Adam Cole was on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast. He and Chris Jericho talked about Cole’s decision to sign with AEW, and Cole recalled his back and forth in his decision. He also discussed his talks with WWE prior to making the decision.
“Naturally, I’ve always been curious or excited at the idea of working for AEW between the roster, the fans,” Cole admitted. “I don’t mean to sound cliché, but the fans are the best fans in the world. When you watch the shows, you can tell too. I think about all these different, cool matches I could have, how much I get along with everybody. So I was always interested, but then when it came time to make the decision, which again, kind of fell into my lap. I was expecting to have this conversation in December.
“Here’s the strangest part, me and another guy, who I won’t name just in case, but we signed extensions virtually at the same time and his was up in December, so I thought mine was as well, but it was a totally different case where it was another contract, or it ended earlier. I don’t understand how that works, but I was surprised, very surprised.
“They talked to me a few days prior to my contract expiring. Literally, it was like four days until my deal was up and they asked me if I’d be interested in signing an extension, which, to me, was a no brainer because I was in the middle of a feud with Kyle O’Reilly, who’s one of my best friends. So I’m like, cool, yeah. At the very least, I’ll do this and finish that with him. But as far as actually deciding where I wanted to go, it’s kind of a really boring story.
“It was 1:00 in the morning, and Britt [Baker] is sleep, and I’m laying there in the dark just thinking pros and cons of WWE – AEW. And when I started thinking about going to AEW, I felt like a nine year old kid. I had butterflies in my stomach and I was so excited, so jazzed up. I’m 32. If this isn’t the world, or my heart, or my soul telling me that’s what I’m supposed to do, that’s what I’m supposed to do. It was me by myself, no music, no movie, nothing. In the dark, everyone’s asleep, and I was like, I have to go to AEW.”
WWE officials were reportedly caught off guard at how soon Cole’s contract was expiring. Tony Khan had disputed a report that AEW made an offer to Cole, and Cole revealed how quickly his deal with AEW came together.
“Days before, it was close because my contract had just expired very recently. It was like a week and a half, maybe, before,” Cole recalled. “It was very, very quick, so I couldn’t even really talk to Tony until then. That’s why the decision happened so last minute. I couldn’t have a discussion if I wanted to. To have that discussion with him and then make the decision, and just think that a few days later I would be All Out was pretty cool. It all happened so fast.”
Cole also revealed who he told that he would leave WWE for AEW. He talked about the support he received for his decision.
“I told Hunter (Triple H) and Shawn [Michaels], and both of them could not have been more supportive. It was awesome,” Cole stated. “I had a really, really long conversation with Shawn, and of course, he wishes that there could be a world where me and him could still see each other a lot, and talk, and work together and stuff, but he wants me to be as happy as possible, be as successful as possible. And he could tell how excited I was to come here, and I had his support 100%. And then Hunter, again, could not have been cooler, more understanding, appreciative of the four years that we’ve worked together. So I’m lucky the relationship I formed with those guys.”
Cole had a meeting with Vince McMahon during his contract negotiation period about moving to the main roster. Jericho asked Cole if Triple H was ever involved in trying to get him to the main roster.
“I believe so because we never really had a discussion of if he was saying, ‘Yeah, I’m doing everything in my power to get you to RAW or Smackdown. He was very supportive of me and in a lot of ways, protective of me,” Cole described. “He really believed in what I brought to the table, both in the ring and on the mic. He really was happy with kind of the vibe that I gave in the locker room. I’m an annoyingly optimistic, positive person, but that’s important for locker rooms to have a couple of them. He was always someone that just really believed in me. Whether that be at NXT, or RAW or SmackDown, he was with me all the way.”
Cole made his AEW debut at All Out just before Bryan Danielson would also make his AEW debut. Cole talked about if he expected the reaction he received.
“Not at all. I mean, I did expect some people to be excited because they know about my history with The Young Bucks and Kenny [Omega], and I’m still friends with those guys to this day and was my entire time in NXT,” Cole said. “And I had heard rumblings about people being really excited, but my debut at All Out was my favorite night of my wrestling career just for the reaction. It was so insane, so, so cool.
“It’s so funny, anytime I’m in a situation where I’m about to debut, same at NXT, where I surprise debut there, I’m like, god, I hope people care. And then with All Out, it was that tenfold because everyone was expecting Bryan, so I’m like, oh, I hope they’re not like, oh crap, we got Adam Cole instead. So between that and then my debut against Frankie Kazarian, just the reactions have been unbelievable. I definitely get this feeling that they’re genuinely so happy I’m here, and they can tell I’m really happy I’m here too, so it’s a really cool thing.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.