Several WWE executives were said to be surprise by the news of Adam Cole’s contract expiring.

As noted before, WrestlingInc exclusively reported on Sunday night that Cole’s WWE contract will be expiring later this month. Cole’s contract was rumored to expire in 2024, but it will now expire after SummerSlam. The deal was actually up after the WWE NXT Great American Bash special on July 6, but Cole extended it.

In an update, PWInsider reports that the realization of Cole’s contract expiring took a number of WWE executives by surprise as it was believed by some that he was locked in through at least January 2022, while other rumors had him with the company until 2024.

It was also noted that people within WWE were frustrated that Cole’s contract status became public.

Cole’s contract situation is also reportedly related to former Senior Vice President of Talent Development Canyon Ceman being let go. We noted last month that Ceman was no longer with the company as of Friday, July 23. PWInsider noted that the timing of the company learning of the Cole contract issue “very much lines up with the timing of” Ceman’s departure.

Our original report noted that Cole has a lot of options in front of him right now, including from companies who are not even in the current wrestling space. He’s also in a position now to negotiate a strong deal with WWE, AEW or any other company.

Cole is expected to face Kyle O’Reilly in another match at NXT Takeover 36, which takes place on Sunday, August 22, the day after SummerSlam. That has not been confirmed and there have been other Takeover plans rumored.

Stay tuned for more on Cole’s status.