Both men are former NXT Champions, two of the greatest that the promotion has ever seen. Cole held the title for 403 days, and remains the longest reigning holder in history.
Meanwhile, Keith Lee held both the North American and NXT Championship at the same time, doing so when he beat Cole for the title.
When their time in developmental had ended, Vince McMahon had big plans for Adam Cole and Keith Lee. In fact, he wanted them to be paired together, although in a much worse way than you could imagine.
Keith Lee and Adam Cole
Keith Lee was already called up to the main roster, when the idea about Adam Cole being brought up was though up.
He had been repackaged as “Bearcat” Keith Lee, something which was never explained and made little sense to the fans.
Meanwhile, Vince McMahon wanted one of the best wrestlers in NXT history to come up to Raw and Smackdown… but didn’t want him to wrestle.
No, instead they wanted to call up Adam Cole as the manager to Keith Lee, similar to Lio Rush’s demotion to being Bobby Lashley’s hypeman.
According to Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer Radio, Adam Cole was to be Keith Lee’s manager, after he turned heel on the WWE main roster.
The idea was to turn Keith Lee heel and have Adam Cole be his manager, probably with a new name (So you don’t have 2 Coles). Described as a Lio Rush/Lashley dynamic where Cole is the little guy hiding behind the big guy.
While he is very good on the microphone (although not as good as Sting, shown on Dynamite), he would be completely wasted by taking him out of the ring.
Adam Cole is one of the best workers in the world, and has put on some of the best matches ever seen in the WWE (his bouts with Johnny Gargano in particular).
Not only that, they wanted to take away his identity. Thinking that people would confuse Adam Cole with WWE commentator Michael Cole, Vince McMahon wanted to change his name.
Knowing WWE, they’d have stuck him with some god awful name like FapSack or Tiny Adam. Shortened later on to just Tiny. Or Fap.
Would Adam Cole have been a fantastic manager for Keith Lee? Of course he would.
He’s one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, and Keith Lee is a supreme talent that would be made even better with his assistance.
But neither men needed each other. Keith Lee is good on the mic, and Adam Cole is great in the ring. The partnership would hamper them both, and not hinder them.
As a tag team, Keith Lee and Adam Cole would be one of the best, but that is not what WWE wanted.
Thankfully, they both left to join the AEW. Adam Cole even helped Keith Lee at the end of Dynamite, and look to be aligned against a common enemy.
Finally, Bearcat and FapSack are back together again.
What do you think about Keith Lee and Adam Cole in AEW? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.