Cole reflects on the backend of his WWE run.
Before Adam Cole debuted for All Elite Wrestling at their 2021 All Out pay-per-view, he closed out his time in NXT in a program against his longtime friend and then-rival, Kyle O’Reilly. The two had an Unsanctioned match at Stand & Deliver, competed at Great American Bash and their program was capped off with a 2-out-of-3 Falls match at TakeOver 36.
Along the way, Cole signed a short-term extension with the company so he could finish the program. Cole told Inside The Ropes that he wanted to finish things out of love and respect for Kyle O’Reilly, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, Shawn Michaels, Matt Bloom and the entire NXT roster at the time.
He feels he would not have been able to sleep at night if he left the company without wrapping up that story with O’Reilly.
That was very important to me for multiple levels (finishing NXT storyline with Kyle O’Reilly before leaving the company). First and foremost, obviously the love and respect that I have for Kyle O’Reilly is through the roof. I was in the middle of a program with him and I wanted to make sure that we finished that story. I’ve been married to Kyle O’Reilly since 2009 (he laughed), I started in 2008 so, there was no way that I was gonna let that story be cut short or end. But secondly and just as important, again, the love and respect I had — or have for everybody at NXT. Whether that be Triple H or Shawn Michaels or Matt Bloom or our entire roster. I loved it there. I had such a wonderful, wonderful experience. I learned so much. I got to explore more of who Adam Cole was, I feel like I grew a ton as a performer. There was no way that I was gonna go, oh, nope, too bad, see you later. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night. The love and respect I still have for all of them is absolutely through the roof and to me, it was a no-brainer. To me, it was a no-brainer.
On several occasions, Cole has addressed the story that floated around about him joining WWE’s main roster as Keith Lee’s manager and having to get a haircut. He said he’s never directly heard the pitch but if he did, he thinks he would have still made the same decision to head to AEW.
He reiterated that being around his significant other, Britt Baker, was big for him because while in separate companies, they were seeing each other once a week at times. Cole added that if he had to take on the managerial role, he would have done his best to make it work.
I think I would have made the exact same decision that I made. I think I would have chose to go to AEW. There were multiple factors as to why I wanted to go to AEW. First of all, obviously, I’m a huge fan of the product and what AEW is bringing to the table. Secondly, the idea of getting to travel and be alongside Britt (Baker) was something that was really, really important to me. At the time, we were only seeing each other maybe one day a week and at the time, Twitch streaming, it still is, but Twitch streaming is very, very important to me and at the time, WWE was really anti-no-no, you can’t stream on Twitch. That’s become a second passion of mine and something that I really, really care about so, aside from all those factors and the fact that, again, getting to be around my friends and being a part of AEW and experiencing that. Yeah, so if that was a pitch to me, I think, once again, I would have made the same decision that I did.
I would have tried my absolute best, I really would have (tried to make being a manager/getting a haircut work) and that’s actually something I really love about wrestling, when you’re put in challenges or situations where you’re not necessarily comfortable in that role because that’s part of what makes a great pro wrestler and a great performer is being able to adapt and kind of change with what you’re given so, I would have absolutely tried to the best of my ability to make that work. That’s for sure.
Coming up for Adam Cole is a defense of the ROH World Tag Team Championships at WrestleDream on October 1st. The champions, Cole and AEW World Champion MJF, are defending the titles against The Righteous (Vincent & Dutch).
During the main event of Dynamite Grand Slam between MJF and Samoa Joe, Cole made a run-in and when he leaped off the entrance ramp, he came up limping.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Inside The Ropes with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.