When Adam Cole left the WWE and signed for AEW, fans were ecstatic. He was arguably the greatest NXT Champion of all time and was the leader of the legendary Undisputed Era faction. He won every title on the brand and became a top wrestler in WWE.
With rumours he was set to be called up to the main roster and side-lined to be Keith Lee‘s manager, which a gimmick and name change to boot, the writing was on the wall for Adam Cole. He finished up in NXT and Adam Cole joined AEW not long after.
His debut at All Out 2021 came as a huge shock and once it was followed by Bryan Danielson‘s maiden appearance, it was all fans across the wrestling world could talk about. Along with CM Punk, AEW had landed three huge stars to make their debut weeks apart.
Everything seemed perfect. Yet fans have gravitated hugely towards Danielson and Punk while Adam Cole, while garnering huge pops with his signature catchphrase (Baybay), has failed to connect with the fans in the same way.
Fans online have bemoaned how featured Cole has been on AEW TV since his debut and have tired of seeing him and his Undisputed Era teammates in AEW. But why is Adam Cole in AEW just not working out for the fans so far?
Adam Cole in AEW
Nobody can argue that in AEW Adam Cole has not been booked well. Far from it, in fact. I don’t know what I’d do better with Adam Cole in AEW.
He had a long undefeated streak with unofficially ended months after his debut in a “lights out” match with Orange Cassidy, and his first official loss came at the hand of the AEW Champion Adam Page.
Since then he has teamed with his partner Britt Baker, recruited reDRagon again as his cronies and won the Owen Hart Tournament.
He is constantly featured as a top star, is heavily involved with the AEW opening credits and is often touted as one of the biggest stars in the company.
But the fans don’t see it that way. Many criticism have been levied toward the former NXT Champion. He has been called small, he has been accused of not looking “like a wrestler” and his offence has been noted as weak, predictable and simply not exciting enough.
All valid criticisms but not the only reasons why fans would not like Adam Cole.
Everyone knows the character of Adam Cole. Cocky, arrogant, wants to win by any means necessary. Says BayBay alot of tries to weasel his way out of matches by having his friends interfere.
You’ll know this by watching the last 5 years of NXT, and nothing has changed since Adam Cole moved to AEW. His character has yet to evolve and show a more three dimensional side. A face turn in the future could do him wonders, or even just a split from the Elite and reDRagon.
A bit of a refresh could do him good and give him the chance to show the fans just what he can do by sinking his teeth into a new evolution of the Adam Cole persona.
Adam Cole has been one of the most overexposed wrestlers since his debut. Since his debut match against Frankie Kazarian in September 2021, Adam Cole has wrestled no less than 33 times for AEW.
It seems like every week Adam Cole has a singles match on AEW Dynamite. Even if it isn’t quite that much, it feels like it is, and the amount of matches he has all just blur together into one meaningless, tangled mess.
Looking at stars like Bryan Danielson and CM Punk, Adam Cole could be used a lot less to a lot greater effect. If he wrestled half as much as he did, it would make every match more special and keep fans excited to see him wrestle and not thinking “again already?”.
Speaking of fans seeing Adam Cole too much, it doesn’t help that all of his matches seem very similar. He hits his same usual spots every match, the same choreographed reversals and the same pre-planned and coincidentally placed “Adam Cole Baybay”s to pop the crowd.
So far in AEW Adam Cole has been incredibly repetitive. Every match blurs into large blob of reDragon or the Young Bucks interfering before he hits a weak looking shining wizard that wouldn’t knock a Jenga tower over before pinning his opponent and, you guessed it, more Baybays.
His matches are predictable. I cannot name one Adam Cole match where I was surprised at what I was seeing and to be honest, I haven’t enjoyed his matches for a while.
I grew tired of his “finisher spam” matches in NXT and, whilst he hasn’t carried them over completely to AEW, he does keep a variety of near falls in his arsenal, although his offence never looks like it will get the win so they never seen believable.
His finish looks so weak that commentary at Double or Nothing 2022 was confused when he pinned Samoa Joe. He needs a new finisher, although that will not fix his biggest issues in AEW.
Adam Cole is a top wrestler. He just isn’t showing it in AEW. He wrestles the same match every week against a variety of opponents, with the same tired interference and weak looking offence that makes nobody believe he can win, yet everybody already knows he will.
There’s a lot he needs to do before he can be considered at the top end of AEW stars. In AEW at the moment Adam Cole stands just below the likes of Adam Page, MJF and Jon Moxley in the list of main eventers. He is more on the level of an Orange Cassidy at the moment, who also suffered from the folly of overexposure and repetitiveness in recent months.
An injury has given time for the fans to miss Cassidy. Hopefully Adam Cole stays healthy throughout his AEW run, but a change in character and some time away from the fans could do him a whole lot of good.
What do you think about Adam Cole in AEW? Let us know in the comments or click below to read more
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.