Oh, man. This would’ve been an awful idea.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Cole made a shocking debut at AEW All Out. Exactly two weeks after what proved to be his final WWE match, losing a best 2-out-of-3 falls to former partner Kyle O’Reilly, Cole proved the rumors of his contract expiring last month true. His appearance came after Kenny Omega’s successful AEW World Title defense against Christian Cage, and Cole superkicked Jungle Boy to join The Elite. It made an already strong PPV event one of this year’s most memorable, with the debut of Bryan Danielson immediately after putting it over the top. His appearance officially closed the door on a four-year-run at NXT, which included runs with the NXT Championship, NXT North American Championship, NXT Tag Team Championship, and as a one-time winner of NXT’s Competitor of the Year Award.
All Out had a post-show media scrum where Cole called his decision to leave for AEW “a fairly easy one:”
“When you think about where I was, technically that was my dream since I was nine years old, and then I’d seen everything AEW was doing. I’d been here countless times to support (his girlfriend) Britt (Baker) and to hang out with the crew, and it’s just the best crew. The shows are amazing, the fans are amazing. At the same time I had really built a reputation for myself there as well. But I knew in my heart pretty early on that I wanted to come here.
“And it’s no knock whatsoever on them,” he added, referring to the WWE.
“I had a very excellent four-year experience. But I wanted to come back and work with a crew who I love being around 24/7, a crew that is just as passionate about pro wrestling as I am, and fans that feel the exact same way that we do. So making the decision was a fairly easy one.”
And early today, according to a report from long-time professional wrestling reporter David Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio via Wrestlinginc.com, the newest member of The Elite had another great reason for departing WWE for AEW. The plans to move Cole to the main roster entailed having him as a manager for would-be-heel Keith Lee. Meltzer also indicated that Cole would not only become a managerial figure, but, “it was noted that Cole would probably have been given a different name so that there weren’t two Cole’s with Michael Cole (play-by-play announcer) also being on the main roster,” per the report.
“The idea would be kind of like a Lio Rush / Bobby Lashley thing, where you have this little guy who’s a big talker, and he hides behind this big, massive African American guy type of a thing,” Meltzer said. “So that was kind of the dynamic they were looking for for him, more as a manager than a wrestler.”
Another bad WWE idea, and this one reportedly comes from Vince McMahon or Bruce Pritchard, which is as high as you could go here.
Simply put, who would take his own former NXT Competitor of the Year, the only guy to win the Ring of Honor title three times, arguably the best wrestler in the company since he set foot into NXT, and decide to make him a manager? People who don’t have a clue what’s going on at their own company.
And when people in those positions have no idea what to do with you, it’s an appropriate time to go, especially if it means Cole will be happier amongst his people — his girlfriend and close friends, specifically. And if you saw his reaction to Tyler Breeze getting released on his Twitch (which a fan then played sad music underneath for dramatic effect), you know this is a man who really cares about his people.