Killer Kross and Adam Cole took part in a now-infamous segment on “NXT” TV that saw Cole tear into Kross’ character, saying that they needed to give him an entrance and a girl, amongst other things, to make him feel special, while all they had to do for Cole was “ring the freaking bell.” Many were left thinking that this promo battle between the two hurt Kross’ presentation, both in the feud with Cole and afterward.

While on NBC Sports, Kross, who is former “NXT” Champion discussed the promo in question and agreed with the criticisms leveled against it, though he took care to absolve Cole of any blame.

“That was scripted, and he was told to say that, so it wasn’t him like having a meltdown and taking a dig,” Kross said. “It seemed really counterproductive to have a fourth wall promo where only one guy was breaking the fourth wall … The way I saw it at the time was like, ‘He’s gonna be doing the job for me at the end of the month on the pay-per-view,’ and everyone else has exchanged equity with me, their own equity, in putting me over for a year and half.”

“The construction of that promo did not make any sense at all, and I thought it was weird that they wanted to go in that direction,” Kross said. “The time and energy they’re putting into this character presentation, they kind of shot in the head, which I thought was just so unusual.”

Kross never ended up having a one-on-one match with Cole, though he did defend the “NXT” Championship at Takeover: In Your House 2021 against Cole, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, and Kyle O’Reilly. Kross won the match by choking out O’Reilly, retaining his title in the process. Looking back, while Kross thinks it’s unfortunate that the promo in question has become so strongly associated with his time in “NXT,” he also recalls his attempts at the time to protect it.

“It’s a weird Twilight Zone type thing,” Kross said. “Until that angle was totally dead and gone, I wanted to protect the legitimacy of that, even though it was kind of working against me … It got very toxic, very negative, and very weird, and that’s social media for you.”

Cole and Kross would both go on to have their last “NXT” matches at Takeover 36, with Kross losing the “NXT” Championship to Samoa Joe and Adam Cole losing a Three Stages of Hell Match to former Undisputed Era stablemate — and current Undisputed Elite partner in AEW — O’Reilly. Both were released from WWE in 2021.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit NBC Sports and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription

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