According to a new report, Undisputed Era members Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly appear to be on their way to turning babyface as rumors of the long-running NXT faction’s impending disbandment continue to swirl.
On Wednesday, Mike Johnson of PWInsider wrote that Cole’s match against the villainous Austin Theory was a sign that the longest-reigning champion in NXT history will soon be switching to a good-guy role. Wrestling Inc. separately noted that this was Cole’s first in-ring appearance on the black-and-gold brand’s programming since he lost to Finn Balor on September 9 in a Fatal Four-Way match for the vacant NXT Championship.
In addition, Johnson cited multiple unnamed sources and noted that O’Reilly will also be transitioning to babyface status moving forward. O’Reilly is scheduled to face Balor for the NXT title at Sunday’s TakeOver: 31 pay-per-view, and as Wrestling Inc. pointed out, Cole predicted that his stablemate will end up winning the belt against the Irishman and repeatedly gave him praise on this week’s episode of NXT. This appeared to add fuel to the rumors that both men will be changing alignment as rumored.
The rest of The Undisputed Era — Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong — will reportedly retain their heel alignment. Per Wrestling Inc., this might lead to an “interesting” dynamic for the faction — which formed in August 2017 and has enjoyed a dominating run on NXT — but could also be a sign that they will soon be disbanding.
Speculation regarding a possible Undisputed Era split first came up little more than a month ago, following O’Reilly’s win over Drake Maverick on the August 26 episode of NXT. As explained by The Inquisitr, Fish and Strong then emphasized their heel status by attacking Maverick after the contest. While O’Reilly eventually joined his stablemates in beating down the former 24/7 Champion, he was initially hesitant as he looked to be subtly hinting at a future face turn. Cole, meanwhile, was not present at the time of the angle, further lending credence to the “underlying issues” within the group.
As for Cole’s rumored switch to babyface status, Sportskeeda wrote that this has seemingly been in the works since he lost the NXT Championship to Keith Lee in July. Aside from him and Balor “showing signs of respect” to each other after last month’s title match, Cole also defeated Pat McAfee at TakeOver: XXX in August, wrapping up a storyline rivalry that was triggered by the former NFL star’s disparaging comments about his would-be opponent’s lack of size.