Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows spoke about their talks with AEW prior to re-signing with WWE on the latest episode of their Talk’N’Shop show. Highlights, including how Triple H offered them big money to stay, them regretting re-signing, and how some in AEW were upset with them, below.
How Triple H guaranteed them financial deals that would set them up for life:
Gallows: This is jumping from WWE, the mecha, to something that we’re not sure if it’s gonna happen or not. So, there’s excitement there, but we’re professional wrestlers by trade for a long time now. And, over both of our careers, you’ve heard of the next big thing coming. This guy’s got big money. They’re gonna be on TV here. This is gonna be the next alternative. And nine times out of ten it never comes to fruition. Not that we didn’t trust our friends, we had all the faith in the world in them, but you’re dealing with big corporations and business and millions, if not a billion dollars, and all of this stuff. So … is this really gonna happen? Is this really a viable option? If it doesn’t happen, yes, we’re television American TV famous now. How much is New Japan going to pay? Is it going to be comparable to these awesome pay days we’ve been getting? And now you’re stacking up this downside guarantee, which in the past was so low. And you had to work to make more. I mean … is it gonna measure up? Is there gonna be enough money there? When Triple H is telling you, ‘I want this to be the deal that sets you up for the rest of your life.’ And you’re going, ‘F*ck, man. We’re gonna make a few million dollars over a few years here, it’s a hard thing to dance around.
Says they knew AEW would be successful:
Anderson: We knew that AEW would be successful. We knew they would pop off. We just succumbed to the amount of money and promises, kept or unkept … but we signed because of the thought that this was going to be our last contract and we were ready to ride it out.
What would have happened on their Dynamite debut and it being one of their biggest regrets:
Machine Gun music is gonna hit. I’m gonna come out. Gallows comes from behind. We walk to the ring. We too sweet The Young Bucks and Kenny. Turn around, everyone’s happy, and then we beat the f*ck out of them,” he said while detailing the pitch. “It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life that that didn’t f*cking happen. It kills me. Badly.
On their relationship with the Young Bucks after re-signing with WWE despite telling them they were coming to AEW:
I would say for a good six months we told the Bucks and Kenny we’re coming. We’re f*cking coming. No matter what. Because we were that ready to go,” Anderson said when asked if their friends in AEW were unhappy with the decision. “There were some hard feelings, I think. Because I think people trusted the Bucks and they told other parties that we were coming, and then we didn’t come and it made them look like they couldn’t close the deal.
Says there was a higher-up name in AEW who was pissed they didn’t sign:
We have other friends in that company, we don’t have to drop a bunch of names. It’s not that kind of an interview, but it’s not hard to figure out. A friend who is in a high power position there and wrestler who was like, ‘what the fuck, guys?’ I think that he’s still a little offended by it and my answer to him, if he ever hears this or reads the transcript, was none of this was ever personal. We appreciated the offer and everything everyone was trying to do for us.
It was clearly just a business decision. We’re 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 five years, especially with ‘you’re gonna be here for the full term’ and there’s plans for you after and all that. You’re stacking millions and millions and millions and millions up against, ultimately a smaller figure. Should we have taken the smaller figure, bet on ourselves and done something really cool again like we were in New Japan? F*CK YES! Is the egg on our face? It’s running down my f*cking face right now, BUT I think a lot of other people in that situation would go back and look at your kids and your wife and go … ‘Alright, honey. How do I say no to them backing a bank truck up to the front of the house and dropping the load in front of the door?!’ That’s a hard answer. It’s hard to even talk about right now, we talk about it a lot privately, we talked about it to death privately. A mistake was made, but there was logic behind it. It wasn’t to be harmful or spiteful or back-door anybody. It was truly, honestly a business decision to do what we thought was best for our families.
Full video is below. (H/T and transcribed by Pro Wrestling Sheet)