The formula for WWE's NXT brand is fairly simple. As a feeder system for the WWE main roster, it means that top-end talent are constantly leaving with newer talent and mid card characters expected to play a larger role, filling the shoes of those who leave. It's a system that, to date, has worked quite well, but it's not easy for everyone. A few wrestlers know the pressure that comes with being elevated and having to carry the NXT brand when other wrestlers depart. NXT Superstar Adam Cole is currently one of those people and he's noted the scenario comes with major pressure.
Currently, Cole is being asked to be a major player for NXT and he's being asked to do so after one of the biggest exoduses of talents from the roster in quite some time. WWE has called up names like Andrade "Cien" Almas, Drew McIntyre, Ember Moon, SAnitY, The Authors of Pain and others to the main roster. Cole is now one of NXT's biggest names and as such, he's partly responsible for making sure NXT stays as popular as ever.
In an effort to describe that feeling, Cole answered some questions from Sam Roberts on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast and discussed how much pressure it is being asked to carry the roster. Coming from an independent background and being wildly popular on the indie scene, Cole knows what it means to be a brand in wrestling. Still, today, he's recognized far more often than he ever used to be as a member of NXT's roster.
Cole said, "It's definitely a lot more since starting with NXT. Even post-Royal Rumble definitely more often that people come up to me asking to take a picture with me and wanting an autograph. It just shows the scale at how many people do watch WWE." With that comes a ton of pressure.
He added, "There absolutely is that pressure. Any time guys move to Raw and SmackDown, I think that is what has kept NXT so relevant and has kept the fans so invested because they are now conditioned that whoever leaves or comes in, NXT, as a product, is going to give really exciting sports entertainment every time... it does put pressure on guys like me, Aleister [Black], Bobby [Fish] and Kyle [O'Reilly], and everyone else involved in NXT now."
But, Cole says it's a pressure he and his fellow NXT Superstars don't mind. He explained, "I think that is when guys are at their best, when you put pressure and have something to work towards and have something to compare yourself to, or try to best them, it really does make you better."
Cole will be a major player in NXT over the course of 2018 and his group The Undisputed Era one of NXT's most popular factions. When he and his fellow running mates get called up, it will be the responsibility of the next group of NXT stars to keep the momentum going.