AEW’s Adam Cole ‘having a blast’ in new surroundings ahead of world title bout

Cole has swapped Vince McMahon’s WWE empire for All Elite Wrestling

<p>Adam Cole signed for AEW after a hugely successful spell in WWE</p>

Adam Cole signed for AEW after a hugely successful spell in WWE

Where many wrestling fans see rivalry between AEW and WWE, Adam Cole sees the type of choice that can keep the industry alive.

The hugely talented Cole wrestles for All Elite Wrestling’s World Championship on Sunday, six months after swapping Vince McMahon’s empire for that of Tony Khan.

There exists a sense of tribalism between some fans who staunchly support one over the other, with a ferocity you’d expect to find in the upper echelons of the football world where Khan also has a stake as co-owner of Fulham.

Indeed Khan - who also boosted his portfolio with the acquisition of Ring of Honor this week -  has offered a fresh start to many a disgruntled ex-WWE star over the last few years, but this seems to be where 32-year-old Cole bucks something of a trend.

Rather than being released from the Stamford-based company under a cloud or bitter about a perceived lack of opportunities, Cole laid his own path to red-hot AEW.

His contract with WWE – where he performed at an incredible level on NXT – expired naturally last Autumn and he seemingly left on good terms, telling The Independent that at that point, AEW was his next choice “99% of the way.”

“I have openly said this before and will say it forever,” he reflects. “I cherished my time with NXT.

“I had such an amazing experience there, from the roster we had and the fans, to working alongside Shawn Michaels and Triple H, two guys who I idolised and who were amazing to work for and who I learned so much from.

“It just came to a point for me where my deal was coming up and I was weighing up the pros and cons of both inside and outside of wrestling.

“Looking at what I wanted to do not just with my wrestling career but my life going forward, for me, 99% of the way, AEW was that choice.”

Cole faces AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page this Sunday at Revolution

Cole admits he relishes getting in the ring and getting into the cut and thrust of a lengthy match above all else.

He does admit, however, that the variety that AEW affords him as a performer is a big plus.

He adds: “I create this incredible amount of pressure on myself to perform a certain way, whether that be an interview I do, or a match, or if I’m just running down to the ring – I want it to be as good as possible all the time.

“That pressure hasn’t changed, so mechanically it feels very similar, but the environment in AEW is incredibly laid back.

“You have a lot of creative input and freedom in a lot of different things, be it interviews or matches or what have you. So, it has been really fun.

“Being able to wrestle in front of really big crowds every single week has been amazing… the AEW fans are the best; they’re so rowdy every week.

“I’ve been having a blast and I love all the stuff I’ve been doing. Whether it’s funny, serious or sad, I’ve been having so much fun.”

Cole is very much at home in All Elite Wrestling, that’s as true for him as it is for, say, the villainous MJF or the veteran CM Punk.

But founding star Cody Rhodes – who shone so brightly after being worn out creatively in WWE before that – is rumoured to be on his way back to his former employer.

Even if that doesn’t materialise, it seems only natural that with a successful future for both companies – and the likes of Impact, New Japan and others – comes a greater level of choice for those plying their trade between the ropes.

“Having so many different options available for talent is always a positive, in every single way,” Cole goes on to stress.

“For guys to be able to go ‘maybe this isn’t working for me, maybe I’ll go here for less money, or maybe I’ll go here and be offered even more than I’m making here..’ – to have that kind of power and option to pick and choose really helps the talent, for sure.

“It’s great for the wrestling industry. The more companies that are succeeding and doing well, and getting fans to go to shows, or order the pay per views, order the t-shirts or what have you, it is better across the board for the wrestling industry.

“I love the pro wrestling industry and I want it to live forever.”

Fans in the UK can watch Sunday’s Revolution pay per view live on FITE, while weekly AEW programming is shown on ITV. For more details visit allelitewrestling.com

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