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Adam Cole says NXT was cool prior to AEW + Cole on his meeting with Vince McMahon, WWE’s plans to change his name and look

Adam Cole was on Chris Jericho’s “Talk Is Jericho” podcast this week to talk about his debut at AEW All Out, how it came together just days before the show, his near-diaster on the day of the show, why he picked AEW over WWE, what Triple H and Vince McMahon said to him, his 4-year run in NXT, his friendship with Shawn Michaels and more.

Here are some highlights:

Cole talked about his discussion with Vince McMahon about being brought up to the main roster:

“I did have a meeting with Vince that went really well.  It was like a 30 minute conversation which was cool.  I’ve only talked to him for maybe like 2 or 3 minutes prior to that.  I got to work the Survivor Series event, and he wanted to talk to us afterwards.  He was really happy with the match, but no real conversation with him before, so that was the first time.  He was very complimentary and very nice.  The idea was for me to go to RAW or SmackDown and not stay in NXT, just because I had been there for so long, and I think they knew, as much as I do love NXT, if I stayed in WWE, to take that step.  That was the gist of the conversation.  It was definitely to move me up to RAW or SmackDown.”

Was there any plans discussed about what you would do on RAW or SmackDown?:

“Apparently, there were a lot of ideas, but they were very vague about exactly what they wanted to do.  I remember when I first had the conversation, they mentioned something about, ‘Maybe we’ll do a name change, or maybe we’ll change your look a little bit’, so that scared me a little bit.  I just spent nearly 14 years as Adam Cole.  In our latest conversation, they were definitely more open to me being me and being myself.  They could tell I was not too thrilled about the idea.”

Did you see that as a red flag?

‘Yea, it was definitely something that made me a little bit more timid pulling the trigger on that one.  Of course, they could not have been nicer, but when I think about me and my career, and what is best for me, the idea of that being an option did scare me a little bit.  What if I do go, and then something happens anyway?  At that point, I can’t really say or do anything.  Red flag is a perfect way to put it.”

Jericho gave his opinion on why NXT changed to NXT 2.0:

“NXT was put on Wednesday nights obviously to combat AEW, and we’ll wipe out, what were the words, ‘this piss ant company’ right away.  The problem is, they had no idea what they were dealing with.  It really backfired on them.  NXT was so cool.  You guys would go do your weekend PPV shows and get three times the reaction in a sold out arena than the PPV would get.  When they put NXT up against AEW, it really hurt the brand to where you lost the cool factor.  AEW was the cool one, and NXT got steamrolled on that.  I think as a result, Vince holds a grudge against NXT.  They had the chance to beat AEW and they didn’t, now I’m going to take over and I’m going to do it my way.  Do you agree?”

Cole responded:

“I think that’s definitely a possibility.  At one phase prior to AEW, NXT really did feel cool.  We would do a TakeOver, and it would be sold out, 14,000 people with the crowd rocking all night.  It reminds me a lot of how AEW is.  They’re there for every single match and every single false finish.  Stuff changed obviously when AEW arrived, and AEW became the true alternative and things like that.  Without question, the changes within NXT, or the changes in general within WWE, AEW has to play a factor to some extent.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to for the transcription

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