Copeland was trained by former professional wrestlers Sweet Daddy Siki and Ron Hutchinson. Throughout the 1990s, he wrestled in North American independent promotions. During his time in these promotions, he competed in singles and tag team competition, the latter with longtime friend Christian Cage. In 1997, Copeland signed a developmental deal with the WWF and began competing for the company later that year; he made his televised debut the following June under the ring name Edge. In July 1999, he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship at a house show in Toronto, making it his first title reign with the company. He and Christian, billed as brothers and later childhood friends in WWF/WWE storylines, went on to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on seven different occasions. During this time, they gained notoriety in the tag team division, partly due to their participation in Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches.
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