Adam Cole shocked the wrestling world at AEW All Out when he joined All Elite Wrestling and rejoined his friends Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks in the Elite.
Cole had just competed at NXT TakeOver 36, losing to Kyle O'Reilly in a two-out-of-three falls match. Cole's contract with WWE expired on August 27, making him a free agent. Despite meeting with Vince McMahon, which Cole said was a good meeting, Cole chose to join AEW.
Speaking to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Cole explained how he came to the decision.
“My actual decision was literally only a couple days before [the pay-per-view],” Cole says. “I was awake in bed, it was close to 1 in the morning, and I was imagining being involved in AEW. That thought gave me such an excited feeling. I was so giddy I couldn’t even sleep. I loved the idea of coming to All Elite Wrestling, and that’s when I knew what I needed to do.”
Cole's appearance at the pay-per-view was a surprise and AEW did their best to keep it that way.
“I didn’t even fly into Chicago [the site of All Out], I flew into a different city the day before,” Cole says, noting that he was thrilled to wear his mask to help hide his appearance on the flight. “I didn’t even stay in the same hotel as Bryan [Danielson]. We showed up to the building while the show was going on, and we waited outside in a trailer. The locker room didn’t even know until the absolute last moment. It was the most secretive debut I’ve ever been involved in, and Tony Khan took every measure to make this as big of a surprise as possible.”
Cole is set to make his AEW in-ring debut on Wednesday's Dynamite when he faces Frankie Kazarian.
Fightful will have live coverage of AEW Dynamite beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.