The possibility of former NXT Champion Adam Cole making a jump to All Elite Wrestling may be at an all-time high amid reports of uncertainty regarding his WWE contract status.
On Sunday (August 1), multiple reports confirmed Cole's contract with WWE was set to expire this month, despite being previously reported to run through a longer date.
If anyone other than Cole knows what his plan is, it's likely his longtime girlfriend, AEW Women's Champion Dr. Britt Baker, DMD.
Prior to news of Cole's contract becoming public, the Western Pennsylvania native commented on the likelihood of her boyfriend joining her and others in AEW.
During an interview with the Daily Star published on Monday (August 2) and conducted around mid-July, Baker acknowledged that Cole had other strong ties to the company, being close friends with executives Matt and Nick Jackson, Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega, but ultimately was rooting for her spouse's happiness.
“He has got to hold down the Tuesday night and I’ll hold down the Wednesday night, right?!" Baker said.“I think it’s funny when people say, ‘he has to go to AEW because of Britt!’ because there are so many more people at AEW who have played a bigger role in the wrestling side of his life. People like The Young Bucks, Kenny; he was in the Bullet Club for the majority of the Indie career people know him for. He has such a history in AEW that, if he came here, the storylines are endless - but he’s happy where he is. So, if he were to jump ship and come my way, that would be awesome, but if he stays in WWE forever then I’d be happy, too, as I just want him to be happy."
Wrestling Inc reports Cole signed an extension to compete for the company beyond NXT Great American Bash on July 6, which was initially rumored to run through 2024, but actually will expire after SummerSlam on August 21, 2021.
PWInsider reports several WWE executives were surprised by the news as it was believed Cole was at least "locked in through January 2022," while other reports indicated the aforementioned 2024 expiration date.
Wrestling Inc reports WWE officials were frustrated by news of Cole's contract status being made public and the contract situation is reportedly related to former Senior Vice President of Talent Development Canyon Ceman being let go by the company, which was initially reported on July 23.
PWInsider noted that the timing of several executives learning about the contract issue involving the former NXT Champion "very much lines up with the timing of" Ceman's departure from WWE.
News of Cole's contract uncertainty also comes amid Fightful Select's (subscription needed) report that the recent release of former multi-time World Champion Bray Wyatt resulted in "a hit to morale for several" superstars.
The former NXT Champion is also close friends with executives Matt and Nick Jackson, Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega, having previously wrestled alongside the four as a member of Bullet Club for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor, as well as being a former mainstay on the YouTube series Being the Elite -- which ultimately led to AEW's 2019 launch -- prior to signing with WWE.
Cole is a one-time NXT Champion, the inaugural NXT North American Champion and a one-time NXT Tag Team Champion alongside former Undisputed Era members Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly.
The 32-year-old has spent the majority of his tenure with WWE competing for the NXT brand since signing in 2017.