Feuding with Chris Jericho could make Adam Cole AEW’s top babyface

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09: Adam Cole appears onstage during the All Elite Wrestling Invades New York Comic Con panel during Day 3 of New York Comic Con 2021 at Jacob Javits Center on October 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09: Adam Cole appears onstage during the All Elite Wrestling Invades New York Comic Con panel during Day 3 of New York Comic Con 2021 at Jacob Javits Center on October 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop) /

As the feud between the legendary Chris Jericho and the returning Adam Cole heats up, we’re left to wonder what’s in store for Cole should this feud be handled just right.

Adam Cole is the type of AEW star that at the moment needs no introduction. His pops are huge and fan interest is at an all-time high. Of course, he has just recently made his return after quite a few months away due to severe concussions that he suffered, but a successful return he has definitely made and it seems as though he is to soon go face-to-face with none other than Chris Jericho.

The feud that had been alluded to weeks heated up just this past Wednesday night on Dynamite when the two finally met face-to-face in the ring. They finally had what Stone Cold Steve Austin would call a  “Come to Jesus Meeting,” and fireworks flew skyward and in an explosive, bright, and colorful way.

The seemingly-at-first calm conversation turned ugly rather quickly after a few moments of back and forth and not only did Adam Cole suffer the consequences of standing up to Jericho, but so did his real-life paramour, Dr. Britt Baker.

As the JAS handcuffed Cole to the ropes, Britt came down to help her man, only to have The Outcasts (Saraya, Toni Storm, and Ruby Soho) come down to the ring in what I like to call a pretty special faction co-op for chaos segment (I kind of like that name), bringing together both factions beautifully. As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy, right?

Regardless, Baker and Cole suffered the consequences of showing a united front. Britt suffered quite the beat down and because he was handcuffed, Cole was forced to watch.

Perhaps the piece de resistance here in this segment was the fact that Baker intelligently broke the fourth wall by calling Cole by his real name, Austin. Cole’s full name is Austin Kirk Jenkins. She screamed it a few times during the ensuing violence, thus putting that proverbial fuel in the engine that is this storyline, and thus giving the audience a promise of what’s to come, and that should be a violent work of art and one heck of a feud.

Which brings us of course to the point of this here piece…what’s to come for the likes of Adam Cole after this feud goes the way of all the old pro wrestling feuds of yore?

An indie sensation

At 33 years old, Adam Cole isn’t at all new to the game. He has racked in loads and loads of experience on the indie circuit. He started back in 2008 and made his way through top indie promotions such as Combat Zone, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, and ROH, and for the sake of brevity, he made so many other stops on the indie circuit.

Perhaps it has been his time in WWE/NXT that stands out to most. He not only performed well on the NXT brand but many would argue that he became one of the three fathers of the Black and Gold era which included Johnny Gargano and of course Tommaso Ciampa.

These three men took NXT from a developmental platform to the type of programming fans wanted to follow and religiously watch from week to week with incredible storylines and even more incredible matches.

With these men at the helm (and many others, too), NXT became a viable option for pro wrestling fans and also became a more sought-after program than those produced by the main roster in WWE.

Cole was given few chances on that main roster, and he never was called up officially or for decent periods of time despite making many appearances where many would have argued, and still do, that he stole the show when given the chance.

Regardless he was stifled and that ceiling in WWE reared its ugly head thus affecting Adam Cole’s progression within the company.

In NXT he handled himself professionally however and worked just as hard and provided the fans with epic promos and epic matches and equally astounding storylines, but it was in 2021 when his contract came to an end that he had some choices to make, and he made the right one according to this writer.

He went with AEW and premiered at All Out 2021—a night to remember for AEW fans for sure. Three debuts occurred on that show: Bryan Danielson, Ruby Soho and of course Cole himself, and with CM Punk having debuted a short time prior, it was an incredible time to be an AEW fan and a pro wrestling fan in general.

Things have changed some, but business in AEW is surely picking up as things slow down in WWE—the way of the business: highs and lows…

The state of AEW and why this feud comes at the right time

The drama between The Elite and CM Punk may lead to a brand spilt, and all because there are those on the roster that don’t want to work together.

With CM Punk slated to return before All In at Wembley Stadium in the UK, there’s great promise that business will pick up, but sadly, with the massive draw that Punk is, even he can suffer and his cachet suffer because a lot of AEW’s top stars don’t want to work with him, according to reports.

We’ve seen this before with Hulk Hogan, many in the late nineties in WCW and WWE in the early 2000s, not many wanted to work with Hogan because of the way he did business so to speak, and it certainly has its effects, evidently even now.

So in the end what’s needed here is a new star to emerge…someone that can shatter records and break boundaries…but for that to happen, we need a star that everyone wants to work with and help ‘make’ in pro wrestling speak…and how can that be accomplished?

Well, with compelling storylines of course.

Enter Adam Cole

What made Hulk Hogan? His feuds with Roddy Piper, The Sheik, The Ultimate Warrior, and Randy Savage…. What made Steve Austin? Austin vs. Rock, Austin vs. McMahon. What made CM Punk? I’m sure you get my drift.

So in the end, from this moment on if Cole is to have a run that can lead to the type of numbers Punk was garnering the company, AEW needs to make sure that each and every single feud Cole is entered has a crescendo, build that causes the audience to follow along with him and be on his side every step of the way, from feud to feud.

It’s interesting. Looking back on an interview Adam Cole did with TalkSPORT in 2022, he spoke about both CM Punk and Jericho.., and what’s interesting is where he saw himself down the line, having feuds with the top draws at the company, so the ambition and the intent are obviously there; all that’s left to do now is strap the rocket to this young man and see how far he can take the company.

"“Jericho influenced me so much, even more than he realizes. I’ve gotten to tell him how much he has, but I remember reading his first book and going ‘I’ve got to travel the globe.’ That really made me be like I need to take all bookings I can get in Europe, Mexico, Japan etc.. – that inspired a lot of young wrestlers. And CM Punk, he is top three or four most influential professional wrestlers to me. As far how I think about wrestling, what I want to focus on and what I want to get good at.I remember seeing a promo of his for the first time, it was against Raven in Ring of Honor and being like so captivated by his talking ability to where I obsessed on it and I studied it like crazy. He knows that, too. I never thought in million years that there would even be a possibility of Adam Cole versus CM Punk and now that is a very real possibility and I hope it happens some day. I hope all of them happen some day! And I think it’s very possible.”-Via talksport.com"

This way, in the end, he can’t fail, and the audience will be rooting for him all the way until he uncrowns MJF if he still has the BBB, but something kind of tells me he will, until 2024 of course, which at that point I see no other next AEW World Champ than the man himself, Adam Cole Bay Bay! And if Punk manages to make things work out, well then there’s room enough for two big dogs in AEW, isn’t there?

Next. Looking back at CM Punk’s All Out Media Scrum—was he justified?. dark

And if the company isn’t big enough for the two of them so to speak, well then there’s nothing like a Cole vs. Punk feud to settle things. Can you guys imagine the promos those two could cut on each other?