The WWE should not re-sign Adam Cole. It really isn’t even that controversial of a stance, Spike Dudley 2.0 doesn’t deserve this much debate.
According to sources, Cole’s contract is set to expire after Summerslam. With recent surprising cuts to the NXT roster, the future of the former two-time NXT champion is legitimately in question. With AEW carving out a solid reputation as a viable wrestling alternative to the WWE machine, many believe Cole is destined to take his talents to Jacksonville. Memo to Triple H, Vince McMahon, Nick Khan, or whoever is running WWE nowadays, let him.
WWE Should Not Re-Sign Adam Cole
Wrestling fans have traditionally been conditioned to view the industry as a dichotomous competition. Recently NXT and AEW have reignited the Monday Night War’s concept of the late ’90s with their Wednesday Night Wars. This “battle” resulted in little more than a slap fight, providing about 1/10th of the intrigue, creativity, and national interest.
AEW was officially declared the victor when NXT packed their bags and moved their programming to Tuesday nights after losing the ratings battle almost every week. What Adam Cole and his fanbase would like the wrestling industry to believe is this notion that a Cole defection would shift the balance of power in the world of pro wrestling. The same Adam Cole who headlined as champion as AEW defeated NXT week-in and week-out. Somehow, if Cole were to show his face on TNT this fall, this would equate to some “Lex Luger at the mall of America” moment. These assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth.
If Cole does make the switch to AEW, Tony Khan must avoid introducing him by having him enter from the crowd. It would be all too confusing, as Cole would easily be mistaken for a teenage fan. When the WWE produced 205Live, showcasing wrestlers of a smaller build and depicting them as a less important product, they should have noticed their NXT champion weighed 50lbs less than everyone on the Z show.
Being undersized is no longer a death sentence in pro wrestling. Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio overcame their physical limitation to become main-roster main-eventers and WWE world champions. The key to their ascension was, despite their size, they were special, and most importantly, believable. Daniel Bryan worked tirelessly outside of the ring to learn grappling, submission wrestling, and striking offense through various forms of combat arts.
In a real fight, Daniel Bryan would beat the living hell out of 90% of the people in the arena. Rey Mysterio wasn’t like Bryan, he didn’t have that combat realism, but his ability to fly around the ring was unmatched by anyone who the fans had ever seen before. In the context of a wrestling match, anyone capable of Mysterio’s move-set would have a clear advantage over their opponent. These two were special. There is absolutely nothing special about Adam Cole.
This isn’t just about Cole’s matchstick biceps, it’s about his overall puny presence. Cole isn’t the only undersized champion that NXT has promoted. Many who came before him were of a similar build, whether it be Johnny Gargano, Finn Balor, or Tomasso Ciampa.
Being a giant was never necessary to headline the black and gold brand. Despite their size, Balor, Ciampa, and Gargano exploded off the screen with vibrant characters. Ciampa really felt like an evil villain possessed to keep his spot on top, Gargano rivaled Daniel Bryan’s ability to portray the loveable underdog and Balor evoked the lore of wrestling’s yesteryear with his enigmatic Demon character.
Adam Cole’s best effort at character development is cosplaying Shawn Michaels circa 1997. For years Cole has been propped up by his more talented stablemates in the Undisputed Era and carried by silly catchphrase, Bay-Bay. If Cole goes to AEW, what exactly is the WWE losing?
What will AEW be gaining by signing Cole? With rumors of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk set to debut, it’s comical to think that Cole’s appearance will even register to the common wrestling fan. Sure, Twitter will explode for a night, hell, Cole may even trend worldwide. Sadly, that would be the highlight of his AEW career. The unremarkable, unbelievable and incredibly bland Adam Cole experience will surely fall flat. I imagine the feud with Marko Stunt will be a good one though.