A feud that stems back years ago, Adam Cole is more than ready to close the final chapter with longtime archrival Pat McAfee this Sunday at NXT TakeOver: WarGames. In his interview this week on WWE’s The Bump, the former NXT Champion wanted to clear the air, saying that he respects McAfee as a fighter. But Cole also believes it’s McAfee’s mouth that causes him to wind up in sticky situations like with the leader of The Undisputed Era, for example.
“Here’s the beautiful thing about how twisted Pat McAfee’s mind is: he’ll tell you that I gave him zero credit for our match at TakeOver 30; that could not be further from the truth,” Adam Cole stated. “If you listen to any interview I’ve done, I’ve said things that I’ve just said now on The Bump, and Pat McAfee, I hope you’re listening. From your first professional wrestling match, you were incredible. Again, a total natural. You held your own against the longest reigning champion – that’s impressive. What I said was that the mouth he had wasn’t being backed up. Just like he isn’t going to back it up at WarGames. That’s the type of ego he has.”
Since his return back to the black and gold brand, the NXT Universe has seen a new and improved form of the “Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne. Cole agrees that this new transformation is impressive, but it won’t stop him from gaining the victory in their four-on-four match this weekend.
“This does look like a more focused Pete Dunne. It’s also not the same Pete Dunne I stepped in the ring with at Survivor Series,” he noted. “Again, that Pete Dunne didn’t listen to anybody. He did what he wanted when he wanted to do it. It surprises me that he’s gotten to this point where he cares about things like this. When you look at him, you can tell this is as serious as he’ll get.”
Despite the excitement that comes with WarGames, Cole admits that violent matches like these can change the psyche of Superstars like himself. He mentions all the mental and physical anguish that comes with big caliber matches like this one.
“So, it’s a combination of things. First of all, experience really helps. Being in the first WarGames ever and being in that structure, in lots of cases, your imagination runs wild,” he exclaimed. “You think, ‘My career is going to be over. What is this match going to do to me?’ To me, this is the most brutal match that NXT has ever delivered. I’ve survived them before and I’ll survive them again.”
Since their formation three years ago, Cole believes this is the first time in their careers that The Undisputed Era has a lot to prove as a collective unit.
“For the first time in a long time, we’re fighting for a common purpose,” he replied. “Even with the prophecy, for example, that was a collective goal. We each had our own individual targets, our own individual things to overcome, we still did it as a unit, but we’re still very individualized at the same time. But in this scenario, we all have the mindset to show the world who the hell The Undisputed Era is. We’ve never been more unified and focused on a common goal. Our legacy is on the line.”
Speaking of brotherhood, The Bump panel showed Cole his wXw 16 Carat Gold tag team match with Kyle O’Reilly back in 2011, which saw them unsuccessfully challenge El Generico [Sami Zayn] & Emil Sitoci in a 22-minute bout. To Cole, sharing matches with O’Reilly is something he’s quite proud of, and he recalled how much fun they’ve had since meeting for the first time in 2009.
“Those fans around the ring were so, so cool. That was a big weekend for me and Kyle. Kyle and I had been teaming for a year,” he recalled. “It was really important for us to start traveling overseas and to wrestle at as many places as we could. I’ve known Kyle since 2009. We both started traveling through the indies together as a team and as a unit. You want to talk about a brother? It’s so cool that we got to grow up together in wrestling.”
WWE NXT TakeOver: WarGames will air this Sunday at 7 PM EST on the WWE Network. As always, Wrestling Inc. will provide live coverage of the event.
You can watch Adam Cole’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.