The story of Adam Cole’s journey from WWE NXT to AEW began with his WWE contract coming up in July, catching WWE officials off guard. At the AEW All Out post show media scrum, Cole revealed that he took wasn’t expecting his deal to be up that soon.
“Funny enough, believe it or not, I was also surprised,” Cole said. “I was under the impression that it was (up) six months later. So it was a surprise to me, it was a surprise to them. And then all of a sudden I went from thinking ‘okay, December is when I’m going to start talking about a new contract’ and then it was like ‘oh no, we’re talking about in three days.’ So I know it was public knowledge to people that I had signed a little extension. I was in the middle of a really serious angle with Kyle O’Reilly, which was very important to me. He’s one of my best friends in the entire world. And then after that is when stuff kind of opened up for me. So yeah, it was just as surprising for me.”
Cole went on to praise his time at WWE, even referring to the place at his dream job. Despite that, he also admitted that when it came to choosing between AEW and WWE, it wasn’t all that difficult of a choice.
“When you think about where I was, technically that was my dream since I was 9 years old,” Cole said. “And then I’d seen everything AEW was doing. I’d been here countless times to support Britt and to hang out with the crew, and it’s just the best crew. The shows are amazing, the fans are amazing. At the same time I had really built a reputation for myself there as well. But I knew in my heart pretty early on that I wanted to come here.
“And it’s no knock, whatsoever on them (WWE). I had a very excellent four year experience. But I wanted to come back and work with a crew who I love being around 24/7, a crew that is just as passionate about pro wrestling as I am, and fans that feel the exact same way that we do. So making the decision was a fairly easy one.”
Cole admitted that even separate from his AEW visits that he had been keeping an eye on the promotion, and that he never put much focus in trying to knock them down while with NXT during the Wednesday Night Wars. He also talked about how AEW’s unpredictability drew him to the product.
“It was always exciting to watch AEW because you always felt like you didn’t know what was going to happen, which tonight was the epitome of that,” Cole said. “I love that feeling and that sense of ‘at any moment, something you didn’t see coming, something insane could happen on this show.’ Week to week, you just didn’t know. For me personally, as far as the Wednesday night back and forth, I’m always someone that kind of focused on what I was doing.
“What I mean by that was not looking at it like ‘how can we be better than AEW?’ It was more ‘how can I make my segment, my promo or my match as good as humanly possible and then let’s see what happens.’ But as far as watching the show from afar, between the in ring wrestling, between the promo work, between the storytelling and, again, between the chaotic ‘what is going to happen?’, that is what was so appealing to me.”
Another draw for Cole was his ability to keep his Twitch stream, something that wouldn’t have been possible if he had been called up to WWE’s main roster. Cole talked about the importance of Twitch to him and how it’s allowed him to connect with people.
“It’s incredibly important to me,” Cole said. “Twitch was something I kind of started over the pandemic. It was something I wanted to do for a long time, but I didn’t take the time to teach myself. And then when that happened and I had a bunch of time on my hands I was like ‘okay, it’s no choice now. There’s no excuse. I had to do it.’ And I initially, I literally, I did doit because I really like video games. I think anybody that knows me knows that I’m really passionate about it.
“But then, what started from the Twitch stream was this community of people that would all come together and literally share that passion over video games. I have gotten so many messages of people who are going through a really rough time and the only thing that they look forward to with that time were those streams. I built a connection with a lot of these people, I know a lot of them by name. Social media can be a really nasty place some times, and there’s none of that that exists in the Twitch stream. I adore doing that, I’m so happy that I’m still doing it and yeah, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.”
You can watch the full media scrum below.