Adam Cole’s debut was perhaps the biggest surprise on AEW’s All Out pay-per-view, particularly because most fans following the rumor mill were expecting Bryan Danielson to show up in that spot. Danielson did show up minutes later, of course. Since then, Cole has been received like a main event level star by the AEW live audiences.
So how did AEW pull this one off with very few people knowing about it? In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Cole explained how the secret was protected. Here is the excerpt from their article:
“I didn’t even fly into Chicago [the site of All Out], I flew into a different city the day before,” Cole says, noting that he was thrilled to wear his mask to help hide his appearance on the flight. “I didn’t even stay in the same hotel as Bryan. We showed up to the building while the show was going on, and we waited outside in a trailer. The locker room didn’t even know until the absolute last moment. It was the most secretive debut I’ve ever been involved in, and Tony Khan took every measure to make this as big of a surprise as possible.”
Cole’s account sounds almost like the opposite of what CM Punk experienced for his AEW debut just two weeks prior. Punk specifically told the media that he didn’t have to disguise himself or enter the United Center through some secret entrance. Then again, Punk’s debut was the worst kept secret in wrestling, so it makes sense that Cole had to go all out in order to keep his debut a mystery.
It also helps that Cole didn’t actually make the decision to join AEW until almost the last second:
“My actual decision was literally only a couple days before [the pay-per-view],” Cole says. “I was awake in bed, it was close to 1 in the morning, and I was imagining being involved in AEW. That thought gave me such an excited feeling. I was so giddy I couldn’t even sleep. I loved the idea of coming to All Elite Wrestling, and that’s when I knew what I needed to do.”
Is Adam Cole’s surprise debut for AEW one of your favorite moments of the year, Cagesiders?