Well it was about shocking the system and now it’s all about that boom. Terrible entrance theme segue aside, Adam Cole is one of the best wrestlers going currently, in spite of that pesky knee injury. Given he’s such a talented wrestler, making this list was incredibly difficult to rank (thanks to his litany of classics for NXT, ROH and AEW to name but a few) And no doubt that this list will probably become outdated in a few months once he and MJF have another classic. Anyway, without further ado here are the best Adam Cole matches of his career…. So far.
Top 10 Best Adam Cole Matches
10. Hangman Adam Page vs Adam Cole – Texas Deathmatch for the AEW World Championship (AEW Rampage 2022)
Well, this match feels thematically perfect given the carnage that Hangman caused over the weekend with Swerve. So, naturally this match is good given its Hangman in a Texas Deathmatch and Cole is no slouch either. There’s plenty of frankly brutal spots like a Deadeye off the apron through a table as well as a moonsault whilst Page is wrapped up in barbed wire. Mad thinking that this was given away on free TV but I digress. While it’s neither man’s best work in AEW, it is a very solid match which just about lives up to the stipulation.
9. Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black – Extreme Rules Match for the NXT Championship (NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia)
Sticking with the extreme side of wrestling, this is another very solid extreme rules match which doesn’t out stay its welcome. Also, the fact it comes at the height of both men’s powers in NXT helps it a lot. Of course there’s some eye watering spots like Black hitting a meteora on Cole through the announce table, that spot of Black hitting a death valley driver on Cole onto two upright chairs and plenty more. Whilst the inevitable interferences of both SAnitY and Undisputed Era does dent the match, this is still a hard-hitting match for the NXT Championship that received positive reviews.
8. Mount Rushmore 2.0. vs Matt Sydal, Ricochet and Will Ospreay – (PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2016 Night 2)
Ahhh yes, the internet’s favourite tag team: The Young Bucks… along with Adam Cole fighting three men who have springs instead of legs: Matt Sydal, Ricochet and Will Ospreay. I defy you to look at this and tell me it isn’t just incredible to witness. Naturally, this is during the height of Ospreay’s ‘flippy s**t’ era so there’s some nonsensical counters of springboards being countered into other springboards. That is probably to be expected given its part of the prestigious BOLA tournament, and it demonstrated Cole’s ability to deliver in high-profile independent wrestling events. Bruv, we need a singles match between Cole and Ospreay…
7. The Undisputed Era vs. Imperium – (Worlds Collide 2020)
Speaking of matches we need, a singles match between Adam Cole and Gunther, then WALTER, would have been remarkable. Besides catering to my fantasy booking, this match is utterly nuts with it adapting on the fly and making Imperium into underdog babyfaces, thanks to an unfortunate injury to Alexander Wolfe. Regardless of that injury, this match is so much fun with Strong olympic slamming WALTER through a table and chops so hard they’ll turn your chest into sushi. When the finish does come, the audience are shot given the sheer pace all the men worked the match at. Goddamn it WWE for fumbling Adam Cole’s chance to face Gunther one on one. Overall, this inter-brand match between NXT and NXT UK featured intense competition and showcased the talent of both factions.
6. Adam Cole vs. Ricochet – NXT North American Championship (NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV)
Hello again, Ricochet. Fancy seeing him here…. Anyway, you might think this match is on here for one spot. And yes it kind of is because what a spot. The visual of Ricochet being mid moonsault whilst Cole hits him flush in the face with a superkick is gorgeous and brutal. Anyway, both men have superb chemistry as Ricochet’s flippy s**t works so well opposite Cole’s more all rounded style. I’m not going to list off spots but this match makes Ricochet look like a billion dollars. Overall, this match for the NXT North American Championship showcased both wrestlers’ athleticism and in-ring ability.
5. The Undisputed Era vs SAnitY vs AOP and Roderick Strong – War Games Match (NXT Takeover WarGames 2017)
Now if there’s one thing I love in my wrestling, it’s utter weapons grade carnage. And the first War Games match since WCW delivered on all fronts. Just look at some of these examples like Wolfe avalanche german suplexing an Author of Pain, Killian Dain diving onto everybody or Strong perplexing Cole off the top of the cage. The sheer planning and carnage that this match shows off is nuts as every team gets a chance to shine. Personally, that spot of AOP planning bowling by launching Strong into the Undisputed Era is very funny and one of my personal favourite spots. Overall, a glorious return for Wargames.
4. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly – No Disqualification Match for the ROH World Championship (ROH Final Battle 2016)
Despite their rivalry in NXT threatening to devalue their history all together, this match shows why both men are held in such high regard. A proper fight without honour in what turned out to be amongst Cole and O’Reilly’s last matches before their jump to WWE. If WWE had just watched this blend of hardcore nonsense and stiff technical work the pair’s blowoff match during the cursed days of wrestling might have been half as good. Overall, this match is rightfully considered one of the best matches in ROH history.
3. MJF vs Adam Cole – AEW World Championship (AEW All In 2022)
One’s a self obsessed man and the others also a self obsessed man. Just how will they coexist… Sarcasm aside, this is a bonkers fun match with the dynamic of both men being ROH Tag Champions at the time. Obviously, there’s plenty of brutality like a piledriver on the stairs as well as both men trying to out cheat the other man to get him disqualified. Eddie Guerrero would be proud of both of them. Also, MJF grabbing a mic and screaming ‘we’re going to go until we’ve got a winner in f*cking Wembley!’ is badass and brilliant. Overall, a match which proved Cole’s world title credentials. Now if only he were on the level of the devil….
2. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano – 2 out of 3 Falls Match for the NXT Championship (NXT TakeOver: New York 2019)
Now, while this match is phenomenal it has split opinions amongst fans. I know, wrestling fans are in disagreement… Anyway, there’s plenty to cheer about with some heartstopping near falls which are where a lot of fans disagree with the match. Basically, it goes to false finish insanity as both men start stacking moves up to a ludicrous degree. Now, whatever your taste in wrestling, the sheer emotion of finally seeing Gargano win the big one after being roundly booed entering the match is heartwarming. Overall, it’s clear to see why this match received critical acclaim for its storytelling and high-paced action.
1. Adam Cole vs Daniel Bryan – NXT Championship (Smackdown 2019)
And Adam Cole’s best match (so far) is…. Him vs Daniel Bryan on a random Smackdown in 2019 for the NXT Championship. Now I know what you’re thinking. Why on Earth did this match happen here and never again? Well, because of ‘mechanical faults’ over in Saudi Arabia, WWE had to think on the fly and booked this incredible match. And if you’re going to look like a million bucks wrestling Daniel Bryan will certainly help as both men start at 100 and never dip once. The fact this hasn’t been rerun yet in AEW feels criminal but when they do I’m sure it’ll be just as good as this phenomenal match.