Adam Cole is All Elite BAY BAY… The Decision, Excellent; The Timing?

By Sean Saputo

Adam Cole is arguably one of the top five to 10 professional wrestlers in the world today. No matter what promotion he steps foot in, he is on the top of the card and truly a guy that a company can build its future around.

A guy that has drawn comparisons to Shawn Michaels has opted to leave WWE and head to AEW. Now that I’ve had time to dive in and process the chaos, this decision is excellent on Cole’s part; however, the timing of his decision can be up for debate.

The decision

Much to my surprise, the decision Adam Cole seemed willing to make was to stay with WWE. Initially, it made sense, considering all that NXT, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, William Regal and those who “operate” the show there have done for him, propelling him to greater heights. 

On the other hand, I was left dumbfounded. Cole’s contract was set to expire at the end of July, and for some reason, Canyon Cemen, the former Senior Director of Talent Development and the man in charge of making sure those in charge knew about expiring contracts, flat out dropped the ball on Cole, thinking his contract wasn’t up until later in the year. Well, Cemen got fired and deservedly so.

Cole, like the great guy he is; I can say this having met the man and had conversation with him, went to Triple H, explained the situation and was willing to look past the hiccup and sign a deal through the end of SummerSlam Weekend to put long-time friend Kyle O’Reilly over at NXT Takeover 36. The caveat; a no non-compete clause.

Cole met with Vince McMahon and has gone on record, stating the talks went well. However, that means nothing considering Vince and Bruce Pritchard have gone on record saying they don’t want “midgets” ( any wrestler under 6′). Despite that, Vince offered a deal to Cole, and he was willing to sign, just under one condition; he could keep his Twitch channel he started during the pandemic that has become a passion.Vince said no.

McMahon’s ego and his need to feed on the control over everything cost WWE a guy that could lead this company into the future because the creative minds currently (Vince and Bruce) don’t use their heads. 

It then was reported by Ringside News that Pritchard’s pitch for Cole was to make him a heel manager on SmackDown. Are you F’n serious? A main event level guy to be wasted as a heel manager! We wonder why the WWE product is in the dumps right now. Not only that, NXT is getting a revamp, and that brand is dying, so Cole was screwed either way.

Cole made the right move to join AEW and, by doing so, gets to join his girlfriend Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D (shout-out Pittsburgh) and his good friends Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, and others he’s traveled the world with. He will also be utilized properly and not wasted in WWE like other NXT call-ups such as Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Keith Lee, Karrion Kross, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor (after return from injury) and many, many more that can be listed.

The timing

Although the decision for Cole to move to AEW was smart, I’m not so sure the timing of the move is right for Cole.

To start, his alliance with The Elite is excellent and expected due to their history. But in a realistic sense, he’s just the No. 4 guy. With Kenny as AEW World Champion and the young Bucks as arguably the best tag team in the world, he’s just another guy joining another faction at this point, albeit one of the main three factions on the show.

Furthermore, I wonder where things go for him from here at this current point. Cole is a main event guy, but there is no room in the main event scene. Hangman Page, upon his return, is going to get his shot at Omega, but then you also have M.J.F lying in wait for a title shot too. 

Then it was the night as a whole. On Sunday, Sept. 5, AEW All Out saw the return of CM Punk in the ring for the first time in seven years in front of his hometown crowd in Chicago. In addition, it had already been released that Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan for WWE only folks) was making his awaited AEW debut that night as well and did so just minutes after Cole came to the ring. 

Cole knows what he is doing and sees the right opportunity sitting in front of him. But I feel he opted for the wrong time to make the debut. With all that was buzzing around All Out, specifically CM Punk wrestling and the debut of Bryan, Cole would’ve been better off waiting just a little bit longer. By doing so, the spotlight would’ve shined on him solely. The way things happened at All Out, he got the pop, but it was taken down shortly after when the pop for Bryan was even more than his. 

Final thoughts

I by no means am saying Cole put himself in a bad spot. Honestly, he’s in the right place, but a different time and a different date, where the light was shining on him, would’ve made the transition even better.

WWE’s higher-ups don’t view the loss of Cole as a big deal. It won’t take long for them to learn that Cole is a tremendous loss and why their ‘sports entertainment” schtick is not what people care about. What us fans want is a play on what Bryan said, “I want to goddamn wrestle.” That’s right WWE. We want to watch wrestling. 

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