On Wednesday night’s AEW Dynamite, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler answered one of the hottest questions in pro wrestling: Will FTR head back to WWE or continue to build the foundation of AEW? To the current AEW tag team champions, the answer was never in question as they let the storyline build to its conclusion.
“AEW is home, this is where we want to cement our legacy, and I think this is going to be our definitive run right here,” Wheeler tells Uproxx Sports.
Harwood and Wheeler feel a sense of unfinished business in WWE, as they believe they didn’t get to do what they’re capable of during their time with the promotion from 2014-20. Harwood says they’ve also been told from higher ups within WWE that the promotion knew they’d made a mistake by releasing FTR.
Despite a 63-day first tag title reign in AEW that Harwood says “wasn’t too memorable,” both agree that the freedom they’ve experienced since joining the promotion is something they can’t imagine giving up again after simultaneously holding the Ring of Honor, AAA, and IWGP tag titles for much of last year.
“To be able to go to Japan and do what we’ve done, to go to Mexico and do what we’ve done, to go work for these independents and do stuff with Bret (Hart), to do stuff that we’ve had on our bucket list, that from 2014 to 2020 was not even possible. There’s so much more we can do and we wanted to do,” Wheeler says. “There’s more to wrestling than one company. I love getting to go in front of 2,000 people, 20,000 people, whatever it is, as long as they care and they love what we do. It’s the passion that these fans bring to us that really helped elevate us to where we are now. So it’s hard to say bye.”
Harwood says the “uncertainty” of Vince McMahon’s potential return to WWE “helped,” although he says that they already decided their plans before the high-profile sale to Endeavor that confirmed that McMahon would have a role with the company again. Their relationship with AEW CEO Tony Khan also played into their thought process with sticking around.
“I think that Tony gets Dax and Cash, FTR, better than Vince,” Harwood says. “I think he understands that we are average, everyday human beings that just caught on with the fans because they can relate to us, because we’re either family men or just regular human beings. We just enjoy physicality and we enjoy fighting, and I think that they can live their lives through us. (Vince has) a business track record that proves that he is obviously very intelligent to the business, but I think he thinks he knows what the Revival was better than we did. That’s why he came up with all those cartoon costumes he gave us. In contrast, Tony understands that no one knows who we are better than us, and no one can display our characters or show our characteristics better than we can.”
Wheeler continues, “The conversations we have with Tony, the relationship we have with Tony compared to [Triple H] or Vince, we get along well with both those guys over there. Vince, to our faces anyway, was always very respectful, respected our work. Same with Hunter. But with Tony, I feel like we can have open, honest discussions with him about how we feel, where we think we need to change something or pivot. And I know that he’s receptive to it.”
While FTR knows best what their character presentation is, they understand that Khan is their boss and that, due to the number of things he needs to consider, they “should do exactly what he says.” But when it came to deciding what their future would hold, FTR put their happiness first.
“I’m very glad and very fortunate that we made the decision to stay here in AEW. My family is very happy and very supportive of that because now I get to be home and go to Finley’s soccer games and dance practice and gymnastic meets and things like that,” Harwood says. “And overall, in the next few years, FTR will be able to continue to cement our legacy and hopefully, and I say this with humility, hopefully go down as at least one of the greatest tag teams of all time.”
Wednesday night’s moment for FTR was made that much sweeter with the announcement that AEW will host All In on August 27 from the iconic Wembley Stadium, the same venue their hero Bret Hart wrestled British Bulldog at the historic WWE SummerSlam 1992 event — Harwood says he’s watched the match “a hundred times.”
“Wembley Stadium is huge for AEW,” Wheeler continues. “AEW has to be ambitious right now. We’ve done so much as a company over the past three years that everybody said we couldn’t do. When Tony said we’re going to sell 20,000 (tickets at Arthur Ashe Stadium), that seemed ridiculous to people at the time. Everybody wants to keep moving the goalposts. Everybody wants to keep saying you can’t do this. I love that we’re going to Wembley because even if it’s not completely to the brim full, 50-, 60-, 70,000, whatever it ends up being, that’s huge for this company. As a company that’s only a couple years into its existence. You can’t play it safe all the time. The roster right now is so deep, why not go for it?”
There have been reports of 25,000 pre-sale sign-ups over the first 24 hours, and FTR has eyes on doubling that number with a specific dream match in mind.
“CM Punk and FTR versus the Elite,” Harwood says. “That’s gotta be it, right? If you want to sell 50,000 tickets and take this company to the next level, that’s it, that’s me dreaming. That’s the dream match. That six-man tag in Wembley Stadium could help launch AEW to the next level.”
Whether or not that match happens remains to be seen. In the meantime, FTR eyes future showdowns with Chris Bey and Ace Austin, a rematch with Aussie Open, and bringing fans along their journey in engaging contests that keep them on the edge of their seats.