When 2021 drew near its end, the pro wrestling community's focus was undeniably on the most sought-after free agent: Adam Cole. Following a captivating period in "WWE NXT," Cole made the momentous decision to part ways upon contract expiration.
Long-standing rumors linked Cole to AEW. These speculations found their grounding at the All Out pay-per-view event in Chicago. The wrestling world watched with bated breath as the 34-year-old made his unexpected entrance, joining the ranks of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, his long-time allies.
On the acclaimed "Under The Ring" podcast, Cole dissected the motivations driving his WWE departure and subsequent AEW commitment. He confessed, "The decision weighed heavily on me. But a few pivotal moments clarified my path to AEW.
I've always been an ardent supporter of AEW's work, tuning in every week. The electrifying energy of their live crowds mirrored the ambiance of an NXT TakeOver event – week in and week out."
Love's Role in Cole's Decision
Personal life also had its part to play.
"The infrequent meetings with Britt, my significant other, were draining. We managed a mere day together weekly due to our clashing schedules. To be present with her, to celebrate her successes and console her failures was a draw too powerful to ignore," Cole shared.
Yet, another important factor was WWE's stringent stance on third-party platforms. An avid gamer, Cole acknowledged the allure of AEW, allowing him to preserve his Twitch streaming, cherishing the bond he'd fostered with his gaming community.
Reminiscing about his iconic "NXT" stint, Cole became a pivotal figure, seizing both the "NXT" Championship and North American title, all while helming the Undisputed Era faction. Despite the pandemic's constraints, his 2017-2019 phase was arguably NXT's golden period.
"It was a time of unparalleled magic," Cole asserted, attributing the brand's success to a synergetic blend of Triple H's vision, Shawn Michaels' dedication, and an ensemble of committed wrestlers. Though his "NXT" accomplishments were monumental, and his rapport with Triple H profound, the main roster remained an elusive destination.
With aspirations high, Cole is gearing up to seize another pivotal title at AEW All In, facing the reigning AEW World Champion, MJF, before an anticipated 80,000-strong crowd at Wembley Stadium.