Oxford Dictionary of English defines “potential” as having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future, define it with the image of a man, and that man may just be Adam Cole.
Since debuting in the summer of 2008, the young man who hails from Panama City, Florida has truly gone from strength-to-strength on the independent wrestling scene, defeating notable names on the circuit, capturing several titles, and currently reigning as ROH World TV Champion.
Adam obtains potential in abundance and many see him as a future big time player, but for now he can be seen honing his craft with Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Combat Zone Wrestling, preparing for some big upcoming bouts which are sure to put this young man to the test.
As ROH World TV Champion, Cole will defend against another very promising young talent, “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin, leading into “Death Before Dishonor X” on September 15th where he will again defend his newly won title, which he can be seen winning on the June 29th edition of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV.
Not for nothing, Cole will also have a difficult task when he heads to the sunny horizons of California, as he steps into the 2012 Battle of Los Angeles tournament, meeting last years winner El Generico in the first round, a tournament which has seen names such as Davey Richards, Joey Ryan and Low Ki come out on top.
Former CZW World Junior Heavyweight Champion, CZW Best of the Best X, 2012 Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup, Wrestling Observer Newsletter 2010 Rookie of the Year, current ROH World TV Champion, now Adam can add an interview with Wrestle Enigma to his impressive list of accolades – someone add that to his Wikipedia, stat.
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1) What are your earliest memories of professional wrestling?
Adam Cole: I took Karate lessons when I was about 9 years old, and really looked up to my instructor. Almost as a father figure type deal. I got there early one day, and he was watching a taped RAW from the night before, where Kane and Stone Cold Steve Austin were putting Paul Bearer in a sewer.
He had asked me if I watched wrestling, and I lied and said all the time, because I wanted to fit in with him so bad. He let me borrow WrestleMania 15 from that year, and I was hooked. Seeing Stone Cole Steve Austin and The Rock do battle made me an instant fan for life.
2) Are there any wrestlers in-particular that stood out or inspired you to venture into the profession of a pro-wrestler?
Adam Cole: Stone Cold Steve Austin had a big influence on me. I was so captivated by his entrance alone. Then other guys like Kurt Angle, Shawn Micheals, and CM Punk when he was starting in Ring of Honor were some of my favorites and definite inspirations for me to pursue this career.
3) You began your training at Combat Zone Wrestling’s Wrestling Academy, do you remember your first few days of training? Any memories that stick out?
Adam Cole: I remember being scared to death! My main trainers were DJ Hyde and Jon Dahmer, and DJ specifically was very intimidating. He’s a really big guy, and he really beat the crap out of us haha. It was good though because he instituted the toughness right off the bat, which is so so important in this job.
4) When people read or hear the name Combat Zone Wrestling they immediately think excessively, violent wrestling, do you think that is a fair comparison considering so many great in-ring performers have competed for CZW? Just to name a few, CM Punk, Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson and Austin Aries.
Adam Cole: A lot of people do make that stereotype, and I totally understand why. The company is known for it’s violence, because they do it so well. But at CZW like you mentioned, there are also great wrestlers and great wrestling there.
The company is much more than blood and guts for those who have gave it a chance, and it only continues to improve and become a more well rounded product. I love CZW, and the locker room is filled with some of the most talented guys in independent wrestling.
5) You originally began making a name for yourself as a tag team wrestler, teaming with Tyler Veritas, before then embarking on a singles run in CZW which featured some highly praised matches with Sabian. At that time what were your feelings at transitioning from a tag team performer to just simply Adam Cole on his own?
Adam Cole: At that point in time I always knew that I wanted to be a singles wrestler, and teaming with Tyler was so effortless because we had been best friends since the 3rd grade, and also trained together at CZW.
I loved teaming with Tyler and will still look back and say that was a dream come true for two Elementary School friends who said one day they would be wrestlers.
Transitioning to a singles wrestler was definitely a great learning experience, and getting to do a program with Sabian who I hold as one of the best juniors in the world, was very big for me. Sabian taught me a lot at that time, and I’m definitely proud of the matches we had together in South Philadelphia.
6) Your first notable title victory was the CZW World Junior Heavyweight Championship. What do you remember of the night you finally managed to win the title?
Adam Cole: Well that was the first major championship of any kind that I had one, and considering I had started training there as well, it really meant everything to me. I had been a fan of CZW for so long, and that title has been around a long time and all over the world in the process.
So I took the title win very seriously, and definitely used it as extra motivation to push myself even more and get better. I knew this was going to be an opportunity for me to travel overseas and have some big matches because I held that title, so it was awesome knowing that those invaluable learning experiences were coming my way.
7) You still perform for Combat Zone Wrestling, but thus far as a performer, what has been your favorite moment?
Adam Cole: I’d say in CZW, it was winning the Best of the Best X Tournament. That tournament is still one of the most prestigious tournaments in all of wrestling, and the tournament was stacked that year. Even though I had been champion for awhile at that point, I really looked at BOTB as a time to prove my worth. I fought long and hard that night, and it certainly was a giant test for me.
8) Back in early 2010 you performed for Gabe Sapolsky‘s EVOLVE promotion, we’ve previously interviewed Gabe on the site, as a booker and promoter how highly do you rate Gabe?
Adam Cole: Gabe is unbelievable. My time with him was nothing but positive. He was one of the first guys who really instituted confidence in me, because he has such a way of motivating the talent. He had such a vision, and still does, and for the short time I was with him it was an honor to be part of that vision.
9) From its inception, EVOLVE demonstrated a unique concept, focusing more on wins/losses than your average wrestling promotion, what do you make of the idea? From a wrestlers standpoint do you think it is good or bad?
Adam Cole: I think it’s different, and when you have a guy like Gabe behind it, different is good. Wrestling is always looking for something fresh, and EVOLVE did what it could to capture that. Especially with the heightened interest in MMA, I totally saw the vision, and a lot of the guys did too. I absolutely think that if done consistently, and with the right group of guys, the EVOLVE concept could be a huge success.
10) In early 2009 you began appearing for Ring of Honor, the promotion which has probably gained you the most exposure. Were you excited about getting the call to wrestle for such a highly respected promotion? You’d been competing less than a year when you had your first ROH match.
Adam Cole: For sure. Ring of Honor is the company I always wanted to be a part of, so to get that shot so early on was huge for me.
Ring of Honor was going through a lot of transitions at that time too, so it was interesting to see the company grow and become what it has. But I was certainly honored (no pun intended haha) to get to wrestle for the company at that time.
11) You formed a team with Kyle O’Reilly, picking up wins over the likes of The Bravado Brothers, but your first big night as a team was probably opening “Final Battle 2010,” a huge pay-per-view in Ring of Honor’s history featuring Richards versus Edwards for the ROH World Championship plus the culmination of Kevin Steen versus El Generico. What did you make of “Final Battle 2010″ as a whole?
Adam Cole: Final Battle was pretty much make or break for me and Kyle, or at least that was how we looked at it. The match wasn’t built up or anything, but we knew opening the biggest PPV of the year for ROH was a big deal. Both me and Kyle, and ANX, looked at this match the same way, and that was giant opportunity.
Fortunately for us, NYC really enjoyed it, and we in turn gained a lot of attention from that match. I certainly think that was the start of something special for me and Kyle in Ring of Honor, and we showed that we were there to stay that night.
12) One of Ring of Honor’s strongest points is their highly competitive tag team division, basically ROH does tag team wrestling right. As a former competitor of the division, how tough is it being surrounded by so many unique and gifted teams, such as The Briscoe Brothers and The World’s Greatest Tag Team?
Adam Cole: You learn really really quick, or get eaten alive. Being in, like you said, the most competitive and best tag team division in wrestling, you had to step your game up every single night.
That in part was why I think me and Kyle developed so quickly into the tag team that we became, because we were battling it out every weekend with teams like the Kings of Wrestling, the Bricoes, WGTT, etc. We learned real fast that if we want to survive in the division we need to bring our best, because they brought it every time.
13) At the 10th Anniversary Show you managed to pin the then ROH World Champion Davey Richards in a tag team match that featured you teaming with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards, as performers how highly do you rate both men? What’s it like competing with and against them?
Adam Cole: Both of them have every right to call themselves one of the best wrestlers in the world. Getting in the ring with Davey and Eddie again really elevated my game, because of how good they are. And then doing it at a stage like the 10 Year Anniversary event was that much sweeter.
14) Recently some would say its been a case of, “If you haven’t heard the name Adam Cole, now you have,” with your show stealing performance from “Best In The World 2012″ late last month, first of all, whose idea was the hybrid fighting rules match? Did it come off as well as you hoped, or better?
Adam Cole: That was a concept that Ring of Honor had come up with, for me and Kyle to get in there in New York with an interesting stipulation. I know certainly there were some people who weren’t too high on the idea of the match, but fortunately I think everyone seemed to enjoy it.
It certainly was the toughest match of my career, with those who have seen the match or the pictures know what my face went through. But in turn it brought out a different side in Adam Cole, and NYC really took to that. At this moment it’s got to be the proudest moment of my wrestling career (even with the busted face haha).
15) At “Best In The World,” your mouth basically became Niagra Falls but instead of water pouring from a cliff it was blood pouring from your mouth. What was running through your mind?
Adam Cole: I didn’t really know how bad the cut was, or how much blood I was losing, until I collapsed on the mat after me and Kyle had exchanged, and I immediately began choking on my own blood.
It felt very warm, and I then began to notice the puddle of blood that was forming on the mat. It was certainly a scary situation, but there was never a point where I wanted to quit or stop. When that doctor came out to check on me, and I told him he’s not getting anywhere near me, that was as real as it gets.
16) You won your first Ring of Honor title by defeating Roderick Strong for the ROH World Television Championship, which featured this past weekend on Ring of Honor Wrestling. How highly would you rate the moment? A lot of fans truly believe there is nothing but upward for Adam Cole.
Adam Cole: That means a lot when fans say that, because knowing that there with me during this ride is very encouraging. It’s one of my proudest moments for sure.
To hold a championship in Ring of Honor is many wrestler’s dreams, so to get to be on the short list of guys who have gotten to do that is huge for me. I take the title win very seriously, and will certainly do all I can to have the most monumental and unforgettable reign I can.
17) You defend the ROH World Television Championship against “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin in an upcoming match. This is a meeting between the two brightest stars Ring of Honor has to offer. How you feeling going into your first title defense?
Adam Cole: Wrestling a guy like Elgin is always a challenge. Myself and Elgin have been labeled by Ring of Honor as it’s “Breakout Stars”, so anytime you get a match with the two of us we always leave it all in the ring, mainly to prove who’s better. I certainly feel confident going in, but I’m sure he does too. Not to sound cliche, but it’s certainly a case of may the best man win.
18) If you make it past Michael Elgin, you are signed to appear on the August 11th “Boiling Point” iPPV, from Providence, Rhode Island. Anybody in-particular you’d like to face at Boiling Point? Brutal Bob Evans challenged you to a “Proving Ground” match live on pay-per-view, you got an answer for Brutal Bob?
Adam Cole: Well the match is now set in stone! So at Boiling Point, it’s me and Brutal Bob in a Proving Ground match. A lot of people underestimate Brutal Bob, and I think that’s why he’s so dangerous. I certainly don’t. I know what to expect coming into Providence, as I’m sure he’s going to bring his very best. I will as well, and this match will certainly be a fight.
19) Looking away from Ring of Honor for a moment, another big upcoming match for you, will be against El Generico in the first round of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s Battle of Los Angeles 2012, how you feeling going into the first round?
Adam Cole: Well first of all I love wrestling for PWG, and getting the chance to be in Battle Of Los Angeles is huge for me. It’s one of the only big tournaments I haven’t been a part of yet, so I’m certainly looking to make a great impression. El Generico is one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever been in the ring with, so I’m excited to go toe to toe with him on such a big stage like BOLA.
20) As with every promising performer, especially ones that compete on the independent wrestling circuit, there are always rumors of “the big two” breathing down certain peoples necks. You were the eye of a rumor earlier in the year, which stated that WWE attempted to sign you but Ring of Honor blocked it. This was followed with a hilarious image of yourself and The Briscoes attempting to break out a backdoor, with Jim Cornette “blocking” you. Any actual truth to the rumor or was it just non existent buzz?
Adam Cole: I was very flattered by the Internet rumor, but that’s all it was, a rumor. No WWE contract was offered to me, and ROH certainly didn’t block me from signing with them. I certainly don’t fault anyone who made the report, because I’m sure the source that they had was very convincing. However, like I stated WWE never offered me any kind of deal.
21) Do you watch WWE or TNA’s product? Any thoughts on the recent RAW 1,000th if you got a chance to see it? Or Austin Aries capturing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship?
Adam Cole: Yup I watch both WWE and TNA, and pretty much any wrestling I can get my hands on. I think it’s so important to stay up to date with the current main stream product, to see whats working and not working.
I loved RAW 1000, and thought it was a great show. And Austin Aries winning the TNA World Title was such a great moment, for wrestlers and fans alike. Very happy for him, and I know he’ll do incredible.
22) If you could go one-on-one with anybody from either companies roster, who’d interest you?
Adam Cole: Probably CM Punk, because he was the guy who got me into independent wrestling with his run in Ring of Honor. I’m such a fan of everything he does, so I’d love the chance to get in there with him. And he’s WWE Champion to boot haha
23) Right, lets wrap this up with some name association. I say a name, you respond however you please. Current ROH World Champion, Kevin Steen?
Adam Cole: Evil man!
24) Dragon Gate USA’s, Johnny Gargano?
Adam Cole: Awesome, would love to wrestle him again!
25) “Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey?
Adam Cole: Best women’s wrestler in the world, bar none.
26) Leader of the 87%ers, “Hollywood’s Own” Joey Ryan?
Adam Cole: Tremendous talent, and deserves to make a ton of money in wrestling.
27) “American Wolf” Davey Richards?
Adam Cole: One of the best in the world, dedicated to his craft.
28) “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels?
Adam Cole: My inspiration.
29) “The Louisville Slugger” Jim Cornette?
Adam Cole: INCREDIBLE mind, thankful to learn from him.
30) And finally, current ROH World Television Champion, Adam Cole?
Adam Cole: Doing what he can to become the best he can. Loving the journey!
Adam, its been awesome talking to you, best of luck with the ROH World TV Championship and the BOLA tournament, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Adam Cole: Thank you!
Adam Cole is scheduled to face Brutal Bob Evans next Saturday for Ring of Honor LIVE on iPPV at “Boiling Point,” to order the event click here.
Stay up to date with Pro Wrestling Guerilla at www.prowrestlingguerrilla.com, follow Adam Cole on Twitter @AdamColePro and myself for all the latest from Wrestle Enigma and WrestlingInc.com @DragonSagaWE
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