Courtesy of WWE

Wednesday nights are about to be Undisputed. 

By Justin Barrasso
September 17, 2019

Adam Cole issued an open challenge to television programs on Wednesday nights.

“NXT is going to be the most exciting show on television,” said Cole. “We have a chance to put so many more eyes on us, and we already have a chip on our shoulder because we know how good we are. Now we want the entire world to recognize that.”

Once known as a developmental territory, NXT has built itself into WWE’s third brand. This Wednesday marks its weekly television premiere on the USA Network.

Cole, the NXT champion, is not scheduled to defend his title on the premiere card, but his presence will certainly be felt.

“This is the exact moment I’ve dreamed of,” said the 30-year-old Cole. “I perform best in high-pressure situations. I want TakeOvers, live television, and that feeling of adrenaline and energy inside my stomach—I feed off that. I’ve worked in a television environment before, but obviously live on the USA Network for two hours is a different animal. Of course there is pressure, but I’m really excited to get started on the work.”

Cole is the leader of The Undisputed Era, which includes a trio of other talented stars in Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong. The quartet has starred together in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and throughout indies across the United States.

“The most important part that has led to success is our unity,” said Cole. “We are a very real group. We’ve known each other for over a decade. The four of us talk every single day. We travel to every show together. The friendship and camaraderie isn’t for TV, it’s for real, and we accentuate each other when we’re together. We’re all so different but each is extremely talented.”

The Undisputed Era is a throwback group that delivers cutting-edge promos, phenomenal matches, and ooze confidence.

“You can take some comparisons from other factions, because The Undisputed Era has some pieces of DX, the NWO, and a little bit of the Four Horsemen,” said Cole. “Mix all of them together and you have an original in The Undisputed Era.”

The OG of The Undisputed Era, Cole explains, is the person who helped raise him into the man he is today.

“She is absolutely the original member of The Undisputed Era,” said Cole, who, along with his mother, moved in with his grandmother at the age of nine following his parents’ divorce. “There were so many qualities about her that were absolutely unbelievable. If I can be half the person she was, I’ll consider myself a successful, wonderful person. She was adamant about me chasing my dream, even when nobody else would. She helped me shut out negativity and go after it, and I’ve kept that for my entire career. I really owe her for me being where I am today.”

Cole—whose real name is Austin Jenkins—will be in a unique situation in October once NXT begins to compete directly against All Elite Wrestling since his girlfriend, Dr. Britt Baker, is a star on the AEW roster. Cole does not view a “Wednesday Night War” breaking out between the two companies, but he is excited to compete and show off his worth.

“I am the NXT champion representing a brand I think so proudly of, so I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself like I always do,” said Cole. “That pressure comes from living up to the expectation that NXT has built. NXT was put on the USA Network because of the work that the NXT brand put in. If the show wasn’t good, we wouldn’t be on USA. Our focus is, week after week, putting on the best show possible.

“We’re focused on exceeding the expectations our current fans have for us and the expectations that our soon-to-be fans will have.”

Patiently stalking Cole is former champion Tommaso Ciampa, whose neck surgery forced him to relinquish the NXT title. Ciampa refers to the belt as Goldie, and NXT will have an incredibly gripping storyline to air once Ciampa is cleared to wrestle.

“I understand where Tommaso is coming from because the NXT Championship is incredibly important to him,” said Cole. “Tommaso had a great run in NXT. He’s a great professional wrestler. But as far as him getting Goldie back, that isn’t happening and I’ll be sure to remind him of that any time he gets in my face.”

Beginning this Wednesday, Cole is eager to usher in wrestling’s newest era with a live, weekly NXT product.

“NXT is like a rock concert rollercoaster ride,” said Cole. “The energy at our events is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, and I’ve been fortunate to wrestle in promotions across the world. The vibe in the locker room and the energy from the crowd is unparalleled.

“For the fans who’ve stuck with us, they know what NXT is all about. And those who don’t know are about to experience the best show on television.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.

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