NXT Champion Adam Cole will be at the forefront of history on Sept. 18 when he and the rest of the NXT roster make the move from the WWE Network to the USA Network as part of a two-hour weekly live show. The jump marks an exciting new era for the show, firmly establishing it as WWE's third brand while still standing as a legitimate alternative to WWE's other television products.
Leading up to the new show, Cole sat down with ComicBook.com to discuss a wide variety of topics from NXT's move to the impending "Wednesday Night Wars" to his relationship with AEW star Britt Baker. Towards the end of the interview he addressed being apart of one of the hottest acts in NXT — The Undisputed Era.
The four-man faction will play a major role on the Sept. 18 episode, as Roderick Strong has a chance to fulfill the "Undisputed Prophecy" when he take on NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream. The prophecy, where all four members of the group will simultaneously be champions, was first introduced on television several months back and has been a key storyline for the brand ever since.
Cole said the idea for the storyline came from an offhand comment he made during a promo earlier in the year.
"I think that was just something that I just said at one point where I talked about how I wanted Undisputed Era to have all the gold, and it was something that kind of just stuck, so it's something that we've gone with kind of ever since then," Cole said.
"We've been adamant about saying, 'Undisputed Era needs to get all the championships,' and it just fits for our group," he continued. "You know the tagline 'Shock the system?' Now, that's evolved into wanting to have all the championship gold. I just feel like it's a natural progression for the Undisputed Era and the next thing that we would say that we're going to do."
The faction was first introduced in August 2017 when Cole made his debut for NXT and aligned himself with Fish and O'Reilly. Cole was coming into the company as a former multi-time Ring of Honor World Champion, and admitted he was unsure about how much his persona would be changed once he signed with WWE. As it turns out, he arrived on WWE television almost unchanged from his ROH days.
"That was such an interesting process for me... because when I first got hired here, I for sure was like 'How much of me is going to change? Will there be much of anything that changes?' It was just so much unknown as far as what was going on," Cole said.
"I was a little bit surprised but definitely really, really happy that pretty much the Adam Cole that I have been for years before I got to NXT I got to keep in NXT as well because I've become so comfortable with that character and who that character is," he added. "So [I was] a little bit surprised but incredibly happy and relieved that Adam Cole has pretty much stayed Adam Cole."
Like Cole, O'Reilly and Fish had also made their names on the independent scene working for Ring of Honor. Cole said the group was originally supposed to remain a trio, but Strong (another ROH alum) established himself as the fourth member when he turned heel in April 2018 at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans.
"As far as I'm concerned, the original game plan was just myself, Bobby, and Kyle," Cole said. "As a matter of fact, they felt very strongly about making sure that no one else got added to the group, and then there came a time where the idea started getting thrown around about adding Roddy into the group.
"And I remember the three of us talking and saying, 'Gosh, if we're going to add one guy, it needs to be Roddy.' He just fits so incredibly well in the group. I feel like the group was good. The group was really good with the three of us, but I feel like it's perfect with Roderick in there, just the four of us, the way we play off each other. Many people know the four of us have known each other literally for 10 years. We're all incredibly close. We talk every single day. We're legitimate close friends. We travel all the time, so to have him added to the group I really feel like took the group of the Undisputed Era to the next level for sure, for sure."
And as for the group's future, Cole said there's no plans to add any more members.0comments
"I think we feel very strongly about the fact that we want to try to not overcrowded," Cole said. "I feel like the four of us is a perfect match, so as far as I'm concerned, I think it's just going to be myself, Roddy, Kyle, and Bobby going forward."
NXT's premiere on USA will take place at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 18.