As part of the Countdown To F*** Town edition of their Talk N’Shop podcast alongside Rocky Romero, IMPACT Wrestling superstars Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson revealed that they had originally planned to join All Elite Wrestling in 2019 and described how they believe that there was some bad blood due to them not signing at that time.
Karl Anderson addressed the talks stating, “We messaged The Young Bucks, because we heard rumblings of stuff they were doing, we stayed close with them the entire time, but hadn’t heard exactly what they were going to do. We sat with The Bucks and talked to them about what they were going to start, left and went to the house show, how f***ing excited were we, this is 10 months before Dynamite’s debut, they were telling us what we were going to do and it’s not that we didn’t believe them, it was like f***, is this going to happen. As the year went on, we realized that we really wanted to leave, a big part of us, we were nervous about it not going on television. Around July was when Triple H teamed with us in Japan and Hunter was calling us and texting us daily trying to get us to sign a deal, their price kept going up and Hunter would tell us how badly they wanted us.”
Gallows followed that up by stating, “We were dancing for a year, we walked into Carrano’s office a year before we were up and he was like, we’ve got to talk contracts. We went, oh f***, we thought they were going to forget we were signed, because at the time, it was during our rollercoaster ride, we are going to ride this s*** out and get away with it. They were on our a**** and knew we were friends with Kenny and The Bucks and weren’t happy with how we were being used, this was jumping from WWE to something we weren’t sure was going to happen or not. There’s excitement there, but we’re professional wrestlers and over our careers, we’ve heard of the next big thing coming, this guy has big money, this is the next alternative and nine times out of ten, it never comes to fruition, not that we don’t trust our friends, we had all the faith in the world in them, but you’re dealing with big corporations and big business, is this really going to happen. We’re American television famous now, how much is New Japan going to pay, is it comparable to these paydays we’ve been getting. Now, you’re stacking up this downside guarantee, which in the past was so low, is it going to measure up. When Triple H is telling you, I want this to set you up for the rest of your life, you’re going, f*** man, we’re going to make a few million dollars over a few years, it’s a hard thing to dance around, it comes down to being able to say no to somebody who is very charming.”
Anderson then followed that up with the following, “As it got to June, I remember the text from Matt and Nick, they had planned out the entire first debut of Dynamite’s main event, Machine Gun’s music hits, I come out and Gallows comes from behind, we ‘too sweet’ The Young Bucks and Kenny, turn around and then, we beat the f*** out of them, that’s the end of the first night. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life that it didn’t happen, it kills me, we didn’t know if it was going to take off on TNT, but we knew with the guys involved, The Young Bucks, Kenny, Chris Jericho, those are guys that are successful and are not going to fail. We knew AEW would be successful, we just succumbed to the amount of money and promises, kept or unkept by WWE, we signed because of the thought that it was going to be our last contract and we were going to ride it out and wave the WWE flag as high as we could. AEW wasn’t throwing chump change at us, it was a really good contract that still kind of eats at me. IMPACT in 2019 also offered a really great deal, truthfully, more money than some of my friends are making now in the WWE. The Bucks set us up with a contract and said, let’s get you in there with Tony and just talk to him. We flew to Japan, agreed with Hunter and shook his hand.”
Anderson then recalled that there may have been bad blood due to them not coming in saying, “For a good 6 months, we told The Bucks and Kenny we were coming, no matter what, because we were that ready to go. This is where it bothers me a lot that we didn’t bet on ourselves and allow ourselves to leave, because we knew that we should have, that’s why I’m so glad with FTR getting out on their own terms and being able to do what they did. There were some hard feelings, because people trusted The Bucks and they told other parties that we were coming and we didn’t come and it made them look like they couldn’t close the deal.”
Gallows followed that up with, “There was probably a little heat internally there. We have friends there, a friend who is in a high power position who was like, what the f*** guys. I think he’s still a little offended by it. My answer to him, if he ever hears this, none of this was ever personal, we appreciated the offer and everything they were trying to do. It was clearly a business decision, we were looking at a five-year deal as opposed to a two-year deal with maybe a one-year option. When you start calculating that money and where you’re going to be in 5 years, especially with the you’re going to be here for the full 5 years and there were plans for you after, it’s like, you’re stacking millions and millions against ultimately, the smaller figure. Should we have taken the smaller figure and bet on ourselves and been something really cool again like we were in New Japan, f*** yes, is the egg on our face, it’s running down our face right now, but a lot of people in that situation, when you look at your kids and wife would say, how do I say no to them backing up a bank truck to the front of the house and dropping the load in front of the door. It wasn’t meant to be harmful or spiteful, it was a business decision to do what we thought was best for our families.”
The podcast is available in full at this link.