by Cole Clore July 16,2018
The only three-time Ring of Honor world champion, former member of the most popular group not affiliated with WWE in the Bullet Club, two 5-star matches awarded to him by the Wrestler Observer Newsletter, first ever NXT North American Champion. What’s left for Adam Cole in NXT?
Born Austin Jenkins in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on July 5th, 1989, Austin made his debut as his stage name Adam Cole on June 21, 2008 for Combat Zone Wrestling.
June 29, 2012 (taped on July 28, 2012), only four years after his professional wrestling debut at the young age 22 years old he defeats future Undisputed Era stablemate Roderick Strong to win the Ring of Honor Television Title. A title for which he held for 246 days defending the championship against the likes of Matt Hardy, Michael Elgin, and former champion Roderick Strong. Then on September 20, 2013 at Death Before Dishonor XI, Adam Cole won a tournament for the vacant Ring of Honor World Championship defeating 9-time tag team ROH tag champion Mark Briscoe, future two time and current ROH World champion Jay Lethal, Tommaso Ciampa, and Michael Elgin in the finals to become the champion. The Ring of Honor at this point had been formerly held by WWE superstars CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (who was under his real name Bryan Danielson), the first ever NXT Champion and future WWE grand slam champion Seth Rollins (who won the title under his moniker Tyler Black), future NXT and the second ever WWE Universal champion Kevin Owens (who won the title under his real name Kevin Steen), and former TNA World Heavyweight champions Samoa Joe and Austin Aries. All men would end up in NXT, then eventually WWE.
In his first reign, Cole held the world title for 275 days and had 13 successful title defenses before losing it to Michael Elgin at Best in the World 2014. The week after, Cole announced that he was undergoing shoulder surgery effectively putting him out of action for the rest of the year and going into 2015.
Fast forward to May 8, 2016, the main event of ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2016, the main event is long time ROH mainstay Colt Cabana vs. the current ROH World Champion Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship. Cabana was inches away from getting Jay Lethal to tap out and win his first ever ROH World Championship, but the lights go out.
They come back on.
The Young Bucks, one of the most popular tag teams in the world and members of the Bullet Club teased earlier in the night there will be a new Bullet Club member. They throw shirts to Cabana and Lethal. But the lights go out again.
They come back on.
This time, in the middle of the ring Adam Cole returns with a Bullet Club shirt, next is one of Ring of Honor’s most infamous as Cole, The Young Bucks, and other Bullet Club members attack Cabana, Lethal, all of the ringside crew, all of the security guards, which ROH now refers as the “Longest Superkick Party ever” the beat-down lasted 8 minutes and had a total of 51 super-kicks. Cole would later beat Lethal to win the ROH World Title for a second time and then lose it to former tag team partner and future Undisputed Era stablemate Kyle O’Reilly in December of that year. Then at that point in his career, the largest crowd in his nine year he defeated O’Reilly at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 to regain the ROH World Championship, making him the first and only three time ROH World Champion.
Cole had accomplished everything he wanted to do on the independent scene, so when his contract expired in May of 2017, he knew where he wanted to go.
August 19 2017, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III, the main event saw Drew McIntyre defeat Bobby Roode to win his first NXT Championship. Earlier in the night we saw Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly attack The Authors of Pain and SAnity after the NXT Tag Team Championship match, now with Fish and O’Reilly on the apron. Out came from the crowd. Adam Cole, citing a huge reaction from the crowd, Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly beat McIntyre with Cole putting him down with a super-kick. They have arrived. Given the name of “The Undisputed Era” they caused havoc on the NXT roster for their first few months.
Then, in November of 2017 NXT General Manager William Regal put The Undisputed Era in the first ever War Games match under the WWE banner and the first one in 20 years, it saw Cole, Fish, and O’Reilly, take on The Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong, and SAnity (who consisted of Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain), The Undisputed Era won which saw Cole pick up the winning pinfall. After losing to Aleister Black in an extreme rules match at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia, the next night, Adam Cole made his main roster debut in the Royal Rumble where he would get eliminated by the returning Rey Mysterio. He would soon have the biggest match of his career.
April 7, 2018, NXT Takeover: New Orleans. The first match of the match saw Adam Cole take on the debuting Ricochet, EC3, Killian Dain, The Velveteen Dream, and Lars Sullivan in a six-man ladder match to crown the first ever NXT North American Champion, and after 31:24 of violence Adam Cole climbed the ladder to become the first ever NXT North American Champion.
Now in July of 2018, Cole is still the NXT North American Champion and with The Undisputed Era in possession of the NXT Tag Team titles, all Cole needs to do is win the NXT Championship to become the first ever NXT Triple Crown winner and assuming he gets it done by July this time next year, he will have accomplished all of this before the age of 30.
For some people the sky is the limit but so far for Adam Cole the sky has seemed as the ground floor.