Adam Cole made the surprise jump to All Elite Wrestling at the All Out pay-per-view back on Sept. 5, mere weeks after his final WWE match at NXT TakeOver 36 and the expiration of his contract. Cole told reporters in the post-show media scrum after the fact that he knew "in my heart pretty early on that I wanted to come here," and in a new interview with Sports Illustrated this week he described the moment when he made the decision.
"My actual decision was literally only a couple days before [the pay-per-view]," Cole said. "I was awake in bed, it was close to 1 in the morning, and I was imagining being involved in AEW. That thought gave me such an excited feeling. I was so giddy I couldn't even sleep. I loved the idea of coming to All Elite Wrestling, and that's when I knew what I needed to do."
He also explained the lengths he and Tony Khan went to in order to keep his All Out debut a secret. The show ended with Cole reuniting with the rest of The Elite before being surprised by Bryan Danielson's arrival.
"I didn't even fly into Chicago [the site of All Out], I flew into a different city the day before," Cole said. "I didn't even stay in the same hotel as Bryan. We showed up to the building while the show was going on, and we waited outside in a trailer. The locker room didn't even know until the absolute last moment. It was the most secretive debut I've ever been involved in, and Tony Khan took every measure to make this as big of a surprise as possible."
"There is so much story for us to tell, especially with Kenny Omega and the Bucks involved," he later added. "There are so many different directions for us to go, and it's going to be very exciting with the way we tell this story. I've changed a lot since I've been with The Elite, and so have Kenny and the Bucks, and it's going to be really exciting to create what we're about to create."
The former NXT triple crown champion will make his in-ring debut for the young promotion on tonight's AEW Dynamite, taking on Frankie Kazarian. Check out the full card (so far) for the show below:
- Adam Cole vs. Shawn Spears
- Jade Cargill vs. Leyla Hirsch
- Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears
- Bryan Danielson confronts Kenny Omega
2 huge weeks ahead for #AEWDynamite.— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 13, 2021
This Wednesday in Newark, NJ:
-@AdamColePro v @FrankieKazarian
-@DarbyAllin v @ShawnSpears
-@Jade_Cargill v @LegitLeyla#AEWDynamite Grand Slam in NYC 9/22:
-@CodyRhodes returns against #MalakaiBlack (@TommyEnd)
🎟️- https://t.co/UN1cNiJJrQ pic.twitter.com/insQRK7bSh