Adam Cole made his emotional return to AEW Dynamite last night. The former NXT Champion hadn't been seen since last September and it was well-known that he was recovering from a pair of serious concussions suffered earlier in the year. He described his difficult road to recovery, but then the crowd inside the Kia Forum rose to its feet when he announced he was fully cleared to return to action.
Cole reflected on his return on Thursday afternoon, captioning a photo from him appearing onstage as "A second chance." Dr. Britt Baker, Cole's longtime girlfriend, then discussed the trials and tribulations he went through.
For months the only time @AdamColePro left the house was to go to bran/physical therapy appointments. There was a time he wasn’t allowed to fly on planes or do anything more than go for a walk. I’m so damn proud of how hard he worked every single day to get back to you all.♥️— Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. (@RealBrittBaker) January 12, 2023
"Thanks for being in my corner every step of the way. Couldn't have done it without you," Cole wrote back.
Prior to Cole's hiatus, he challenged for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and the AEW World Championship (twice). Despite that, some fans were still unsatisfied with how he was being positioned within the company, especially compared to how he was a record-breaking top star for WWE's NXT promotion. When Paul Levesque was announced as WWE's new booker following the "retirement" of Vince McMahon, Cole's name was brought up as someone who could potentially try to leave AEW and go back to work for Levesque. That idea was something Tony Khan actively called out as foolish.
"I am a little amused that changes in the competition (McMahon leaving, Levesque taking over as WWE's booker), people think that it's going to magically change the landscape. ...Some of the narratives that I've seen (on Twitter) for the last week are really amusing me. I've got people signed here for five years and people think just because the CEO, the Chairman, the Head of Creative, those positions change in the competition, people that I have five-year contracts with are just going to magically switch teams? Good luck with that. Adam Cole is signed until about 2027 now. I wouldn't expect to see him go anywhere anytime soon," Khan told Busted Open Radio last year."...So just because these guys had some success under a previous administration, they're not going to magically be going anywhere else."