Adam Cole Bay Bay is All Elite.
The excited Chicago crowd at the AEW All Out pay-per-view was stunned to see the popular performer when the lights came back on after fading to black. Fresh off a history-making run as NXT champion, Cole made the jump from WWE to the buzzy company. The surroundings may be new, but there are familiar faces that make it feel like home.
Cole reunited with The Elite, a dominant faction that includes former Bullet Club running buddies like the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. With Cole, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk and other top names in the mix, the promotion’s momentum can’t be denied.
TV Insider chatted with Cole to gain insight on his decision to join AEW.
You’ve been part of Ring of Honor and NXT during their respective ascensions. How do you compare that energy with AEW?
Adam Cole: I’m so glad you said that because it’s so true. To me, it’s the most exciting feeling you can possibly have. I’ve always enjoyed being involved with a roster who a hundred percent believe in the product and what we’re doing. It feels like this awesome incline journey that we are on. The feeling after All Out—you just feel unstoppable. It’s such a cool feeling of a really exciting moment where you’re feeling a major change in the company.
In the last week or so, there was talk about WWE planning a managerial role for you on the main roster had you re-signed. Is there any truth to that?
I personally have never heard anything regarding that. I touched base a little bit on how my meeting with Vince McMahon went really well. We talked for about 30 minutes. He had a lot of complimentary things to say. As far as hearing that specific thing, that was not something I heard about. My four years with NXT was fantastic. My four years with WWE was awesome, but at the end of the day, I wanted to end up with AEW. Now that I’m here, I’m stoked.
What did you take from your NXT experience?
I’ve been so open with how much of a relationship I formed with Shawn Michaels. He is an idol of mine. A guy I look at as the greatest professional wrestler of all-time. To have the chance to work under him was really cool. Triple H as well treated me with nothing but respect and is someone I learned so much from, whether it be things that may seem small but are a big deal in the ring or a work ethic. I feel like the pro wrestler I am today is a lot better than Adam Cole was four years ago. A lot of that is because of my time in NXT.
You’re now in the same company as your girlfriend, Britt Baker. How is it being on similar schedules?
It’s so nice. Britt has been blowing up and is all over the place. I’m so happy for her and proud of what she accomplished. But because our schedules were so different, there were very few times we got to spend time together. She is excited about the idea of me being able to give her suggestions or give my thoughts on things. I love the idea of her giving her opinion to me as well. With me and Britt, it has always been a joint effort. To get to spend real quality time together is nothing but a positive for a relationship.
What are your thoughts on working together onscreen in AEW?
I know Britt is carving out her own niche in the pro wrestling world and I want to make sure she continues to do that. But the idea of eventually getting to work with her onscreen is really cool. We only got to work together for a little bit on the independents right before I went to NXT. I had a blast. Whether it’s matches or promos, I really enjoyed it. Eventually, I would love to do some stuff with Britt.
How would you describe how the dynamic might be different this time around with The Elite?
I think the biggest thing is that individually we’ve grown so much. I think the reason Kenny Omega and the Bucks have been so successful is because those guys continue to adapt and evolve as time goes on. While it feels similar, it is also going to feel so fresh because we all evolved so much. I compare this relationship to what I had with the Undisputed Era. That closeness is really real. That is why the Undisputed Era worked and why The Elite works. It’s not just an onscreen persona. I’m excited to get back in there with those guys. I think it’s going to be the best work we’ve ever done.
Your first opponent out of the gate is Frankie Kazarian. Tell me about working with him.
I am the biggest Frankie Kazarian fan. I’ve known him for a really long time. In many ways, I think he is criminally underrated. When he is out there, he delivers every time. It has been years since we’ve worked together. As far as a first opponent in AEW, there is nobody better than him. I’m elated at the idea of getting in there with him and showing the AEW what I can do. It’s a perfect debut.
What is the money match for you in AEW?
Number one is Jungle Boy. I see a lot of myself in him in a lot of ways. I know people have compared the two of us before. I just think not only can I help him in some ways, but we can have some really good matches. I’ve said for years now that if I had a Mt. Rushmore for professional wrestling, CM Punk is on that list. CM Punk is a guy who captivated me with his promos and helped me discover there was other wrestling outside WWE. He was a guy who got me into Ring of Honor and all the independents. He is a guy I would love to go toe-to-toe with not only in the ring but on the microphone.
AEW is running its biggest show to date from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York during a special “Grand Slam” edition of Dynamite on September 22. What kind of statement do you think that makes?
It’s huge. The Northeast, especially in the New York/New Jersey area—it has always been such a hotbed for pro wrestling. Any time I get to wrestle in that area it feels special, let alone in this venue that holds so many people. The idea of this rabid AEW [crowd] being packed in there ready to see Dynamite and have a good time has me giddy with excitement. Thinking about going to that venue and working in front of those fans really does make a statement. It’s another example showing that AEW has arrived. And we’ve arrived tenfold and I can’t wait.
AEW Dynamite, Wednesdays, 8/7c, TNT
AEW Rampage, Fridays, 10/9c, TNT