Adam Cole had a memorable run in WWE’s NXT brand. Cole made an impactful debut, laying out Drew McIntyre in his debut at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. From there, he went on to become one of the biggest stars on the brand before leaving for AEW when his WWE contract expired.
Cole is now a household name among wrestling fans. It almost wasn’t that way. WWE had interest in signing Adam Cole all the way back in 2013, when what NXT became was still a glimmer in Triple H’s eye.
On the latest Universal Wrestling Podcast, Adam Cole discussed how close he came to signing with WWE at that time. Ultimately, WWE told him to further develop his skills and become the best he could be and they would take another look later. Cole said he is grateful that the company passed on him.
“ROH was kind of booking me in a situation where they could kind of phase me out and then I finally got the call, from Kanyon at the time, and he said, ‘We just want you to know, it’s a no, but it’s just a not right now. It’s not a no forever. It’s just a not right now. Hunter has this vision…’
Because at the time when I tried out it was the end of FCW and I guess Hunter had this vision for what NXT was going to be. Kanyon had told me he envisions NXT as this company that brings in the best guys from all over the world and really showcases them in a different light. So, in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘They’re just being nice to me right now. They’re just telling me no, but they don’t want to be mean, and I respect that.’ But I was crushed.
But, again, the idea that Kanyon said, he goes, ‘Go out and become the best wrestler in the world. Go out and do your thing and travel the globe,’ and all that stuff. That’s exactly what I tried to do. I became a three-time ROH World Champion, the longest-reigning Pro Wrestling Guerilla World Champion. I went to New Japan Pro Wrestling. I did all this stuff, and I’m so thankful that happened, because had I gone to FCW or the beginning stages of NXT as the Adam Cole that I was in the beginning stages of 2013, I would not have had that epic TakeOver moment where I jumped Drew McIntyre and ended TakeOver Brooklyn the way that I did.”
In the end, things worked out for Adam Cole. As the leader of The Undisputed Era, he headlined several major NXT cards. Now, he is All Elite, and couldn’t be happier with the trajectory his career took after WWE initially rejected him.
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Transcription by Ringside News