At Ring of Honor’s War of the Worlds pay-per-view, Adam Cole had a bit of a rough night. Not only did he lose his match to Hiroshi Tanahashi, but he soon found himself kicked out (literally) of the incredibly popular Bullet Club. For many, this could only mean one thing: Cole is on his way to WWE/NXT. It seemed like a sure thing. At least it did.
One night after The Young Bucks removed Cole from The Bullet Club, he showed up at an IWC event and announced he’ll be competing in their Super Indy tournament, which is on June 10. So what exactly does this mean?
One important thing to note is that WWE has been far more lenient in letting their wrestlers fulfill their indy dates before joining the company. The Hardys both got to work multiple shows before being exclusive members of the roster (in fact, they worked an IWC show). The same deal may be happening with Cole right now.
It’s possible he signed on to join the tournament a while ago and will work the event while under some sort of WWE deal. Or, he really may be testing the free agent waters and pursuing other avenues. The one thing that does seem likely is that he is done with ROH.
— IWC Wrestling (@IWCwrestling) May 14, 2017
According to PWInsider, Cole has actually been a free agent since May 1. He may now be picking up a couple of dates at different promotions before settling in WWE, which appears to have been his goal for some time as he revealed to Metro in November.
“If I was to tell you that I don’t want to have a Wrestlemania moment someday I would 100% be lying to you. I see that for myself one day, but timing is so important in a career like this…Honest to God I’m not even thinking about WWE right now, I’m focused totally on the next few months with my ROH contract and with NJPW, and when the time comes to think about what happens next, a lot of options will be weighed out.”
If Cole does sign with WWE soon (or already has), it’s likely he’ll have to start out in NXT. While he is a favorite on the indy scene, and certainly has his share of followers, the 27-year-old is still nowhere near the level of Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, or Nakamura who all had to spend a substantial amount of time in the developmental territory. Only rare instances like with A.J. Styles is someone allowed to jump right to the main roster.
While the move to NXT may be a bit of a downer for fans wanting him to immediately make the move to Monday or Tuesday nights, Cole himself expressed in an ESPN interview that he’d actually prefer it.
“I would want to [start in NXT] because, first of all, I’m a fan of NXT. I think the brand is cool. I think the Takeover shows are awesome. I think the fans are great. I love the roster of guys. I think it’s something that’s going to be looked at as a very special time in pro wrestling, so I want to be a part of it. “
The big question now is if Cole will show up on WWE TV next weekend. Lucky for him, NXT TakeOver: Chicago is taking place Saturday night. Triple H loves to debut wrestlers at the events, as Bobby Roode and Drew McIntyre both made their debut/return by sitting in the crowd at one of the shows.
Having Cole appear would certainly give the brand some more buzz and set him up to be a major player there for the foreseeable future. He could then work the IWC tournament in June and return to full-time duty. Or maybe, he’s ready to join the biggest player in the industry quite yet. We should know a lot more in a week, but this has certainly been an intriguing development.
[Featured Image by ROH Wrestling]