Former NXT Champion Adam Cole was a special guest on the latest edition of WWE After the Bell with Corey Graves and talked about his excitement for NXT to start welcoming back fans.

NXT will reportedly be going on the road in the middle of July for live events. The brand has already been allowing a select amount of fans at television tapings given that they fill out a COVID policy questionnaire.

Cole spoke about the NXT brand going back to touring, saying he’s never been more excited for something in his life. The former leader of the Undisputed Era said wrestling without a live audience feels naked and his excitement for the return of the norm is through the roof.

“My god, I have never been more excited for anything I don’t think,” Cole said. “Even having a few fans in the [Capitol Wrestling Center] every week and feeling that real energy from the audience, what a difference. We always knew the fans were vital to the success and the excitement and the entertainment of what pro wrestling brings to the table. But to actually get back to traveling to different cities and feeling that energy and that passion is what it’s all about.

“Wrestling feels naked without the audience, it can still be amazing and it can still be awesome and we can still tell great stories but that glue that holds everything together and that intangible thing that makes the magic of what we do so special is the audience. I cannot wait. I promise you, for all the fans that are excited to come back and witness WWE live and in person, I promise you the performers are more excited than you are, for real.”

Cole continued to talk about the ongoing debate about RAW and SmackDown vs. NXT and the idea that NXT is still a developmental brand for WWE. The former NXT Champion said he doesn’t understand why people still think NXT as a whole is developmental, but explains why he believes everyone in wrestling should always try to develop and learn.

“It bothers me a lot to some extent,” Cole said. “I try to be a glass half full guy in a lot of ways, so I think there is an aspect to NXT or the Performance Center where of course there is developmental. Where there are people who get hired with wrestling experience, with no wrestling experience, with the process of hopefully getting to that point where they end up on NXT television. To say that the roster of the guys on NXT, as far as developmental goes, I really do believe that we are on the same level as the guys on RAW and as the guys on SmackDown. The process of development is something that happens all the time.

“I’ve been wrestling for 13 years and I’ve constantly been developing, I don’t ever want to get out of developmental. It’s so cool for me to be around guys like Shawn Michaels or Triple H or Matt Bloom who they themselves are very open to admitting they’re still learning. And if those guys are open about learning, we definitely better be open to it. I’ve always kept that mentality and thought process of if I’m not getting better every single year and every single match, then I’ve got to get out of it. I’m proudly developing in that sense.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.