearse that at all. To the point where it didn’t even dawn on me until I was running to the flames. I was like I don’t have a shirt on and I’m diving face first into this thing.

“Mick’s got three layers on and he’s going through back first and that sucks too, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t until I was making that leap that I was like oh man, I’ve just got to bury my head into Mick here and just hope for the best. It still burned my arm, burned a bunch of hair off, burned my knuckles. All I could smell was burnt hair. As I was crawling over I looked over and my arm was bubbling. Alright, not the wisest choice but again, at that stage of my life I was all about that was it. It was that job and it was about getting to the top of that job. Yeah, that’s usually when you can catch lightning in a bottle.”


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