With AEW seemingly gaining momentum as a credible weekly wrestling alternative every week, it seems clear that rumours of out of contract stars making the jump there from WWE will become more and more commonplace.
Some of these rumours will of course be just that. Baseless speculation invented to fire fans’ imaginations with the thought of long wished dream matches.
Some of these stories, however, will have a little bit more meat on the bone.
Case in point, this recent report by Forbes that suggests none other than Adam Cole* has a contract that is due to expire over the summer. Could he be primed to make the jump?
Whilst we haven’t heard a thing from Cole, there are a lot of threads that make this rumour at least worth entertaining.
Most of those threads are personal in nature. The most personal of course is that his long term partner, Britt Baker is signed to AEW and seems to be set for a strong future with the company. The appeal of working for the same company could be a pull for Cole to leave behind the Undisputed Era.
Another strong tie is with a number of the founders of AEW. The longest reigning NXT Champion in history has a strong previous relationship with Matt & Nick Jackson as well as Kenny Omega, forges during their time in Bullet Club before he joined WWE. Whilst friendship obviously isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the primary factor in making key career decisions, it certainly would help keep things smooth around the negotiating table.
Also let’s not forget a less personal factor: money.
Whilst the details of Cole’s WWE contract are obviously not public knowledge, it is well known that contracts for NXT talent are traditionally not as lucrative as those for main roster performers. That may well have changed in the ‘NXT on USA Network’ era but it is reported to be the case back when Cole signed his contract in 2017.
Obviously Cole is in the midst of by far the biggest push of his WWE career. He is approaching a year as champion and his Undisputed Era faction is the clear centrepiece of the heel side of the brand.
Fans are seemingly split on whether they want the gang to jump up to the main roster or stay in the safe booking space of NXT and continue to run roughshod over it.
It’s probably fair to say, however, that a large chunk of those plans would be salivating over the possibilities for Cole in AEW. It would be an arena in which he would surely thrive.
As always with these stories, time will tell on whether there is any fire with the smoke. But this is one story that is worth keeping a close eye on over the next few months.