Triple H rejected a young wrestler who later became a big NXT star and is currently a big name in AEW during his first WWE tryout.
William Regal recalled, on the first episode of his podcast Gentleman Villain, Adam Cole trying out some time around 2013 during a WWE tryout and Triple H saying no to the young wrestler.
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Cole was 24 years old and Regal recalls being very impressed by Cole. Regal was a talent scout for WWE and had a lot of experience in wrestling. He wanted to sign the young wrestler, but Triple H said no. Regal goes into the surprising, but smart reason Triple H said no in 2007.
“Adam Cole did a tryout at one point when he was, I believe 24,” Regal said. “I said and everybody else around, all the crew, everybody involved in this said, ‘This lad is as proud as it gets. He’s got everything going for him.’ Triple H made the call, which may sound a bit harsh at the time, and he told me personally, ‘Leave him out there.’ He was already working for Ring of Honor and doing all this other stuff and doing PWG [Pro Wrestling Guerrilla].”
He said, ‘Leave him out there because in two years, the experience he’ll get out there will make him 10 times better than what he already is, if not more than that. Keep an eye on him and if he ever needs anything, let us know. Then when the time’s right, when we’ve got the right spot, we’ll bring him right in. Instead of coming in and sort of finding a spot for him, we’ll bring him up.’”H/T To Wrestling News For Transcription
Letting Cole Gain A Little More Experience On The Indies
This ended up being the right choice as when Cole came into NXT he hit the ground running and became a fan favorite as well as one of NXT’s biggest stars. It must have been hard to clearly see this diamond in the rough and not pick it up immediately and Regal probably thought Triple H was crazy. Triple H showed a lot of patience and even more wisdom by not picking him up at that time.
It is hard to say if Cole would have reached the same level if he was picked up by WWE in 2013. What is interesting to think about is how this would never happen now as WWE now has a mandate to pick up young wrestlers for NXT before they are able to make a name for themselves on the indies.
Cole’s Close Relationship With Triple H
Cole along with Regal and Triple H began working closely together while Cole was in NXT. Triple H and Cole struck up a close relationship and mutual respect for each other. It seems the relationship far exceeded that of boss and employee.
During an interview with Fightful Cole talked about hearing about Triple H’s cardiac event which led him to retire from wrestling.
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“I’m just happy he’s okay,” Cole said. “But yeah, I mean, everything that he’s given to the wrestling industry and the wrestling business will never be forgotten, whether it be his in-ring career, or the countless amount of people he’s influenced within NXT and the countless people he’s taught within NXT. So I really do, I love Triple H. I admire the hell out of him and I’m glad he’s alright” H/T To Fightful For Transcription
Cole Quickly Making His Way To The Top In AEW
Cole has taken everything he had learned from NXT, Triple H and Regal and made his way to AEW. In August 2021 Cole chose not to sign a new contract with WWE this led him to debut the next month for AEW during the AEW: All-Out. He immediately joined some of his old Bullet Club members in their new faction, The Elite.
The highlight of Cole’s time in AEW has to be what he was able to accomplish this past weekend at AEW: Double Or Nothing. Cole defeated Samoa Joe to win the inaugural Owen Hart Foundation Men’s Tournament.
Do you think it was the right move to reject Cole in 2013 or would you have liked to see Cole develop in WWE? Is there anyone else who you wish WWE picked up sooner like AJ Styles perhaps or did they get everyone right at the correct time? Do you think Cole was the right person to win the Owen Hart Tournament? Now that Cole won the Owen Hart Tournament leave a comment over on Twitter about what you want to see him do next.
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Sources: Gentleman Villain, Wrestling News, Fightful, Sportskeeda