Adam Cole has done nearly everything a wrestler could do outside of WWE.
He won the Ring of Honor world championship when he was only 24 years old, has earned the wrestling badge of merit by working in Japan and is now one of the front men for the most popular faction in wrestling today, The Bullet Club.
He was even at the top of Cody Rhodes' wish list once he left WWE to become an independent wrestler.
Since Cole is only 27, one could make the case that he is just entering his prime physically and mentally. Cole will be putting his peak ability on display when he takes part in the latest round of television tapings for Ring of Honor at the 2300 Arena, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday.
But Cole was recently pinned down not by an opponent in the ring, but by an illness.
Back in early June, Cole was preparing for a busy weekend for Ring of Honor, as the promotion was running three events. Before he left for the shows, Cole felt a lot of congestion, but chalked it up to his allergies flaring up because of the change in seasons. Other than the congestion, Cole felt fine.
When he returned home, Cole came down with a severe fever, which led him to sleep more than 30 hours over two days in an effort to recuperate.
When he finally woke up from his extended slumber, Cole said he felt fine at first, but pretty soon, the fever returned. While taking a shower, he noticed mucus beginning to leak from his eyes.
That persuaded Cole to go a hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and learned that it had filled a third of his left lung. He was removed from the ensuing Ring of Honor events.
The illness caused him to lose 15 pounds, quite alarming for someone working in the very image-conscious business of professional wrestling, and sapped his energy.
"Fortunately, because I am a young adult who's an athlete, I was able to bounce back from it pretty quick," Cole said by phone. "Even just now, I'm starting to feel completely normal, I'm able to get back in the gym, I'm able to eat and stuff like that.
"It's crazy," he added about dropping weight. "It just shows how powerful the illness is. I try to look at it as a pro. The con could be that I lost some muscle that I worked years to put on, but the pro is maybe a little extra fat I was looking to trim up is gone now."
Cole didn't have any time to work his way back into ring shape away from the spotlight, as his first match after the illness was live on pay-per-view at Ring of Honor's Best in the World back on June 24.
Cole took part in a six-man tag team match alongside his Bullet Club running mates, The Young Bucks, meaning he didn't have to carry the bulk of the workload.
"There are always nerves there anytime you perform for Ring of Honor and when it's on pay-per-view, but there were a little extra nerves there because, once again, coming back from a very serious illness I'm thinking, 'Oh, man. I hope I perform. I hope it goes well,' but fortunately teaming up with The Young Bucks is like a walk in the park for me."
The illness was a lesson learned for Cole, as it helped him appreciate something as simple as being healthy.
But enjoying the simple things is nothing new for Cole, as it is part of his humble upbringing in Lancaster. The town's population was just shy of 60,000 people as of the 2013 census, but Cole remains one of them to this day.
"Most of my family lives here," he said. "When I'm home from the road I get to see them and hang out with them. It's a cool little combo. You get some city stuff going on, but for the most part, it's a very quiet and small little town. It's a cool place to kind of unwind."
The humility Cole learned as a child remained with him as he began his professional wrestling career at the Combat Zone Wrestling school. Cole's approach to learning was as simple as Lancaster: Keep his mouth shut and his eyes and ears open.
Cole's approach helped him get attention rapidly. It was a lot to handle for Cole, as he was tasked with being the top man in multiple promotions just a little more than five years after lacing up his first pair of wrestling boots.
"It's been surreal for me," he said. "I've always had a dream of wanting to be a pro wrestler and wanting to be the best that I could, but for everything to happen as fast it did was something I definitely didn't expect.
Because his success happened so fast, Cole said he didn't take time to truly appreciate what he was doing. As time has passed, and Cole has had time to mature and grow within wrestling, that has changed.
"I didn't even appreciate it because I was so stressed out making sure that the runs I were having were good and I was getting better and I was improving," he said. "Now I can look back on it and really appreciate it."
His ambition, though, remains as strong as ever. Now, Cole's goal is to regain the Ring of Honor world title and to expand his reach overseas to Japan as a regular for New Japan Pro Wrestling.