Take a look back at Cole's reaction to his loss of the TV title at the 11th Anniversary Show. His performance was overshadowed by the overplayed hysteria of Matt Hardy and the celebration of new champ Matt Taven (the latter of which is mostly forgivable) but there's a subtle hint of annoyance there. It would be present, to a far greater degree, after Taven pinned him again at Supercard of Honor VII in New York. This is not the reaction of a man who puts sportsmanship first.
On the April 13th TV show Cole assured Jay Briscoe that he would defeat him for the ROH world championship at Border Wars. The two went nose-to-nose before Cole left the ring and walked backstage. It was the performance if a man with a burgeoning heel attitude.
Is this man turning to the dark side?
What Cole does at Border Wars on 4th May will tell us where his character is heading. It's possible we'll see him resort to bending the rules himself. That would be out of character and a clear indication of a bad guy turn. More likely is that SCUM will interfere behind the referee's back and Cole will do the dishonourable thing and try to win the belt as Briscoe's trying to recover.
I don't think ‘The Panama City Playboy’ is going to beat Jay for the title. Partly because it will be the Briscoe brother's first defence and nobody's ever lost the ROH title on their first defence. A bigger reason is that a loss to Briscoe, after being so sure he'd win, would be the ideal method of tipping Cole over the edge and making him a bad guy.
A heel turn would be a good thing for Adam Cole. While I don't think he's stale as a fan favourite I do think the change of character would provide him with a timely refresh and open up a new direction for him. Just as importantly it would create a range of new matches. It would also allow him to wrestle a more aggressive ring style. That could benefit him long term: traditionally ROH headliners are hard-hitting more than high-flying.
If Cole goes bad I won't be complaining.