Donald Wood: Obviously, the biggest news from the week was Ring of Honor’s announcement that the company will be on Destination America Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET starting June 3. What is your reaction to the news and what is the general feeling amongst other wrestlers in the locker room regarding the move?
Adam Cole: I was shocked and just as floored as everybody else was. Ring of Honor offices kept everyone in the dark as far as what was going on but the excitement level through the talent is really high. With how everyone feels, how amped we are, and with how hard everyone has been working, this is a giant step forward for us. I think we are going to be in an additional 57 million homes and that’s huge for accessibility and viewership potential for Ring of Honor. This is something our entire team has worked very hard for, we feel that we deserve it, and we’re not going to give anyone any reason to believe that we should not be on a national television platform.
Mike Chiari: ROH’s partnership with Destination America came as a huge surprise to those who follow the business, mostly due to the fact that TNA came to the channel pretty recently. It seems like a lot of the talent have differing opinions about what it means for both companies, but how do you view it? Do you feel like it’s competition or do you look at it as more of a partnership?
Adam Cole: I actually don’t look at it as either. Ring of Honor has gotten where it’s gotten by solely making itself better especially from 2014-2015. I don’t want to say we have lived in our own bubble because we are very aware of what’s going on outside, but we are very focused on internally making ourselves better. Everything from production, talent, matches, storyline, we are very hyper focused on that. We try not to get too wrapped up in the entire competition thought process, but the entire thing is very exciting for pro-wrestling. The idea now is you have Ring of Honor on before TNA Impact and that’s three hours of wrestling potentially on cable television on Wednesday nights. Again, it’s not a partnership either though. We’re not affiliated with TNA whatsoever, were focused on us, and it just so happens were on right before TNA. As far as being a wrestling fan I think it’s an exciting time for them. As for us, we are so hyper focused on doing what we can so this is as successful as possible for us.
Brandon Galvin: Best in the World is coming up in a few weeks and you’ve been one of the top performers at this event for Ring of Honor historically. It was announced that The Kingdom will face the Bullet Club, but I think most would agree the focus will be on you mixing it up again with AJ Styles since you guys clearly have a special chemistry. Now in a multi-man match, would you prefer the opportunity to wrestle in a singles match against him or are you excited about the opportunities offered in a six-man tag?
Adam Cole: I think the six man has a lot of potential to be something special. Anytime there’s more bodies in there especially when the other bodies are the Young Bucks and my Kingdom partners Matt Taven and Michael Bennett, I think creates a really cool and exciting dynamic. Of course the chance to wrestle AJ in another one on one encounter would be awesome. I really enjoyed our match at War of the Worlds and for much more special reasons I enjoyed our match in Philadelphia. To get the chance to wrestle him on a PPV scenario would be really cool. I think as far as fans, if you like watching a car crash and a really exciting six man Ring of Honor wrestling action than this match is definitely going to deliver that so I am looking forward to the match on PPV.
Mike Chiari: You’ve had a lot of memorable moments during your time in ROH, but your Fight Without Honor against Jay Briscoe for the world title in December was easily one of the best matches of the year and it received a ton of praise from fans. Why do you feel like yourself and Jay have such great chemistry in the ring, and what’s your level of interest in rekindling your feud in the near future?
Adam Cole: I cut an interview where I talked about Jay and I being like the Batman and Joker. I really feel that way and the feud between us will never die. When you look at the two characters, they are just so polar opposite and that’s why I think it attracts so well. I think initially the interest from the Ring of Honor fan base about the battles Jay and I had was it wasn’t traditional in Ring of Honor you have two of the best going at it to see who number one is. Jay and I have so many different dynamics that we can play off of and fortunately we had a really extended amount of time to build up to this Fight Without Honor. This wasn’t a scenario where we had three months to build up to Fight Without Honor. We had been feuding for almost a year and a half so the back story was there. What was kind of easier than anticipated to put certain things into place to really tell that story, get the fans invested, and get the fans behind everything? I just think it’s the classic scenario, whether its Adam Cole or Jay Briscoe in a wrestling ring, a television show, or a movie, it just clicks because the characters are so different.
Brandon Galvin: Speaking of Jay Briscoe, Donny and I have noticed how more and more fans turn on wrestlers during long stretches of being on the top. It happened to John Cena, CM Punk and many more before them. As one of the top young wrestlers in the world, what is your take and perception when you see fans starting to turn on their former favorites?
Adam Cole: I think it’s just a classic scenario of people liking the underdog and jumping on the bandwagon and get behind the guy before he makes it big. It’s exciting to want something different. Everybody whether they realize it or not wants change. I think overtime, it’s just the reality and the nature of the beast that people want something different instead of getting the same thing they see all the time. Nobody is saying that Jay Briscoe is doing a bad job, he is true and tested being with the company since the very beginning. So everyone I think very much respects Jay Briscoe. Like anyone involved with any sort of entertainment, generally speaking people do like change. I think it’s just a situation where the Ring of Honor fans want something different.
Donald Wood: At the end of 2014, you suffered a shoulder injury that temporarily derailed an incredible two-year run. You returned recently to Ring of Honor and look to be performing at an elite level once again. How is the shoulder holding up and can you describe the injury and your recovery process?
Adam Cole: This injury goes back to me wrestling with a fracture in my elbow and a partially torn triceps for probably a year and a half to two years. I worked through it because I knew I was about to get a run with the Ring of Honor world title. I was still PWG champion so I had to continue to work through everything and have a really good run. Unfortunately, I dislocated my shoulder at a Pro-Wrestling Gorilla event and I popped it back in to finish the match and thought I was going to be ok. Long story short, I got a MRI and it was a torn labrum which is a vital tendon in the shoulder that can cause problems with your bicep, triceps, or even neck down the line. It was something that I needed to get fixed and opted to get it fixed after Ring of Honor Final Battle. The rehab process was more mentally draining than it was physically and I thought the physical part was easy. Of course it hurt and got redundant, but it was more the idea of sitting out while all this great stuff was going on and I wanted to be back in there. I also did hit some hiccups in the recovery process but the Dr., told me it may be smart to come back in June so there really was a scare there for a minute that I wouldn’t be able to do the Ring of Honor/New Japan shows. Fortunately, I was able to let the thing rest up and come back at Philadelphia Best in the World. I’m taking it easy on my schedule until June just to make sure my shoulder holds up ok. It felt fine but the most difficult thing was not being able to train in a ring whatsoever. When I wrestled AJ, that was the first time I was between the ropes at all in five months. I hadn’t done any wrestling training or anything like that in the meantime. It was really nerve wrecking, not so much if my shoulder was going to hold up but that I was going to be able to perform. Fortunately for me wrestling is like riding a bike. The second I got in there everything just clicked and came back fortunately.
Mike Chiari: One of the biggest stories in wrestling right now is Samoa Joe’s WWE debut at NXT TakeOver, and the fact that he’s still permitted to work with other companies like ROH. That type of freedom is pretty unprecedented as it relates to WWE, so if that ultimately becomes the new norm, how do you think that might impact performers and their willingness to make the jump to a brand like NXT?
Adam Cole: I think it will be really interesting. Obviously Samoa Joe is the first one to get a contract of this kind and it sounds very appealing to a lot of different people. I think a lot of it depends on how willing Triple H, WWE, and NXT are willing to give guys deals like this. Then obviously it will be interesting to see what route guys go. I know a lot of guys, including myself, that are very happy at Ring of Honor but obviously you never say never with things. The problem with the scenario is it’s so hard to predict. With Ring of Honor on Destination America, a lot of people are wondering if Samoa Joe can even come work those shows on TV, I have more questions than answers when it comes to stuff like that. It certainly is going to create a real feeling of suspense and excitement in pro-wrestling that we haven’t had for quite some time. The idea of not knowing where people are going to show up, when they are going to show up, who they are going to be wrestling for, similar to the way it was in the Attitude area. I think this is just a really an exciting cool time for wrestling with not knowing where people are going to show up.
Brandon Galvin: You’ve been a favorite of ours for a long time now and we see you as a future megastar in the business. Over the years you’ve really developed into one of the top all-around performers and somebody with great intensity, but are there any areas you feel you need to improve on or would call weaknesses?
Adam Cole: Absolutely. I have said this before, I think the second you stop thinking you need to improve your capped off and can’t progress any further so 100% there are areas for improvement. As far as something outside the ring, while sitting out with the shoulder injury I’d like to get myself in the best possible shape I possibly could. I’m looking at coming into the PPV in the best shape I have been in a while. Trying to get myself not just back to where I was, but better than where I was. One of the things with me for a long time was I had a really quick metabolism. So I think my metabolism is finally slowing down and now I’ll really be able to work on that aspect of my game right now. Cosmetically things are just as important as stuff in the ring. I’m trying to improve my promo work because I am so passionate about promos in wrestling. The ability to give a good interview really is make-or-break for some people. Of course I am always trying to improve on stuff inside the ring as well. It’s tough to pinpoint one area as far as in ring work goes because I am always trying to get better. Every time I go back and watch my own stuff, I find a million things I would change. That’s the fun part about wrestling though: there is no such thing as being perfect. Everyone is always trying to get better all the time. There are areas of my game I will always work on and try to improve on.
Donald Wood: You have attended tryouts for WWE in the past. With the success of former Independent stars like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Neville, how has NXT helped change the perception for wrestlers trying to make the jump to the WWE and does a run in NXT interest you when you’re time in ROH comes to a close?
Adam Cole: The entire game change with NXT here, I feel like pro-wrestlers are running the industry. Every area now, WWE, Ring of Honor, International exposure, the guys at the top are genuine born and bred wrestlers. It doesn’t matter your shape or size, if you’re a good pro-wrestler, not only will you have a job but you will be able to make a solid living as a pro-wrestler. With NXT though, anyone who says they don’t want to have a WrestleMania moment someday is kidding themselves. Of course I have entertained the idea of working with WWE someday. NXT is indeed the epic catalyst or best shot to getting up to the main roster. With the way things are going with Ring of Honor and how good they have been to me since the injury from 2010, I am not even thinking about WWE right now. I am totally focused on what we got going on with Ring of Honor. I am still young, I am 25 years old, the relationship with Ring of Honor and New Japan is fantastic for me. The fact Ring of Honor just got this television deal has really changed the game. You never know, if Ring of Honor continues to grow the way it is, it will be a legitimate place for guys to make a living in pro-wrestling for years to come. Ring of Honor is the place I call home, but like they say in pro-wrestling, never say never.
Donald Wood: How about your thoughts on Lucha Underground?
Adam Cole: I think it’s great for the business and I’m a big fan of their energy style. I am going to be honest; I have only seen a handful of their shows. I don’t religiously follow Lucha Underground but I have a lot of friends there and the fact is they get to make a living doing what they love to do. It’s a different product, and different in wrestling isn’t always good, but for Lucha Underground’s case it is good. I think it’s cool and different and the more places guys have to work and the more chances people get to watch wrestling the better it is. I think it’s great and Lucha Underground is doing great things.