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By Thomas Wheeler

Although I have been a longtime fan of the WWE, I've never really collected many of the action figure products related to them. Although Jakks Pacific has done a superb job with their various figure lines, the sheer amount of WWE material out there, adding in the factors of expense and display space, simply made it impossible to get involved.

However, Jakks Pacific has come out with an entirely new line of WWE action figures, that make for a superb "jumping on" point for longtime WWE fans who are also action figure collectors, that would like to have some WWE figures around. That new line is called "Build 'n' Brawl", and it features 1:18 (about 4" in height) figures of many of the top names in the WWE today. Each figure also comes with a segment to build a small wrestling ring, hence the name "Build 'n' Brawl".

One of the last figures I acquired from Series 1 was honestly not all that hard to find. It was EDGE. He seemed to not be the most popular character in the series. Given his considerable bad-guy "heel" personality in the WWE just now, I can't say I'm that surprised. Edge comes across on TV as someone immensely easy to dislike.

Edge has had a lengthy career in the WWE, and hasn't always been one of the bad guys. With a little help from Wikipedia, let's take a look at the career of Edge.

Edge's real name is Adam Copeland. He was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1973. Copeland initially rose through the ranks as one half of the tag team Edge and Christian, alongside his real-life best friend and storyline brother Christian. He is noted for being one of the most decorated tag team champions in wrestling history, winning a record 12 tag team titles in WWE.

Copeland is a four-time world champion, having won the WWE Championship twice and the World Heavyweight Championship twice. In addition, he won the 2001 King of the Ring and the 2005 Money in the Bank ladder match.

Aside from professional wrestling, Copeland has appeared in Highlander: Endgame and made guest appearances in television shows, including The Weakest Link, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, and Mind of Mencia.

Throughout the 1990s, Copeland wrestled on the independent circuit in Ontario and the Great Lakes region of the United States under the name Sexton Hardcastle. He became a part of the tag team Sex and Violence with Joe Legend. During 1997, Sex and Violence became part of a larger stable known as Thug Life, made up of Legend, Hardcastle, childhood friend Christian Cage, Bloody Bill Skullion, and Rhino Richards. During his independent career, he won the SSW Tag Title and the ICW Street Fight Tag Title twice with Cage, in addition to his reign as ICW/MWCW Midwest Unified Tag Title holder alongside Joe.

The duo of Copeland and Cage was known as Hard Impact before changing their name to The Suicide Blondes. In 1996, the duo worked in Japan under the name the Canadian Rockers. Copeland also once wrestled under the name Damon Striker (although Edge writes it as Damien Stryker in his book) on an edition of WCW Pro against Meng and Kevin Sullivan.

In 1998, Copeland was signed by the World Wrestling Federation and made his television debut on the June 22 episode of RAW is WAR as Edge, a loner character who entered the arena through the crowd for his matches. His character's persona included him walking around the city streets aimlessly and beating up innocent pedestrians. His first televised match was against Jose Estrada, Jr.,

Edge captured his first singles championship on July 24, 1999, defeating Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Title at a house show in Toronto Ontario. He would lose the belt the next night to Jarrett at the Fully Loaded PPV.

Edge was then placed into a feud against the vampire wrestler Gangrel. During the feud, Gangrel introduced Christian, Edge's storyline brother, as his ally. Eventually, Gangrel and Christian convinced Edge to join them, and the three of them formed a stable known as The Brood. The Brood as a whole was later abducted by and converted into The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness. In May 1999, the Brood broke away from The Ministry after Christian was attacked by Ken Shamrock. The Undertaker chose to have Christian punished for his trespass, but Edge and Gangrel stood by him and turned against The Undertaker.

After a short feud with the Ministry, they began a feud with The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy). Soon, however, Gangrel turned on Edge and Christian and formed The New Brood with their enemies, The Hardy Boyz. Even after the New Brood split, Edge & Christian continued to feud with The Hardy Boyz. On April 2 at WrestleMania 2000, Edge and Christian defeated the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz to win their first WWF Tag Team Title in a triple threat Ladder match which birthed the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.

Following this victory, Edge and Christian found success as a heel duo, shifting their gimmick from borderline goth to a comedic pair of "cool dudes", winning the WWF Tag Team Title six more times (for a total of seven). During this time, their trademark became the "five second pose" where they performed a pose in the ring for five seconds "for the benefit of those with flash photography" to mock, insult, or otherwise amuse the fans.

Edge went on to solidify himself as an emerging singles star by winning the 2001 King of the Ring tournament. Throughout the winter months of 2001, Edge feuded with William Regal for the Intercontinental Championship. Edge came up short in the feud. When WrestleMania X8 came around, Edge found himself in a match with Booker T.

In February 2003, Edge suffered a legit neck injury and had to undergo surgery with Dr. Lloyd Youngblood. Recovery kept him sidelined for close to a year. He was scheduled to return to the ring in February 2004, but he suffered a legitimate broken hand just before his planned return, forcing him to stay out of the ring for an additional month. He was placed on the Raw brand in the WWE Draft after WrestleMania XX and returned to in-ring action shortly after that event.

On the April 19, 2004 edition of Raw he and Chris Benoit won the World Tag Team Championship. They continued a close partnership even after losing the title, but it was disbanded when Edge won the Intercontinental Championship at Vengeance from Randy Orton. He then began to turn heel by cheating to keep the title and getting confrontational with ally Chris Jericho. Following a (legit) groin injury in a non-televised match, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff stripped Edge of the Intercontinental title. This was the first time that Edge turned heel since his alliance with then heel, Christian right after Wrestlemania 2000.

Upon his return, Edge's character became that of a crazed heel with severe anger management problems centered around his obsession for the World Heavyweight Championship. Edge, Benoit, and Shawn Michaels received a chance for a title shot for Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship at Taboo Tuesday 2004. Michaels won the audience vote to receive the title shot, giving Edge and Benoit a Tag Title shot. During the match, Edge abandoned his partner and instead interfered in the main event, costing Michaels the championship.

Even though he was already a heel, Edge faced even more scorn from the fans due to his adulterous affair with Amy Dumas, who was known on- screen as Lita. Dumas had been the girlfriend of Copeland's close real- life friend, Matt Hardy. When Dumas suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, she was put out of action, and it was during this time that Copeland began an affair with her while she was still in a relationship with Hardy.

On the July 11 edition of Raw, Edge's match with Kane was interrupted when Matt Hardy made a surprising appearance. When Hardy was officially brought back to Raw, he and Edge continued their feud, including a match at SummerSlam 2005 where Edge defeated Hardy. They also competed in a Street Fight, which resulted in a no-contest when Hardy performed a Side Effect on Edge off the entrance ramp into the sound speakers and other electrical equipment. They also fought in a Steel cage match at Unforgiven 2005 that Matt won after a leg drop on Edge from the top of the cage. The feud culminated in a "Loser Leaves Raw Ladder Match" at WWE Homecoming, which Edge won, causing Hardy to move to SmackDown!.

Shortly after the Homecoming victory, Edge suffered a legitimate torn pectoral muscle that kept him shelved for several weeks. During his time off, he starred in his own talk show segment on Raw entitled The Cutting Edge, dubbing himself the "Rated-R Superstar".

Since that time, Edge has maintained his heel personality, and although he still wears ring gear with his "Rated-R" logo on it, it isn't played up as much. Most recently, at WrestleMania 24, Edge lost a championship match to the Undertaker. He is fictitiously involved in a relationship with Vickie Guerrero, the widow of the late Eddie Guerrero, who is also current "general manager" of SmackDown. He has had a noted feud with Guerrero family friend Rey Mysterio, and basically continues to come across as thoroughly despicable, willing to use any means to achieve his objectives, and the lower, the better, it seems.

Physically, Edge seems somewhat more slender than most of the top of the line wrestlers, but he is nevertheless powerfully built. I am pleased to report that the action figure reflects his somewhat narrower build very nicely. Edge's most notable facial features are his large eyes, which tend to look slightly crazed, and a mouthful of large, straight teeth. One of the commentators once made a joke along the lines that if you knocked half the teeth out of Edge's head, he'd still have fifty or so to work with.

So -- how's the figure? Pretty darned impressive. I almost have to think it's Edge's in-ring character that's kept the figure from selling better than it seems to have, because there's certainly nothing wrong with the figure. About the worst thing I can say about it is that on several examples I saw, the eyes were painted rather crookedly. However, we're talking about a rather small figure, that has been proportioned to look
-- well, as physically realistic as the real-life individual on which he is based. This is not G.I.Joe or Star Wars where certain liberties can be taken. Jakks wants the figures to look as true to life as possible. That means a head that's about half an inch from chin to top of the head. You want to try to paint features on that that are so intricate that on some of these figures they've included the whites of the eyes as well as the actual eye color and pupil? I'm not going to criticize too harshly here.

It's not impossible to find an Edge figure with fairly straightly painted eyes. They've also sculpted something of his grin on his face, and painted the teeth. This works reasonably well. Ultimately, though, any action figure based this closely on a real person, and being this small in scale, is going to have its limits. And one of those limits is trying to convey those teeth! Overall, I would call the likeness of this Edge figure to its real-life counterpart very good, on the whole, but there are some limits, and they do show a little bit here.

Edge has rather long, dirty blonde hair. I think it was the Baroness, in 1984, in the G.I. Joe line, that first really found a way around molding a figure's head with long hair that didn't interfere with the movement of the head. And as with that early instance, the same is true with Edge -- the hair has been molded as a separate piece from notably flexible plastic, and attached to the head itself. This is something else that Jakks has done very well, but there's still a fair number of long-haired superstars in the WWE, so clearly this was something that they had to learn how to do.

One slight glitch, and it's hard to figure out how they could've gotten around it, were Edge's tattoos. On his right upper arm, he has a tattoo of a large dark star. On his left upper arm, there is a tattoo of what looks like a dark sun. These are practically right below the shoulder, and while this is not a problem for the real-life Edge, the real-life Edge doesn't have to worry about articulation construction. Unfortunately, on the figure, these tattoos are right where the shoulder articulation points are, and while the tattoos have been neatly imprinted on the arms, when you move the arms downward, the tattoo designs separate into component sections. It's a pretty weird effect, really.

Edge is wearing trousers that are molded in light grey, and have dark grey and purple camouflage on them. The sides of the trousers have large purple stars in them with the letter "R" inside a square, and the words around the square to spell out "Rated 'R' Superstar". Even though Edge doesn't push this gimmick as hard as he used to, it's still part of his current personality. There's also an "R" on the front of his trousers, and on the fronts of his boots, which are purple.

Articulation of the figure is excellent. Edge is the fourth figure in this line that I have purchased, and to date, the only one that does not have at least one extremely loose point of articulation. My Bobby Lashley figure -- if his waist were any looser I'd dress him up as the Red Tornado. These figures, overall, I would tend to liken to Marvel Superhero Showdown, but better made. Even so, a figure in this scale, with this level of articulation -- the odds of minor problems cropping up in molding and assembly -- well, it happens.

However, Edge seems to have avoided this for the most part. Edge is nicely poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid- torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, double-jointed knees, and ankles. The ankles are the one point I would criticize. They do not move easily, and I am reluctant to force them. It is also rather difficult to get the feet to pose at a reasonable 90-degree angle to the legs, to allow the figure to stand easily on its own. This is not a problem unique to Edge, however.

So, what's my final take here? I'm very impressed, and very pleased, with this Build 'n' Brawl line. Although it's common knowledge by now that Jakks will not be maintaining the WWE license for much longer, I am hopeful that we'll see a generous number of wrestlers produced in this format and in this size. It's a cool way for WWE fans and action figure collectors who have been reluctant for one reason or another to purchase Jakks' larger WWE offerings to get in on some cool figures and finally bring the WWE into their collection.

As for Edge -- well, he may be a despicable jerk in the ring, but the action figure of him is cool, and certainly the character is prominent enough in the WWE these days that I would regard him as a "must-have" for this line. And the figure is well-made, and a more than capable likeness of the real-life individual.

The WWE BUILD 'N' BRAWL EDGE figure definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!