Earlier this week I got the chance to talk with current Combat Zone Wrestling Junior Heavyweight Champion and contracted Ring of Honor wrestler Adam Cole. During the interview we talked independent wrestling, Rock/Austin, his huge year with CZW, the Miz as WWE Champion, and much more! The following is a transcript from several of the highlights, but you can view the entire interview HERE.
Adam won the 10th anniversary of CZW's "Best of the Best" tournament earlier in the year, is the company's current Junior Heavyweight Champion, and has had tag team championship opportunities alongside Kyle O'Reilly in Ring of Honor. When asked about his huge break-out year in independent wrestling...
"It absolutely has been a very big year for me, and all this stuff has been kind of surreal to me. I'm just trying to swallow everything at once, but I'm very thankful for it too. I always said to myself when I first started wrestling that I was gonna put absolutely everything into it - into becoming the absolute best pro wrestling that I could be. So when I'm presented with situations like this, to carry an important wrestling championship or to win a very prestigious tournament, I know that I have to be ready for it, and I know that I have to back up the credentials that I hold. Fortunately I've gotten to wrestling with some really great guys, and the progression has continued to grow!"
On becoming a fan of pro wrestling...
"My parents split up when I was nine years old, and I started taking karate lessons at that point. I was very dedicated to my karate and I looked up to my karate instructor kind of like a second father" ... "This one particular day he was watching a tapped Raw of when Stone Cold and Kane were putting Paul Bearer in a sewer. And he had said to me 'do you watch pro wrestling?' and I said 'yeah, all the time!" In reality I had never watched it before, but I wanted to fit in with him so bad."
"So I watched Wrestlemania XV and the Rock vs. Stone Cold that night just totally captivated me, and I was a hardcore WWF fan from that point on. Ironically enough, two years at Wrestlemania XVII is when I actually decided I wanted to be a pro wrestler. Everyone had talked before about how they got goose-bumps or how they get chills when they're moved by something, and that had never happened to me before. But that night when Stone Cole came out and the 67,000 people erupted at the same time, it was such a real, raw emotion where I got chills completely up my spine. And at that very moment I decided being a fan of this isn't good enough - I think I need to be involved in it."
On winning the CZW "Best in the Best" tournament, an event wrestlers such as Jay Lethal, Austin Aires, the Briscoes, and the Kings of Wrestling have failed to win, in his debut year...
"It's awesome! It's a great feeling, especially because of how stacked the tournament was this year. It was the tenth anniversary, and it put a lot of pressure on me." ... "It was very tough on my body, very taxing [on my body], but also extremely rewarding when that night was over. I remember the first CZW show I went to was "Best of the Best 7" and I loved the entire tournament. So for me to three years later, go and win the tournament was very very cool, and sort of a full-circle moment for me, and certainly something I'll never forget."
On the Miz taking the #1 spot on the PWI500 in 2011...
"I thought it was great. I'm a big fan of what that guy does. I think he has a complete understanding of who he is and what he's trying to portrait. Especially after hearing about all the gripe that he went through, just like you mentioned, about so many people telling him he can't be a pro wrestler and he's just a reality TV star. And he stuck with it and he improved. We literally watched him improve before our eyes, so that to me is a proof that really anybody can be the #1 wrestler that year. If you work hard enough and tell the people that are telling you that you can't be anything, to go shove it... the Miz did it! He had a hell of a year and I think he's totally deserving of that spot!"
This weekend Adam Cole will participate in Ring of Honor's "Survival of the Fittest" tournament, where fourteen wrestlers enter and one emerges with a future shot at the ROH World Heavyweight Championship. He will also be wrestling in the company's "Glory by Honor X" internet PPV the following night. Those events will go down on November 18th and 19th, in Dayton, OH and Chicago Ridge, IL respectively. Go to ROHWrestling.com for tickets!