Adam Cole Talks Tonight's ROH PPV, Rivalry With TNA, WWE Tryout, Punk, Daniel Bryan, Next Big Star

I spoke with ROH World Champion Adam Cole, who will defend his title against Michael Elgin at tonight's ROH's Best In The World pay-per-view. We will have live coverage of the pay-per-view this evening. Here is the full interview.

Wrestling INC: Have you always been a wrestling fan?

Adam Cole: My whole life. I grew up when the Attitude Era started. It wasn't just the WWE at that time, but ECW being risque. My parents weren't a fan of me watching wrestling in the early stages. I started taking karate lessons when I was 9-years-old and my instructor was someone I looked up to and respected, so I would get their early everyday and stay late. One day, I got there early and he was watching a tape of the Monday Night RAW from the night before where it was Kane and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin putting Paul Bearer in a sewer. I remember him looking at me and asking if I was a wrestling fan. I said yea, but in reality I had never watched it before. I just wanted to fit in with him so bad. He said if I get written permission from my parents, he would let me borrow a copy of WrestleMania 15 from Philadelphia. I begged my mom and I guess since this instructor was teaching honor, discipline, and respect to all these young kids that maybe pro wrestling wasn't that bad. I borrowed the tape and saw Steve Austin vs. The Rock and the rest is history. I was a fan for life.

Wrestling INC: When did you think this was something you could do?

Cole: Ironically enough, two year later at WrestleMania 17 with Austin–Rock II. I'll never forget when Austin came out that night. It was the first time I ever got goosebumps. I never got that before. I'll never forget 68,000 people losing their minds when Steve Austin came out. I still get goosebumps when I talk about it. At that moment, I knew I needed to somehow be involved in wrestling.

Wrestling INC: You started for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) and they're known for their ultraviolent style. Was your family nervous about the choice to go with that company?

Cole: For sure. I remember my debut was at the Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Show and he was a wrestler that passed away and was known for his ladder matches in CZW. My mother was at the event and knew I was the first match. She wasn't aware about the ceremony that goes on before the show. So she got there and sees this giant ladder in the ring. She freaked out thinking her 18-year-old boy is going through this crazy ladder match. It was just for the ceremony. I explained early to CZW's DJ Hyde and John Dahmer that as much as I respected the guys that competed in death matches, I had no interest in being that type of wrestler. I was never put in any scenario where I was forced or pressured to be in a death match. I was always treated and booked as a wrestler, so I never had to worry.

Wrestling INC: CZW does have good technical wrestling on their shows. Do you feel that the violent style overshadows the wrestling on those shows?

Cole: Yea, I think it certainly can. The violence is so spectacular and in many cases CZW brings to the table what not many wrestling organizations in the United States bring in ultraviolent death match wrestling. You watch a show with great technical wrestling, high flyers, or hard hitters but then you see guys going through light tubes, glass, and thumbtacks. Whether you're a casual or die hard fan, the image that will be in your brain leaving that show will be the death match because it's so spectacular. Even though I haven't been in CZW for some time, I always keep up to date on what they're doing because that's my home promotion. Now, they've come up with good well-rounded shows with great comedy, high flying wrestlers, technical wrestlers, and the death matches. It's a well-rounded company.

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Jesse Collings contributed to this article. Follow Raj Giri on Twitter at @RajGiri_303. Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.

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