In a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, AEW’s Adam Cole recapped his journey from the highs in WWE NXT to his arrival in AEW. When the two shows were competing for ratings on Wednesday nights, Cole was still with NXT. However, he notes how he personally isn’t as focused on ratings as other stars or fans on the internet.
“So for me personally, and this is always how I have been, being in NXT and being in AEW, I’ve never been someone who is super focused on the ratings war. I was always so focused on, if I was wrestling, I want to have the best match possible, if I’m cutting a promo I want to have the best promo possible… Of course it’s really exciting to hear ‘Hey! 1.3 million, that’s awesome!’ or that I was in the highest rated segment on the show, that’s great. But if my match isn’t good, or my promo isn’t good, I don’t care how many people have watched it, I’m going to be upset,” Cole said.
“But it was a really exciting time, really cool, especially in the beginning. It was NXT’s first time on TV, which was really awesome. Now I am on the other side in AEW and seeing the momentum continuing to grow, it’s cool. I think across the board it’s good for wrestling,” he continued. “I think it’s cool that people can watch both shows and stuff like that. Sometimes I do think that the fans are a little bit too hard on either side. I was on the WWE side, but I still loved WCW. But I’ve always been someone who is like, man there are a lot of people getting a lot of TV time, or not been on TV before and getting the chance to showcase themselves. I just think it has been great across the board for the industry of pro-wrestling.”
As previously noted, one of the non-negotiable parts Cole included in his potential contracts was that he wouldn’t give up his video game streaming channel on Twitch. He reiterated that this outlet for socializing with fans while doing something he loves in playing video games is something he never intends to stop.
“It was really important to me. I know that I have made it pretty apparent, even while I was still there, about how Twitch stream is something that I am really passionate about, it’s never going to go away and things like that,” Cole said. “Twitch became a vital part of not just something that I did, but a part of who I am. I can’t imagine not being able to go on there and talk to the community or play games with buddies of mine. There’s so many things about Twitch that have become so important to me. And I really want to keep growing, I want to see where it goes and see how far I can take it. So yeah, keeping Twitch was very important to me.”
When all was said and done with contract negotiations, Cole obviously chose to join AEW’s roster over WWE NXT. Many factors ultimately went into the decision, and Cole took the time to tell a story he has mentioned before where one restless night brought an answer to his question of where to sign.
“It kind of all happened so fast, because again, when the discovery of my deal coming up very soon, that was when all these thoughts and ideas starting entering my head. I want to make this very clear, and I know that everyone knows this, I had a wonderful 4 years at WWE. Specifically down in NXT with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, two guys that I respect the hell out of and have been nothing but so kind and so generous to me, and so helpful. I feel like I became such a better performer because of little things they have said and working alongside them. So the decision actually was difficult in a lot of ways.
“With 9-year-old me, my goal was to wrestle for WWE. Now I had this other opportunity, where I see this company like AEW, which has just grown massively over these past two years. I see a guy like Tony Khan, who is one of the nicest and most passionate about pro-wrestling that I have ever met. The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and Britt all being there, that was nice. There was a phase where I was seeing Britt for half a day once a week. Now I can see her a lot more, which is great. I didn’t make my decision to come to AEW officially until like a few days before All Out. I remember lying in bed and weighing out the pros and cons and trying to decide what I wanted to do. It was 1am, Britt was asleep, and I was thinking about showing up at AEW, and I got butterflies in my stomach, I felt like a 9-year-old kid. I have always followed my gut, and have always followed what my heart wanted me to do. There were so many pros to going to AEW. When you say you can tell that I am having the time of my life, it’s because I am, I am having a freaking blast.”
Cole also touched on the difficult process of saying goodbye to NXT, but he notes how the company was supportive and professional the entire time. They were even willing to grant him a contract extension to wrap up his feud with Kyle O’Reilly before departing.
“Yes. So I did make it very clear to them that I wanted to weigh my options, and I wanted to think about what I wanted to do. They could not have been more professional. They could not have been cooler about it and they never pressured me, they were awesome the whole way through. I think what helped, and this is public knowledge at this point, with everything going on, there was a short extension that I ended up signing.
“To me, it was such a no-brainer. They didn’t have to convince me and they didn’t have to talk me into it. I was in the middle of a program with one of my best friends, Kyle O’Reilly. It was really important to me that I got to finish that. And not just that, but just because how good to me they were that entire time. I think that was really helpful in terms of the respect on both sides, because hypothetically, I could have ended up walking out and debuting on Dynamite a few days later. But there was no chance that I would have ever done that.”
You can view the full interview below: