Adam Cole: Story Time

Are you ready for storytime?

In 2018, I was still not fully into professional wrestling yet. I had watched a few WWE events and a few NJPW matches at the behest of my brother, but one particular night, he pulled me in. Said I had to watch this thing called an “NXT Takeover”, which turned out to be in Philadelphia.

In one ring stood a heavily tattooed man by the name of Aleister Black. In the other corner stood Adam Cole. My brother explained to me that if he ever went to WWE’s main roster, he’d be a big star, like Shawn Michaels or Edge. I kept my gaze on both of these men, and they impressed me, a jaded and casual viewer. Just how these men moved and told a story made it compelling. It was like I was a child again, watching Shawn Michaels facing off with The Undertaker.

Whether it was as a bad guy or a good guy, Cole kept my attention in leading the Undisputed Era, tearing apart the Undisputed Era, or returning to the graces of The Elite when debuting for All Elite Wrestling. And he did it again upon his return from injury.

In the times since, Adam Cole felt like a big star, much larger-than-life, and thus to this day feels so much taller than he actually is – and that’s no sleight on him at all. In fact, it’s a compliment, because he radiates charisma and intangibles that it’s hard not to notice him. For all the professional wrestlers that have the same look as him – dark, long hair; facial hair; caucasian…he still manages to stand out. He’s his own guy. And once you get him into the ring, he lets his soul take it from there.

Often he states that all that needs to be done to make him special is to “ring the freakin’ bell”, and, yes, he’s right. He’s given great music, catchphrases, and a microphone, but in the medium of professional wrestling, one has to perform and one has to wrestle. He can throw his hands up and say “Adam Cole, baybay” and point his thumb at his head and shout “BOOM!” but in the end, can he hang?

Ask Johnny Gargano. Ask Aleister Black. Ask Kyle O’Reilly. Ask anyone who’s stepped in the ring with him, called his matches, announced him, rang the bell for him, ask anyone who’s seen him live or behind a screen. Those without company bias will tell you that he can.

Since his debut for All Elite Wrestling in 2021, Cole still managed to stand out enough during the Hangman/Omega storyline and the debuts of two men who debuted around the same time he did – CM Punk and Bryan Danielson. If you don’t believe me, how often was he still in the conversation? Negative or positive, he was not out of anyone’s tongue. He came in, did the work, and did everything he had to do. 

Hell, it was important enough that he and fellow former Bullet Club member Jay White were there to announce more details of the historic Forbidden Door pay-per-view event in 2022. They got to contend with NJPW and AEW’s hot stars, being hot stars themselves.

From his absence following the event to his return, his presence was missed. His time was a bit short beforehand. What’s it that they say about absence making the heart grow fonder? He was missed, but the fact that he really needed the time away was the most important. The fact we got him on his streams was enough. Seeing Da Party reunited and able to play Uno again, seeing him stream on his Twitch platform The Chugs, his energy radiated as an overall good dude. He loves his video games and professional wrestling. 

That’s why even when he was his heelishly heel self, it was hard to root against him. It’s the charm of a wrestler who loves this business, I tell you.

In fact, if I may veer off topic here, Adam Cole is a great person to model oneself off of in finding themselves. To be a genuinely kind dude, enjoying what he enjoys, and still having the charm to keep audiences, strangers, friends, and loved ones magnetized, he’s a lesson in confidence. It’s this that makes him feel like a giant, because he feels like an approachable person. 

His disdain for Tony Schiavone becoming too close of a friend to his girlfriend, Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. is humorous, but on-screen and online, they’re absolutely adorable to watch. Love is a beautiful thing, and whether their characters show love or not, they live it. They defend each other from haters and they support each other and care for one another as any couple would. There genuinely, on the surface as far as we’ve seen (though it’s none of our business), doesn’t seem to have any toxicity between the two. It’s wholesome.

That’s what’s at the center of Adam Cole, not just with his romantic partners, but with the love he has for friends and fans.

I still feel connected to Adam Cole whenever that clip circulates during his stream of Hollow Knight when WWE mass released several people, and seeing his friends lose their job, it’s a depressing thing, and seeing him in that moment, processing it with the emotions he’s had and still manage to pull it together to continue the show. 

Not only is he a professional, but he lives for this. That silly grin on his face as he connects with us is proof of that. His skits on Being the Elite showcase just how much of a goofy goober he is. Honestly, kicking his butt on Super Smash Bros or All Elite Wrestling: Fight Forever would be a dream come true for me.

While getting used to the Chugs-man being a babyface was quite a change near the end of The Undisputed Era and once he came back around AEW Revolution 2023, it’s always welcome. I’d argue it was needed upon the post-Forbidden Door return, because he was missed so much and his injury haunted us. Him coming back was more than we could have ever asked for, and I hope he knows we don’t take it granted for one goddamn second because in life we are granted few opportunities to do the things we love, let alone continue doing them. When he poured his soul out to us on that episode of Dynamite, that was it. This symbiotic relationship between wrestler and fan has us rooting for him and there’s no taking it away.

With glassy-eyes and emotional voice, he isn’t taking this for granted either. To be loved by the masses and appreciated for it, for doing something you love, that means a lot. As a writer and poet myself, I know this very well.

His story isn’t over yet, and it won’t be until he or fate itself dictates it so. He’s escaped losing this before; he isn’t going to let himself fall again. There has to be a happily ever after.

So, whether he’s telling stories or living it up, whenever he steps into the ring, it’s not just about the fame, the money, the moments that look good on a resume. It’s all about his connection.

It’s all about the boom.