Austin Jenkins (July 5, 1989) is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Adam Cole. He competed for several independent promotions, including Combat Zone Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling, Northeast Wrestling and Ring of Honor. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs in their developmental territory NXT. In NXT, Cole is a one-time NXT Champion, a former one-time North American Champion and former one-time Tag Team Champion.
According to a podcast interview held by former WWE superstars Edge and Christian, Jenkins states he became a fan of professional wrestling "late" in life at age 9. He credits his upbringing in a conservative Pennsylvania town as the reason for not viewing professional wrestling for a long time. According to Jenkins, he watched his first WWE pay-per-view on video through his karate instructor who was an avid pro wrestling fan. After securing a signature of permission from his mother, Jenkins was loaned his instructor's video tape of WrestleMania XV. Jenkins also credited the main event match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven as his prime inspiration for entering professional wrestling. Growing up, his favorite WWE superstars included Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, the teams of Edge & Christian and The Hardy Boyz. He also stated the first live pay-per-view he watched was WrestleMania XX. Jenkins also states he attended a WWE event during the period of the WWF vs. The Alliance storyline, describing his attendance on the night during which The Rock returned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to save the WWF. Jenkins also stated he competed in amateur wrestling during junior high and high school, in preparation for his dream of becoming a professional wrestling.
Professional wrestling career
Training and Combat Zone Wrestling (2008–2017)
Jenkins was trained at the Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) Wrestling Academy by Jon Dahmer and DJ Hyde. He became an official student at the Academy on November 14, 2007, while he was still a senior in high school. He made his CZW debut at No Pun Intended as "Adam Cole" on June 21, 2008, when he teamed with The Reason in a loss to GNC (Joe Gacy and Alex Colon). His next appearance was on September 13 at the Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Show, when he defeated Tyler Veritas in a CZW Wrestling Academy showcase match. Cole then began to feud with GNC, facing them in several matches with different partners. On October 11, GNC and EMO defeated Cole, L.J. Cruz and HDTV in a six-man tag team match. At the following show, Night of Infamy 7: Greed, GNC defeated Cole and HDTV in a regular tag team match. Cole gained his first win over GNC at Cage Of Death 10: Ultraviolent Anniversary when he, Veritas, and Cruz defeated GNC and EMO in a six-man tag team match.
In 2009, Cole teamed regularly with Tyler Veritas. At X: Decade of Destruction – 10th Anniversary in February, Cole and Veritas won a tag team gauntlet match, outlasting the teams of The S.A.T., L.J. Cruz and Izzy Kensington, 2.0, All Money Is Legal, and GNC. At the following show in March, they won a four-way match against the team of Jagged and Cole Calloway, GNC, and Team AnDrew (Andy Sumner and Drew Gulak). After Cole took a hiatus from CZW, he returned at A Tangled Web 2 on August 8, where he and Veritas won another four-way match against BLKOUT, Team Macktion (TJ Mack and Kirby Mack) and the Spanish Armada (L.J. Cruz and Alex Colon). At Down With The Sickness Forever, Cole and Veritas challenged for The Best Around (TJ Cannon and Bruce Maxwell) for the CZW World Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful. For the remainder of 2009, Cole and Veritas began focusing on singles competition, as they both entered the tournament to determine the inaugural CZW Wired TV Champion. Cole defeated Alex Colon and Rich Swann en route to the final at Cage of Death 11, where he lost to Veritas.
At Walking on Pins and Needles in March 2010, Cole wrestled Sabian to a 15-minute time-limit draw. Later in 2010, Cole began challenging for the CZW World Junior Heavyweight Championship, and on April 10, at Swinging For The Fences, Cole faced defending champion Sabian in a match that ended in a 20-minute time-limit draw. On May 8, 2010 Cole won the CZW World Junior Heavyweight Championship by defeating defending champion Sabian and Ruckus in a three-way match at Fist Fight. Cole went on to successfully defend the championship against Ryan Slater in both June and August and Blk Jeez in September. At It's Always Bloody in Philadelphia on October 9, Cole turned into a heel (villainous character) by attacking long-time tag team partner Veritas. Later that night, Cole successfully defended his CZW World Junior Heavyweight Championship against AR Fox. In November, Cole toured Germany with CZW, and retained his championship against Zack Sabre, Jr. at Live In Germany in Oberhausen. The following month, Cole gained Mia Yim as a manager, and she helped him to retain the Junior Heavyweight Championship in two separate matches at Cage Of Death XII.
At Twelve: Anniversary in February 2011, Cole qualified for the Best of the Best X tournament by defeating Pinkie Sanchez. On April 9, at Best of the Best X Cole qualified for the final of the tournament by defeating Kyle O'Reilly and Johnny Gargano in a three-way match in the first round and Sabre in the semi-final. He faced Sami Callihan in the final, and was victorious, winning the Best of the Best X tournament. Cole then developed an alliance with his trainer DJ Hyde, with Hyde helping Cole to retain his championship against Fox in May. Further title defenses against Jonatham Gresham, Chuck Taylor, and AJ Curcio throughout the year. On November 12, Cole lost the CZW World Junior Heavyweight Championship to Callihan despite both Hyde and Yim interfering on his behalf, ending his reign at 553 days, the longest reign in the championship's history.
At An Excellent Adventure in January 2012, Cole unsuccessfully challenged Devon Moore for the CZW World Heavyweight Championship. Cole's alliance with Hyde ended at the Best of the Best 11 internet pay-per-view, when Hyde gained a new protégé in Tony Nese who Cole went on to defeat in a match. Cole and Hyde began feuding briefly, with Hyde attacking Cole in May, and Cole attacking Hyde the following month. In November 2012, Cole went on to feud with Sami Callihan, claiming that he would always be regarded as a better wrestler than Callihan. At Cage of Death 14: Shattered Dreams the following month, Cole defeated Callihan in a No Hold Barred match. On April 13, 2013, Cole defeated Callihan in what billed as the "final encounter" between the longtime rivals.
Other Promotions (2009-2017)
On August 7, 2009, Carelle defeated Qenann Creed to win the MCW Rage Television Championship. He held the championship for over four months, before losing it to Ryan McBride on December 26. After changing his ring name to Adam Cole, he regained the championship from McBride two months later on February 27, 2010. Cole held it until July 31, when he and Tyler Hilton were defeated by Cobian and Tommy Dreamer, which meant that Cobian won the championship.
On November 7, 2009, Cole defeated VSK to win WXW C4's Hybrid Championship in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He lost the championship to Dave Rose on March 6, 2010, after a five-month reign.
On November 20 and 21, 2009, Cole defeated four opponents (DJ Hyde, Ryan McBride, "Mighty" Quinn Nash and Eric Enders) to win Ground Breaking Wrestling's 1st annual 16-man Battle of Gettysburg tournament. With his victory, he earned a title shot against champion Greg Excellent in April 2010 but lost.
Cole began competing for the Evolve promotion in 2010. In his debut match for the promotion on May 1 at Evolve 3: Rise Or Fall, he lost to Sami Callihan. At Evolve 4, Cole defeated Johnny Gargano to improve his record to one win and one loss. Following his victory he challenged Jimmy Jacobs to a match at the next show. At EVOLVE 5: Danielson vs. Sawa, Cole lost to Jacobs.
Cole appeared at Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA)'s Open the Freedom Gate pay-per-view taping on November 28, 2009 on the pre-show, where he wrestled Kyle O'Reilly in a losing effort. On July 24, 2010, Cole appeared at DGUSA's Enter the Dragon 2010 pay-per-view taping in a four-way match against Chuck Taylor, Arik Cannon, and Ricochet, which was won by Taylor.
On August 28, 2010, Cole appeared at Chikara's Young Lions Cup tournament. He defeated Kyle O'Reilly in the quarter-finals, but was eliminated from the semi-final (a six-man elimination match) by Obariyon.
On April 30, 2011, Cole participated in East Coast Wrestling Association's 2011 Super 8 Tournament. He defeated Sami Callihan and Austin Aries en route to the final, where he lost to Tommaso Ciampa. On November 30, 2012, he won the Premiere Wrestling Xperience's Heavyweight Championship. Cole lost the title in February 2013.
In the first weekend of February 2013, Cole partook in a WWE tryout at their developmental area in Florida.
Cole wrestled his final match in an independent show on August 5, 2017 at WC The Cody Rhodes Summer Circus Show where he teamed with Britt Baker in defeating team Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) to win the WC Big Top Tag Team Championship.
On June 24, 2018, after a year off the independent circuit, through WWE's business relationship with EVOLVE Wrestling, Cole appeared during EVOLVE 107 in a dark match, successfully defending the NXT North American Championship against WALTER.
Ring of Honor (2009–2017)
Cole made his Ring of Honor (ROH) debut on February 28, 2009, when he lost to John Kerman in a dark match at the Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings. At the Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings the following night, Cole appeared in a dark match again, teaming with Ninja Brown against John Kerman and Corey Abbott. The match ended in a no contest when the Dark City Fight Club (Kory Chavis and Jon Davis) attacked the match participants. He appeared again on the July 26, 2010, episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling, teaming with Nick Westgate in a loss to the Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli).
On August 23, 2010, ROH announced that Cole had signed a contract with the company. At the August 2 tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Cole was defeated by Mike Bennett. Cole began to ally himself with fellow ROH newcomer Kyle O'Reilly, with the pair forming a tag team. At the October 2 Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings they defeated the team of Grizzly Redwood and Mike Sydal. They lost to Steve Corino and Kevin Steen on October 15, and the All Night Express of Kenny King and Rhett Titus at a show on October 16. They defeated the Bravado Brothers (Harlem and Lance) on the November 8 episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling. On November 12, Cole participated in the 2010 edition of the Survival of the Fittest tournament. He defeated Steve Corino in the first round, but was the second person eliminated from the final, a six-man elimination match. The following night in Toronto, Cole and O'Reilly defeated the Bravado Brothers. Cole made his ROH pay-per-view debut on December 18 at Final Battle 2010, where he and O'Reilly were defeated by the All Night Express. On April 1 and 2 at Chapter One and Two of Honor Takes Center Stage, Cole and O'Reilly faced The Briscoe Brothers (Jay and Mark) and the Kings of Wrestling in two losing efforts, despite putting on strong performances. On July 8, Cole and O'Reilly defeated the Bravado Brothers to earn a future shot at the ROH World Tag Team Championship. On July 25, ROH announced that Cole had re-signed with the promotion. At the August 13 tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, the tag team of Cole and O'Reilly was named Future Shock.
At the January 7, 2012, tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, Future Shock disbanded and Cole formed a new partnership with Eddie Edwards, opposite Kyle O'Reilly and Davey Richards. On March 4 at the 10th Anniversary Show, Cole and Edwards defeated O'Reilly and Richards in a main event tag team match, with Cole pinning Richards, the reigning ROH World Champion, for the win. On June 24 at Best in the World 2012: Hostage Crisis, Cole defeated O'Reilly in a "Hybrid Rules" match. Afterwards, Cole tried to make peace with his former partner, but the offer was turned down. On June 29, 2012, Cole won his first championship in ROH, defeating Roderick Strong to become the ROH World Television Champion in Baltimore, Maryland at a taping of Ring of Honor Wrestling. On September 15 at Death Before Dishonor X: State of Emergency, Cole successfully defended the title against Mike Mondo, before being confronted by Matt Hardy. At the following internet pay-per-view, Glory By Honor XI: The Unbreakable Hope on October 13, Cole successfully defended his title against Eddie Edwards. On December 16 at Final Battle 2012: Doomsday, Cole was defeated by Hardy in a non-title match. At the following iPPV, 11th Anniversary Show on March 2, 2013, Cole lost the World Television Championship to Matt Taven, ending his reign at 246 days. On May 4 at Border Wars 2013, Cole unsuccessfully challenged Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Championship. On May 30, ROH announced that Cole had re-signed with the promotion.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2011–2017)
Cole made his debut in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) on October 22, 2011, alongside regular tag team partner O'Reilly as Future Shock, unsuccessfully challenging The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) for the PWG World Tag Team Championship. Future Shock were defeated by the RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime and Johnny Yuma), at Fear on December 10. On April 21, 2012, Future Shock entered the annual Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament (DDT4), where they made it to the semifinals, before losing to the eventual tournament winners, the Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno and Stupefied). On July 21 at PWG's ninth anniversary event, Future Shock unsuccessfully challenged the Super Smash Bros. for the PWG World Tag Team Championship in a three-way ladder match, which also included The Young Bucks. On September 1, Cole entered the 2012 Battle of Los Angeles, now working under his "Panama City Playboy" heel persona. After upsetting El Generico in his first round match, Cole advanced to the following day's quarterfinals, where he defeated Eddie Edwards. After a win over Sami Callihan in the semifinals, Cole defeated Michael Elgin in the finals to win the 2012 Battle of Los Angeles and become the number one contender to the PWG World Championship. Following his win, Cole attacked the reigning champion, Kevin Steen, and left with his title belt. On December 1, Cole defeated Steen in a Guerrilla Warfare match to become the new PWG World Champion. On January 12, 2013, Cole reunited with Kyle O'Reilly to enter the 2013 Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament. After defeating the DojoBros (Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong) in their first round match, Future Shock was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by El Generico and Kevin Steen. On March 23, Cole made his first successful defense of the PWG World Championship against Drake Younge. On June 15, Cole defeated longtime rival, the WWE bound Sami Callihan six falls to five in a 60-minute Iron Man match for the PWG World Championship.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
On August 14, 2017, multiple sources confirmed that Jenkins had officially signed with WWE and would be working in the company's developmental territory NXT. Cole made his NXT debut on August 19 at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, attacking newly crowned NXT Champion Drew McIntyre with Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly. On August 20, Cole along with Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly debuted as a stable known as The Undisputed Era. On the November 29th taping of NXT which aired on the December 13 debut broadcast on the USA Network, Cole was eliminated in a Qualifying match by Aleister Black for a place in a Four Way Number One Contender match for the NXT Championship.
The following year in 2018 at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, Cole won a six-way ladder match, defeating EC3 and Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan and Ricochet and The Velveteen Dream to become the first-ever NXT North American Champion. During the April 11th NXT Tapings, he successfully defended the title, defeating Oney Lorcan. Throughout the course of the May month, Cole successfully defended the North American title against challengers including Marcel Barthel, Fabian Aichner, Lio Rush, Ricochet and Otis Dozovic. On June 2, Cole defeated the winner of the Number One Contender Battle Royal Tucker Knight to retain the North American title. Seven days later, Cole retained the title after successfully defeating Marcel Barthel. Through the course of June, Cole successfully retained the title in matches against Zack Gibson, Raul Mendoza, Kassius Ohno, Wolfgang and WALTER. He ended the month with a victory on June 30, defeating EC3 to retain the title.
Cole cites Shawn Michaels as his inspiration. He enjoys scuba diving. He also has a younger brother.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Tag Teams & Stables
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Dreams Fighting Entertainment / World Wrestling League
- Ground Breaking Wrestling
- Battle of Gettysburg (2009)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #115 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2011
- Pro Wrestling World–1
- Real Championship Wrestling
- Ring of Honor
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Rookie of the Year (2010)
- 5 Star Match with Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet & Will Ospreay on September 3, 2016 at PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2016 - Night 2
- 5 Star Match for Ladder Match for NXT North American Championship vs. EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Lars Sullivan on April 7, 2018 at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
- 5.5 Star Match for 2-out of-3 Falls Match for NXT Championship vs. Johnny Gargano on April 5, 2019 at NXT TakeOver: New York
- 5.25 Star Match for NXT Championship match vs. Johnny Gargano on June 1, 2019 at NXT TakeOver: XXV