Adam Cole's WWE contract officially expired late last month, and the former NXT triple crown champion now finds himself as a member of the All Elite Wrestling roster. Cole met with Vince McMahon to negotiate a possible new deal with WWE weeks before it expired, which would have reportedly seen him finally leave NXT for either Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown. Dave Meltzer then reported via the Wrestling Observer last week that one of the ideas WWE officials designed for Cole was to make him a manager for Keith Lee rather than a wrestler, comparing it to the dynamic Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush had a few years back.
Cole was asked about that report in an interview with TV Insider this week, saying that idea was never brought up to him. Cole will make his in-ring debut for AEW on tonight's AEW Dynamite, taking on Frankie Kazarian.
"I personally have never heard anything regarding that," Cole said. "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."
Cole arrived in the closing moments of the All Out pay-per-view earlier this month, then told reporters in the post-show media scrum that he made the decision to leave for AEW fairly early on.
"I was under the impression that it was six months later," Cole said. "So it was a surprise for me. It was a surprise for them. And then all of a sudden, I went from thinking, 'okay, December is when I'm going to start talking about a new contract.' And then it was like, 'oh no, we're talking about it in three days.' I know it was public knowledge to a lot of people that I had signed a little extension. I was in the middle of a really serious angle with Kyle O'Reilly, which was very important to me. He's my best friend in the entire world. After that is when stuff kind of opened up for me. But yeah, very surprising to me. It was just as surprising to me."
"I've been here countless times to support for it, and hang out with the crew, and it's just the best crew. The shows are amazing, the fans are amazing," he continued. "But at the same time, I had really built a reputation for myself there as well. But I knew in my heart pretty early on that I wanted to come here and it's no knock whatsoever on them. I had a very excellent four year experience, but I wanted to come back and work with a crew who I love being around 24/7, a crew that is just as passionate about pro wrestling as I am. And fans that feel the exact same way that we do. So making the decision was a fairly easy one."