Adam Cole comments on WWE departure, wrestling with no fans, NXT vs. AEW, and more

Adam Cole did an interview with Chris Van Vliet and here are the highlights that were passed along…

The origin of his “Bay Bay” catchphrase: “So I have been doing “Adam Cole Bay Bay” since 2009, but it didn’t catch on until about 2014. It kind of started early on in my wrestling career and had done a Maryland Championship Wrestling show. Joey Matthews [Joey Mercury in WWE] was on the show, and he was in the finals of the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup. He was the heel, and he was just walking around going “Joey Matthews!” and putting his fists up in the air, and he said it so many times. I remember sitting there and thinking that is so smart. If you are not really a hardcore wrestling fan, if you remember one name from that show, it’s going to be Joey Matthews. So I thought how can I incorporate that into my own thing? I’m a huge Chris Jericho fan, and when he would stand on top of someone, flex and go “come on baby!” I was like oh, I will do “Adam Cole Bay Bay.”

On having a Twitch stream while employed by WWE: “It was really important to me. I know that I have made it pretty apparent, even while I was still there, about how Twitch stream is something that I am really passionate about, it’s never going to go away and things like that. Twitch became a vital part of not just something that I did, but a part of who I am. I can’t imagine not being able to go on there and talk to the community or play games with buddies of mine. There’s so many things about Twitch that have become so important to me. And I really want to keep growing, I want to see where it goes and see how far I can take it. So yeah, keeping Twitch was very important to me.”

On his decision to leave NXT for AEW: “It kind of all happened so fast, because again, when the discovery of my deal coming up very soon, that was when all these thoughts and ideas starting entering my head. I want to make this very clear, and I know that everyone knows this, I had a wonderful 4 years at WWE. Specifically down in NXT with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, 2 guys that I respect the hell out of and have been nothing but so kind and so generous to me, and so helpful. I feel like I became such a better performer because of little things they have said and working alongside them. So the decision actually was difficult in a lot of ways. With 9-year-old me, my goal was to wrestle for WWE. Now I had this other opportunity, where I see this company like AEW, which has just grown massively over these past 2 years. I see a guy like Tony Khan, who is one of the nicest and most passionate about pro-wrestling that I have ever met. The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and Britt all being there, that was nice. There was a phase where I was seeing Britt for half a day once a week. Now I can see her a lot more, which is great. I didn’t make my decision to come to AEW officially until like a few days before All Out. I remember lying in bed and weighing out the pros and cons and trying to decide what I wanted to do. It was 1am, Britt was asleep, and I was thinking about showing up at AEW, and I got butterflies in my stomach, I felt like a 9-year-old kid. I have always followed my gut, and have always followed what my heart wanted me to do. There were so many pros to going to AEW. When you say you can tell that I am having the time of my life, it’s because I am, I am having a freaking blast.”

On telling NXT he was leaving: “Yes. So I did make it very clear to them that I wanted to weigh my options, and I wanted to think about what I wanted to do. They could not have been more professional. They could not have been cooler about it and they never pressured me, they were awesome the whole way through. I think what helped, and this is public knowledge at this point, with everything going on, there was a short extension that I ended up signing. To me, it was such a no-brainer. They didn’t have to convince me and they didn’t have to talk me into it. I was in the middle of a program with one of my best friends, Kyle O’Reilly. It was really important to me that I got to finish that. And not just that, but just because how good to me they were that entire time. I think that was really helpful in terms of the respect on both sides, because hypothetically, I could have ended up walking out and debuting on Dynamite a few days later. But there was no chance that I would have ever done that.”

On wrestling with no fans: “That whole situation was so strange, especially now we are performing again in front of crowds. It is so insane how literally vital they are to what we do, so it changed a lot of it. First of all, the bumps hurt a lot more without a crowd and without that adrenaline. But of course I cared so much, because in my mind, I’m having this match and I’m thinking everyone is watching at home. Also, Triple H and Shawn Michaels are back there watching as well, I want to make sure I am doing good for them and for the people watching at home. But it just changed so much on how we approached matches and the way that we wanted to do things. It became more of a television show, because so much of it was to the camera, and so much of it was hoping that the people were feeling what we were trying to portray. When you have an audience it’s so much easier, because you get this instant gratification. It either worked or it didn’t work. During the pandemic, it was a total shot in the dark and it was a guess. It was definitely strange, and I am so happy that fans are back.”

On being a part of the “Wednesday Night Ratings War”: “So for me personally, and this is always how I have been, being in NXT and being in AEW, I’ve never been someone who is super focused on the ratings war. I was always so focused on, if I was wrestling, I want to have the best match possible, if I’m cutting a promo I want to have the best promo possible… Of course it’s really exciting to hear ‘Hey! 1.3 million, that’s awesome!’ or that I was in the highest rated segment on the show, that’s great. But if my match isn’t good, or my promo isn’t good, I don’t care how many people have watched it, I’m going to be upset. But it was a really exciting time, really cool, especially in the beginning. It was NXT’s first time on TV, which was really awesome. Now I am on the other side in AEW and seeing the momentum continuing to grow, it’s cool. I think across the board it’s good for wrestling. I think it’s cool that people can watch both shows and stuff like that. Sometimes I do think that the fans are a little bit too hard on either side. I was on the WWE side, but I still loved WCW. But I’ve always been someone who is like, man there are a lot of people getting a lot of TV time, or not been on TV before and getting the chance to showcase themselves. I just think it has been great across the board for the industry of pro-wrestling.”

Is he interested in doing a storyline in AEW with Britt Baker? “I do love the idea of eventually doing something on-screen with Britt. I know I have been asked that before, and I know some people are like ‘Oh maybe you want to keep it separate’ or ‘Maybe you want to work together.’ I love the idea of that. There was a small phase when I was done with Ring of Honor, where for like 3 months I was doing independent shows. I remember doing shows that she was also booked on, and in a couple of those matches we got to do some mixed tags, or she had run in or I had run in, it was really fun to work with her. Eventually, doing something like that on the big stage that is AEW, I’m all for it.”

You can check out the full interview below…