Jake Atlas says he's feeling good post-surgery, reflects on NXT run, praises Adam Cole

Originally published at Jake Atlas says he's feeling good post-surgery, reflects on WWE NXT run

Jake Atlas provides an update on how he’s feeling post-surgery.

After opting to take a break from pro wrestling due to personal matters, Jake Atlas made his return to in-ring competition for All Elite Wrestling in what turned out to be a tryout match. He was signed to the company shortly after his appearance on Dark: Elevation.

Atlas made his AEW TV debut on January 5th and he went one-on-one with Adam Cole which was being taped for Rampage. During the match, Atlas suffered a torn ACL and underwent surgery in February. Atlas was the featured guest on Highspots Wrestling Network’s most recent ‘Sign It Live’ and shared that he’s feeling good post-surgery.

He recapped how the injury occurred. Atlas said he was initially trying to be optimistic about it, but when he watched it back on TV, he knew something was off.

Yeah, I mean five weeks removed and I’m doing pretty good.

I had just had a tryout match with them on the Dark: Elevation show right before Rampage that week. So I was in Jersey to wrestle Adam Cole and wrestled him early January. Right after the Dynamite show, it was a Rampage taping. It was gonna be my first — that was gonna be my nationally televised AEW debut and unfortunately, somewhere towards the end of the match, just my mechanics weren’t there and I actually blew my knee out inward or caved in and tore my ACL. I didn’t know it that night. I didn’t know until probably a couple days after when I flew home but definitely couldn’t walk. The athletic trainers were taking a look at me and just… they were kind of hopeful and I was trying to be positive as well but when the match aired and I saw it for myself, I was like, okay, this is something that may be a little bit off and then got the MRI done and unfortunately, it was a torn ACL. So that is quite a bit of recovery time as a lot of people know. It’s like nine months. I’m trying my best to see if I can work, make a miracle happen.

As the virtual signing went on, Atlas began to discuss his time in NXT. He joined the company in the fall of 2019 and was released in August 2021. He spoke about his NXT TV debut against Dexter Lumis on 4/1/20. Although it was to spotlight Lumis, he appreciated that his arrival was being hyped as well.

After that match, Atlas was told by Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque and the leader NXT writer at the time that they’ve found their next big babyface in Jake.

I just remember getting an email saying, ‘Hey, you’re debuting on TV,’ and like, it was just so cool that they treated it — it was meant for him . They started a program with him, but like the social media accounts and everything were just like, yeah, we have two debuts. Like really treated it like I was being introduced as well. But yeah, and he was awesome to work with and I remember — the one thing — it’s funny in retrospect. The one thing I remember from that match is just coming back from the curtain and the lead writer at the time and Triple H just being like, ‘We have our next big babyface,’ talking to me once I got down. Unfortunately, nothing came out of that but it was nice to hear that after the match. It was really reassuring that I did a good job but Dexter’s a good guy so…

When Atlas was able to share the ring with KUSHIDA as a part of the Interim Cruiserweight Title tournament, he felt that-that was a point when he wrestled a ‘Jake Atlas’ match in WWE. Although the match was short, Jake felt like he gained his confidence back coming out of it and he spoke highly of KUSHIDA for his role in that.

I wrestled him a couple times there during the — when they had the Interim Cruiserweight Championship tournament. I remember that match with him being like the first match where like I had confidence in myself again. I’ve been very open and spoken openly about how what a mental struggle being at the Performance Center was and being at WWE was for me and that match was like — I just remember coming out of the curtain and being like, ‘I just wrestled a Jake Atlas match. I just wrestled something that I would wrestle on the indies or at PWG’ and obviously with KUSHIDA who’s been doing it forever and he wanted to have a great match and the language barrier wasn’t really there.

I remember him being like, ‘That was a lot of fun.’ It was super short. It was like a sprint, because you know how WWE is and their time cuts but, I mean even in that short amount of time, he gave me a lot of confidence and then we did a Triple Threat match also with Drake Maverick, and KUSHIDA, he’s just such a great team player. I enjoyed working with him and I hope maybe sometime in the future we get to do it again. But he’s doing awesome so…

The conversation circled back around to Adam Cole and the match Jake had with him. In Jake’s opinion, Adam Cole is the best wrestler in the world and he links that to fellow talents in the back automatically assuming that when someone is facing Cole, it’ll go smoothly. Atlas described Cole as a “stand-up guy” and adds that Cole backs up everything he says.

No, we never wrestled each other but, very, very one of the most stand-up guys I’ve ever met. Obviously, he was around at the Performance Center where we would train and stuff. But, I am happy that my first TV match was against him. What a great way to be like, I don’t know, Jake Atlas is a good talent or a great talent and we’re gonna put him up against Adam Cole because he can and he can go and he can do that. It was a lot of freaking pressure because I… I think Adam — I don’t know. I think Adam —

Funny you say that because almost everyone — when I found out about the match and backstage, everyone would be like, ‘Who you wrestling today?’ ‘Oh, Adam Cole.’ ‘Oh!’ They all know. If it’s a bad match, that’s on you. It’s not on him. But that’s a lot of pressure because it’s like oh my God. But he was — I enjoyed it and he’s a stand-up guy. I have nothing — I think he’s, in my opinion, probably the best wrestler in the world right now. That is a huge statement but I think he’s — he did a lot of great stuff in NXT and he’s gotten himself over and he’s — I mean he’s phenomenal. I don’t… what’s the saying? There’s a saying that just… he backs up whatever he says.

There is no timetable for Atlas’ return to in-ring competition, but he said he’s hoping to pull a miracle and come back earlier than expected all while being completely healthy. Jake is 27 years of age and has been wrestling since 2016.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Highspots Wrestling Network with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.