When talking with the #Dork podcast, AEW’s Adam Cole spoke about what sets NXT apart from the main roster in WWE, and why the Takeover shows were often so special. For the former Undisputed Era star, he believes that it is the fans that play a crucial role in creating the magic for the brand.

“There’s so many factors to go into it. Number one, and I stand by this, that roster was stacked. You had a lot of really talented dudes who were trying to make an impression and trying to show the world, on the biggest stage they have ever had, how good they were. So I think that created a really exciting atmosphere. Second of all, the live audience that was there, I’ve said this before and I think it’s a big reason AEW is so successful, the people that buy a ticket to that show and show up, they want the show to be good. They go there with the intention of going, ‘this show is going to rule. I can’t wait to watch these matches.’ It creates this exciting atmosphere that not only creates cool magic within the audience, but it does create a different feeling with the wrestlers as well, so that’s how the magic happens in a lot of ways.

“I do think, at the end of the day, in a lot of ways, the fans looked at NXT as like, not the little engine that could, but this new brand that was starting that they felt responsible for its growth, which I think is so important. I think the fact that the roster kept growing and they kept signing these indie darlings or independent stars, they felt responsible for this massive growth of NXT becoming like a legit third brand for the company.”

Cole believes that magic is something that AEW and the original NXT have in common, as he thinks that the fans are vital to AEW’s success as well.

“AEW has that same kind of passion in the sense of people feel like they are responsible for AEW’s growth over these past two years, and they are. The fact that the fans are so amped, so jacked up, so ready to go, and ready to enjoy these matches, the fans are vital to it.”

Cole also discusses his famous rivalry with Johnny Gargano and the difficulty of creating their second NXT Takeover match after the original had proven to be so popular.

“Man, so stressful. Specifically with a guy like Johnny, because me and Johnny Gargano are really close. I just talked to him today, he’s a great friend of mine. We only wrestled one time prior to our first one in Brooklyn and it was in 2010 for Evolve Wrestling for Gabe Sapolsky, so eight years or whatever had gone by. We had been saying it would be really cool to wrestle in a featured match for NXT. So, we had the first one, and fortunately, people really enjoyed it. There were a lot of eyes on it because it was WrestleMania weekend and stuff. But going into the second one, it was incredibly stressful. Going like, ‘how in the world are we going to top this one?’ The nice thing that happens is, when you have matches like that, there are certain little story arcs that you create without even realizing it, so actually putting it together wasn’t as difficult as you would think. It also helps that I was in there with a guy like Johnny, who is just a genius when it comes to that stuff.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the #Dork podcast, with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.