Ring of Honor (ROH) superstar Adam Cole is one of the most talked about performers not signed to WWE, but company chairman Vince McMahon wanted to change that, according to Daily Wrestling News.
McMahon, who is aware of certain outside talent per the report, wanted Cole to begin on WWE’s NXT brand. However, the 26-year-old was recently revealed as the newest member of the popular wrestling stable the Bullet Club. With that new gig, Cole has cemented a niche for himself in the wrestling world and the former ROH World champion is enjoying the peak of his popularity.
“This definitely is the most talked about that I’ve been,”Cole recently said to Brian Fritz of the Between The Ropes podcast about his newfound success. “It’s the hottest I’ve ever been and in order to make this run as good as humanly possible, I need to focus on what’s right in front of me and focus on making this the best that I can.”
With that, Cole is now scheduled to work several dates for both ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). Despite McMahon’s apparent desire to sign Cole, he re-signed with ROH in 2013, and a report from PWInsider’s Mike Johnson last year indicated that “Panama City Playboy” is “locked into a long-term Ring of Honor deal.”
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) May 28, 2016
Cole has been connected to the WWE for the past several years. In early 2013, Cole, along with now-former ROH superstar Mike Bennett and several other performers took part in a WWE tryout (via WrestleView). However, the only two notable signings that came out of that tryout were Shawn Spears (Tye Dillinger in NXT) and Samuray del Sol (former WWE United States champion Kalisto).
Shortly after the tryout, Cole spoke to PWMania about his experience at an official WWE tryout.
“It’s very military style, as it should be. Everyone there is respectful and you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing in there. There’s three different rings and you’re doing a lot of different workout drills to keep you going and making sure you’re in shape and making sure you want it. If you want to be a part of the WWE, you’re going to show it. It’s grueling, but it’s a great time and forces you to face challenges.”
Forgoing a chance with WWE did not impact Cole’s success with ROH. Months after re-signing with the company, Cole went on to win a tournament to capture ROH’s top honor. He held the title for nearly a year as Michael Elgin defeated him at Best in the World 2014, ending his 275-day reign.
— Brian Fritz (@BrianFritz) May 19, 2016
In the past, Cole has spoken highly about WWE and admitted that it’s a lifelong dream to eventually work for the company. However, as Cole explained to Fritz, his current opportunity to be involved with wrestling’s top stable and be a focal point for two major promotions is his main priority.
“I’ve always said this literally since I was 18 or 19 years old when I really started thinking about my future in pro wrestling,” So much stuff can change at the drop of a hat. Now with this formation with the Bullet Club, knowing there’s a lot of great stuff coming for me in New Japan, definitely some great stuff coming for me in Ring of Honor, it’s almost, and I know this is such a cliche answer, but there is so much for me to focus on in the here and now that if I lost track of that and focus too much on what a year or two will look like for me, I’m going to let this moment pass me by and I can’t do that.”