SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Welcome once again to the NXT TRACKER, where I pick an NXT talent, assess their progression to this point and make bold, sure-to-look-hilarious-in-retrospect predictions about their future. For the five of you who aren’t sick of Adam Cole debates on our podcast PWT Talks NXT, here you go.
Though his age of 28 makes him considerably younger than many of NXT’s recent anchors, Cole has wrestled in a myriad of promotions all over the world. Best known are his lengthy stay in ROH where he was the first and thus far only three-time world champion, and New Japan, where his time in the Bullet Club gave him a cool factor in the eyes of many. Not surprising given his look, Cole has worked primarily as a heel.
Signature Wins in NXT
Until recently, Cole’s entry here would have had to be a “signature losses” entry, as he ate a lot of pins early in NXT, prompting us on the podcast to wonder why a tag team that constantly wins would link itself with a leader that didn’t. Cole did stand tall in three-way, nine-man WarGames Match at TakeOver last year; though he wasn’t the star as far as the work was concerned, he was given a lot of face time leading up to his cocky grin upon victory. At TakeOver New Orleans, he won a ladder match for the new secondary men’s title in NXT, which is something our podcast suggested was needed – specifically for a character like Cole – for some time.
Cole entered NXT with a ton of equity from the type of hardcore fan that watches the show. Working in ROH, NJPW and PWG helped, and not long to his arrival, he had found massive success with the ultra-simple “Adam Cole Baybay” taunt, which surprised even Cole himself, according to interviews. Cole has finally of late been able to work some matches that warrant his hot reactions, like the ladder match and his street fight with Aleister Black.
Cole’s booking was somewhat unfriendly for a while, simply because a character like Cole can lose a lot and be okay, so long as he’s still running away with moral victories in his own eyes. The North American title solves basically Cole’s entire problem, as it was tough before to imagine why Cole was always smirking and what he had to be cocky about. I would welcome a long reign with this title, followed by a quick run up to the main roster, as there won’t be anything to hold Cole back at that point other than the usual rematch.
The Future and Predictions
If Cole should worry about anything, it’s Vince McMahon hearing the “baybay” spot from fans and errantly thinking he should be booked like a face. Bobby Roode continues to suffer for this, and the WWE isn’t exactly famous for learning from past mistakes. If Cole is given the spot that comes naturally to him – being The Miz on whichever show doesn’t actually feature The Miz – he can have a long career in the upper midcard with occasional visits to the main event.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: NXT TRACKER – Assessing the upside on the main roster of the latest NXT call-ups – AOP, No Way Jose, The Iconics, Ember Moon