Source: The Steve Austin Show

As previously noted, three-time ROH World Champion was a guest at 317 Gimmick Street (as 316 Gimmick Street is undergoing renovations) for an interview on The Steve Austin Show. Among other things, Cole talked about his favorite professional wrestling matches, his dream opponent, and his favorite opponent of all time.

Aside from the 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin versus The Rock matches from WrestleMania 15 and 17 that inspired Cole to become a professional wrestler, Cole's favorite pro wrestling match was the first WrestleMania match between Shawn Michaels match and The Undertaker.

"All-time favorite match, man. I've got favorites that kind of stick out in my head, but if I were to say my favorite match other than those two for the reason of wanting to break in, I remember watching WrestleMania 25 with The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels and at the time, never seeing anything [like it]. The entire process of it being years in the making, it being these two guys going out and putting on a pro wrestling match, at this point, pro wrestling fans have seen everything - they've seen it all. And for them to hook them and have them on so many of the false finishes on the go-home stretch, and the facial expression of The Undertaker when Shawn kicked out of The Tombstone, and looking with those eyes like he just could not comprehend that Shawn Michaels kicked out of this." Cole added, "I had been in the business at this point, but still watching that and thinking, 'if I could ever have something half as special as this, it would be the coolest thing in the world.' So to me, that really sticks out as a special, really awesome match to me. Again, the emotion they were able to get out of the crowd that night, so special."

According to Cole, winning his first ROH championship versus Mike Elgin was his favorite match he wrestled, as the match took place where he saw his first ROH show and the friends with whom he went to that first ROH show sat in the exact same seats to witness Cole win the world title.  

"I will say, probably my favorite, again, because of the moment was the first time that I won the Ring Of Honor World Championship. This was a really cool moment in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] in the National Guard Armory." Cole continued, "that was such a cool full-circle moment for me and I was like, 'wow, life is crazy sometimes.'"

On the subject of dream opponents, Cole named Hiroshi Tanahashi as his dream opponent calling 'Mr. Tokyo Dome' the best NJPW has to offer.

"For me, my number one guy would be Tanahashi from New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Like, watching him, like, this guy is a bonafide rockstar over in Japan. He can't even walk down the street without getting stopped, the way that he carries himself. There was a Wrestle Kingdom show where [Shinsuke] Nakamura wrestled [Kota] Ibushi in the semi-main event. And then, the main event was [Kazuchika] Okada and Tanahashi. And a lot of wrestling fans thought that Nakamura and Ibushi was the better match. It was tremendous match. It was amazing. But again for emotional reasons, the way that Tanahashi sells, and fires up, and his facial expressions. I loved Tanahashi and Okada even more just because of the way Tanahashi carries himself. He's a guy I feel like I'd learn a ton from, a guy I think is the best in New Japan. He, for me, is the number one guy I'd like to work with. He's awesome."

Also, Cole named AJ Styles as his favorite opponent of all time. 'The Panama City Playboy' said that they had a match as Cole was returning from a serious shoulder injury and suggested that 'The Phenomenal One' carried him through the match, more or less.  

"My favorite opponent from my entire career, I talked about this the other week, is AJ Styles for the reason of, again, everybody knows how good, how talented he is, but when I went out with my shoulder surgery, I had not been inside a wrestling ring, I hadn't stepped inside of wrestling ring for four months before that day. I know I'm wrestling AJ Styles in the semi-main event and I'm a nervous wreck, obviously, wondering if I lost a step, wondering about my wind, wondering about all that stuff. And AJ looked at me. He said, 'don't worry, man. I'll take care of you. We'll have a great match.' And we did. We had a great match and AJ deserves so much of the credit for that because, again, this is a guy who hadn't been a wrestling ring for four months and was a nervous wreck. But, again, it's just a testament to AJ's timing, his execution of things, him knowing where to place things, and me just going along and listening to AJ at that time, so he, for me, he made it feel effortless. He made it feel totally effortless."

Get your fix of 'Audio Whoop-Ass' here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.

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