FTR was on the Jim Cornette Experience as both Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (along with Cornette himself) had plenty to say on what will indeed be a historic podcast episode for pro wrestling fans.
Before the major interview happened with Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler of FTR, Jim Cornette and co-host Brian Last announced that in collaboration with the company that helps the show acquire sponsors, they want to join in solidarity by observing 8:46 of silence in remembrance of George Floyd and The Black Lives Matter Movement.
“I don’t want to do anything symbolic and I don’t want to do anything that people will fast forward through because if anything ought to have some attention and ought to be given a bit of thought it’s what’s going on we’ve just been talking about and what’s been going on in the whole country. So yes this is audio and yes this is radio. We’re going to observe the eight minutes and forty six seconds of silence. Whether it’s 8:46 because that’s the time that George Floyd was held down and murdered or maybe whether it’s a minute and six seconds for each one of the bullets that killed Breonna Taylor here in Louisville. You can do your own math, but we’re going to take 8:46 of silence here on this program and I want to ask everybody, all the listeners, all the people who care about what’s going on, don’t just look at this as symbolic and then fast forward through it to the program. Listen to it. Listen to the silence and use the 8:46, the break in this program to educate yourself, like George Floyd’s brother said. To figure out what you can do, who you can vote for, who you can talk to. Talk a friend into it. Eight minutes read up on it. Are you registered to vote? Can you do something by mail in your state?”
Cornette also implores listeners to use the silence to read up from a credited news source (citing NBC, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times) rather than giving credence to someone’s random Facebook post.
“Read up on these cases and get pissed and sit there and stew. Sit there for 8:46 reading about how these people are getting away with this shit and stew about it and get mad about it and determine, promise yourself that you’ll do something about it when it’s November or when it’s a primary or when it’s a local election or when you get the opportunity, that’s what we’d like you to do today for the next 8:46, get mad and promise yourself you’re going to do something about it and we’ll be back later with the program.”
About halfway through the episode is when the FTR interview begins and both Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler share in their excitement for finally being on Cornette’s show, unbridled and unscripted.
“It is a dream come true,” states Harwood.
“Jim, Brian thanks for having us on. This is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile without having the option of doing it so it’s good to actually be on for once,” Wheeler added.
Cornette starts off by asking the two of how they became the top at the tag team wrestling game and both cite their passion and appreciation for the history of the sport.
“I think it’s just from the region we came out of” Dax said as they both grew up in North Carolina and loving tag team wrestling “I think above all though, me and Cash, we’re not selfish, we’ve never been selfish and we’ve watched that and learned that from guys like Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey and Arn Anderson and especially Flair. Those guys were completely unselfish and I think that’s the key to our success so far.”
Wheeler does make note that the art of tag team wrestling isn’t something that came easy to them, but something that they’ve put a lot of effort into perfecting and refining. “We’ve paid attention to the smaller details so much to the extent that a lot of the other teams aren’t willing to do, that it’s kind of separated us from the pack. I think it’s just that, it’s the attention to detail, it’s the respect for the things that have happened and for the people that have came before us and given us this opportunity and we don’t want to lose the work that they’ve put in. We don’t want to bastardize the work the work they’ve put in just for selfish reasons or to look cool to people I’ll never meet on the Internet.”
Jim puts the two over for having that talent to have that strong attention to detail, something he doesn’t see in a lot of tag teams.
On being in NXT:
“In NXT, if you wanted it, they gave you the opportunity to work and to find yourself and they gave you the opportunity to work and to find yourself and they gave you the opportunity to work with other guys too and they gave you the time. It happened so many times where me and Cash, we were on the road and we’d get a producer to come to us and he’d say, ‘Hey, ‘so and so’ they don’t feel like going 20 minutes, would you guys mind going 30 minutes?’ (Cornette laughs) “I’m not kidding, it happened all the time. We’d say ‘fuck it’ give us the time.”
“The beauty of that was we’d got to work with guys like American Alpha who didn’t want to just rest on what they knew. They wanted to change the match-up every night just like we did. I remember Matt Bloom come to us and he shook our hands, all four of us, and he said, ‘It’s so hard for me to write the report as this is going on because I just want to keep watching the match cause I have no idea where you guys are going. Thank you so much for working so hard and for changing it up and even taht little pat on the back was so different than our later experience with the WWE that you just wanted to work hard for yourself but for your coaches too.”
“Working with Gable and Jordan, it’s like for instance, those guys are machines. They’re absolute studs. Both of them are high-level amateur wrestlers. Jordan should’ve been NCAA champ, Gable was an Olympian, but they just don’t rest on that.”
On Triple H telling them that they were granted their release but then how they got the message later that they weren’t:
“It was Mark Carrano that relayed the message and he said that Hunter wants to speak with us and so we talked with Hunter and we had a great conversation with him, but you know -”
“Just not a great release! What was his mind-change about?” Jim asked.
“He told us that he really believed that we have something to contribute to the team and that he didn’t want to let us go because of the talent that we had and the opportunity that they could provide for us and there’s nothing we could do. We could’ve sat at home like a lot of talent did. A lot of other talent, especially around taht time, they’d get upset, never did they ask for their release, but they would get upset and they would say, ‘I’m not coming into work,’ and they wouldn’t come into work.”
“It’s good that’s an option now in today’s day and age. That that’s suddenly an option!” Cornette said.
“Yeah and the crazy thing is they got paid more for sitting at home than me and Cash did for working, but needless to say-”
“I’ve been there too! I’ve been there too!” Cornette added.
“But we told Hunter, ‘Look, we’re men of our word. We always have been. We’ve signed a contract for three years and we’re not just going to up and leave. We’re going to honor our contract and if you guys aren’t going to let us leave, we’re going to stay and we’re still going to work harder than anybody else in the company.”
On Vince McMahon forgetting that the two could cut a promo:
“That was the biggest misconception I think is that they just thought that we were pro wrestlers and that we couldn’t talk and I have no problem telling you right now that we could talk better than the majority of the roster if we’d get the chance, especially if we have something to sink our teeth into and like an angle to go with, but I think he just forgot.”
“I am so confident in my speaking abilities of what we can do and how we could sell a match and how we could sell a PPV. For two years, we had this thing, it was the NXT promo tournament. It was all the NXT guys, every single one of them.” All the top guys had a tournament and I won that promo tournament and that’s why I don’t get why Vince never let us speak, he never let us talk and I think it’s because, I mean to you maybe we don’t have a southern accent but to him he hears the twang and he’s like, ‘Oh, oh damn. That’s disgusting. These guys have got to fuck their cousins, no doubt!'”
On The Young Bucks:
Cornette then brings up how the FTR letters came about and runs down The Young Bucks while doing it.
“These two little pipsqueaks, I’m talking about Road Warrior Buck and Balding Buck, otherwise known as The Young Bucks, they started this whole FTR thing as ‘Fuck The Revival’ without your knowledge or consent or getting together with you guys like they say I try to do with them, saying ‘Oh, he wants to work with us.’ Well they were trying to latch off of you guys’ popularity and success and you didn’t know anything about it and from what I understand you didn’t really appreciate either.”
“Oh, you’ve heard of those guys before? I didn’t know you know of who they were?” Dax joked.
“I’ve had a passing relationship with them. Often I’ve feel like there’s something passed with one of my bowel movements every once and awhile, but go ahead.”
“So with those guys, I think Cash feels the same way, but with thsoe I think maybe there was some kind of professional jealousy only because for so long, all the Internet fans and Dave Meltzer, they always gave these guys rave reviews. ‘They’re the greatest tag team in the world! There’s nobody that comes close to them! They’re the best!’ And then all of a sudden here comes two 5’10” North Carolina guys, who by the way can fight in real life and we’ve gotten in multiple fights in real life and gotten in multiple trouble with cops because of fighting, but needless to say, here comes two 5’10” North Carolina guys and the wrestling world is kind of like, ‘Wait a second, that’s how tag team wrestling is supposed to be done.”
“Circ-de-bull-she, Circ-de-bull-she in a wrestling ring is not what the whole concept is about, yes.” Cornette butts in.
“Yeah, yeah. You put it a lot more eloquently than I do, maybe because you hate them a little more, but -”
“Well feel free to use it, I don’t know now,” Cornette says, referring to the hatred. “We talked off-air .I don’t know that I can actually say, I don’t really have anything personal against them. I’m just offended at the concept of them but I think I think you guys have more personal shit against them.”
“Right, exactly. That’s the thing. We have no professional qualms with them or jealousy towards them but it did bother us that in 2016 that they never came to us and asked, ‘Hey is this okay if we do this?’ They just out of the blue started saying it,” said Dax.
“Well I think that’s because when you say it on an Internet show without the consent of the person there is no fear of the retaliation. You don’t have to worry about getting punched in the mouth by the person you’re saying it about,” said Cash.
Cornette then said, “They didn’t think that they were ever going to have to coexist and occupy the same place as you guys because they knew they were never going to get signed by the WWE and also they’d be so controlled that they couldn’t say boo to a goose if they did and I’m just wondering as of late when they’ve become these big vice presidents if they’ve realized, ‘Oh shit, we have opened ourselves up, because now we started running our mouth and we started plugging a match that we thought was never going to happen, but as they’ve seen over the last few weeks at least, this thing could happen.”
“I think, honestly, I think that they think in their minds that, ‘Oh these guys will take it as a work. They won’t get upset with us.’ That’s not the case.” Said Dax. “Before I’m a professional wrestler, before I’m a bad guy, before I’m any of this bullshit, I’m a man, you know? Both me and Cash, we’re men. I have a family I have to provide for and I don’t know if this is my North Carolina roots or whatever, but it doesn’t sit very well with me when out of nowhere, you say some things without fear of a receipt coming. So that’s the thing I think that they just believe in their indie-centric mind that, ‘Oh these guys are just going to work. They’re going to work with us,’ but I still harbor some pretty heavy feelings towards those guys for the things that we heard.”
Cornette then cuts a promo himself saying that there’s a shot The Bucks are gonna get more than they bargain for because of those words.
“And some people out there are gonna go, ‘Well, they’re not going to commit felonious assault or aggravated mayhem or whatever (by the way those are actual charges, folks. I can testify to that as I’m sure as you guys can also), but at the same time, here’s what they’re used to: they’re used to their little romper room, play-set mindset of they’re play friends. They’re kids that hang out and play together and a lot of them have been friends since they were in school that are now signed to this wrestling company and they think it’s just always that way and the little indie shows where everybody gets the chance to do their own gymnastics and help the other guy on the trampoline and all that stuff. You guys are coming from a completely different mindset of wrestling. Now I’m sure to quote an expression, ‘You can do it the easy way or the hard way,’ but do they actually honest to God think that you guys are going to go do this ‘Circ-de-bull-she’ bullshit flippy stuff around and/or get a football line drawn on you by a line marker up from your crotch to your nose or you’re gonna change clothes in the ice machine? Do you think they honestly think that you’re going to do any of that shit and there might not be one of those ‘Ernie Ladd’ moments where you just *pop* slow the motherfucker down, hold him in the corner and tell them, ‘Do this this way or nobody’s gonna get hurt?'”
“I’m not sure which one of those thoughts actually crossed their mind. They probably think that we can all laugh it off and be ‘buddy buddy’ but it’s not going to be just easy for me to just kind of let it roll off my back like a duck in the water. No I got some hard feelings about it still that I’d love to deal with, face-to-face,” said Cash.
Cornette then goes on to air his critiques of the AEW tag division as whole and the “flippy” mindset that most of the roster has with it.
“Everybody’s been talking about you and The Bucks, you and The Bucks, for quite some time now, but at the same time, their tag team roster and I’ve talked to Brian about this, they’ve got athletes there that could be put in positions where they could be proper tag teams and legitimate tag teams and tag teams could be pushed there, but the problem is a lot of those guys are in the same mindset and they’re out there doing their, you know, their Fandango dancing and everything and I don’t really see anybody except my old friends Kazarian and Chris Daniels that could stand up to you guys physically if you wanted to impose your will on somebody to get your way. Who’s gonna fuckin’ whip you? Marko ‘Stunted Growth’ and Jungle Boy at a combined weight of 16 and a half pounds? Private Party, I’ve seen that Mark Quen, and he’s an amazing athlete and he’s the kind of guy who I’d love to have in OVW, for a couple of years and you’d have a superstar, but I don’t see a wide variety of people there that can give you guys, actually any competition, a physical challenge, ec-cetera, except The Young Bucks. Point is did you guys get a long-term contract cause once you spend two weeks knocking The Bucks off, what else you got to do? You’re just going to have to sit back and have yourself a cigar.”
On the specific Cody Rhodes comments that really fired FTR up:
Dax adds a note that Cody Rhodes was on a podcast with Sam Roberts and Sam asked him who Cody thought was the best tag team in the world: FTR or The Young Bucks. He heard Cody said “100% I believe it’s The Young Bucks” and adding onto that Cody said that FTR goes and practices their matches for weeks at a time at The WWE Performance Center.
“I pissed me off so much and I’m getting hot right now talking about it because 1) he’s trying to shit on our legacy. I’ve never in 15 years not once have I ever practiced a wrestling match. So with him saying that, I kind of felt like he was trying to tarnish and taint what we had built up and so that’s what really pissed me off is they took it from something that was ‘haha’ funny to making it personal and that’s what bothered me.”
“Cody, better than anybody because of who is father knows that not only that that not true but also that’s an insult,” Cornette remarks. “To people who are in the wrestling business, who take pride in that and consider themselves wrestlers, even in today’s day and age for those of who are like-minded like that to say that you practice your matches. That’s like you’re a dancer do a routine on Broadway.”
“That’s his buddies and to me, when we heard that, we felt that that’s what Nick and Matt thought. They felt the same way. That we just practice our matches and we’re not as good as them. So whether they believe that or not, they got the residual heat from what Cody said and that’s the thing that bothers us.”
On Tony Khan and FTR’s contract status with AEW:
Cornette asks what Dax and Cash is their relationship is with Tony Khan knowing that FTR could embarrass two of his EVPS?
“So we’re negotiating still. We have a short-term almost handshake deal because they want to get this thing done finally so we’re not under any long-term obligation to anybody. That’s a nice little caveat for ya.”
“I tell you what, here’s the one time I wish I was your manager at AEW, guys and I’ll you why because if I found out that you were on that television program and you had not officially put ink on paper and had it notarized by somebody nominated to do so by the government. I would have told you instead of fucking around with The Butcher, The Baker and Candlestick Maker and walked off…”
“I can see these guys starting to politic to Tony Khan saying, ‘Well now you wanna make sure you keep an eye on them and they might go into business for themselves and we can’t have too much of this wrestling on our wrestling program.”
“They probably will,” says Cash.
“That’s what I’m saying. Do you think you can get away with getting away with it? If you do what you need to do to get over on this guy’s television program? He needs somebody to go in on his television show and get over in spite of all the rest of them. Are you those guys?” asks Cornette.
“Yeah, absolutely, but first and foremost, Tony has been great to us,” says Dax. “He has trusted us and he has got trust in us, full trust which is probably why he’s allowing us to appear on these handshake deals and me and Cash you know, we are men of our word as we said earlier, but he’s been great to us and he’s a huge fan of the wrestling business and more importantly at least to us and our pocket books, he’s a huge fan of ours because he loved the Mid South stuff, but I think he really believes that with myself and Cash, he really believes that we are the guys who can get over during the pandemic, he wants us to get this match with The Bucks that everyone has been dreaming about for years and years and years that he wants to be the first guy to get that match.”
Cash then says “We’ve been very transparent with them that we’re willing to work with these guys, but there’s a very real possibility that it’s not going to be pretty and we’re not going respond well to some of the things they said before. He knows this…”
Cornette says how much the heat between the two teams could be a benefit for Tony Khan and his company.
“It’s going to better for his business even if you have to slap a few people, it’s going to be better for his business than a bunch of guys jacking off and playing with their high school friends in the previous segment and I think that’s what he’s got an opportunity here and I think you guys are going to give him something if he’s smart enough to see it. And I sincerely hope, actually I don’t, I hope The Young Bucks don’t agree with that too, I hope The Young Bucks get frisky with ya. I really do. I can’t wait to see that.”
“It might be the first fight they’ve ever had.” Dax said.
“It might be the last one too! Jerry Lawler said this one, Jerry Lawler said one time in 1978, said, ‘When you and me get into a fight there’s going to be two things hit: me hit you and you hit the floor,” Cornette said.
“I think Tony is very aware of those things you said, I think he knows and I think he welcomes it. He seems very excited about the possibility that things could get real ugly real quick and if he’s willing to do these deals that he’s kind of put in place right now, to me that’s the green light to do whatever we need to do,” added Cash.
“We’re not against signing with Tony. I mean that’s a huge possibility but there’s so much stuff we want to do in wrestling and so many guys we want to test our skills against around the world. So we haven’t shut out the idea of signing with Tony, but I don’t think he’d be too happy with us if we had signed a contract and then came on your show, though,” said Dax.
“I think he’s going to get you signed cause he knows they desperately needs you guys. They need you guys like a fuckin’ sick man needs penicillin,” Cornette said and then adds they should whip The Young Bucks in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“The only thing that better is if you were there with us,” said Dax.
“Well, I can get to Little Rock. It’s a decent drive. I can get there.”
“Well we need you riding around with us,” said Cash.
“Shotgun with us,” adds Dax.
“That’s the thing, if you tell Tony Khan, ‘Okay, Cornette will come and be in our corner and dress your show up as long as it’s close as Little Rock and Connie comes with it,’ but I’ll do anything between Little Rock and Pittsburgh as long as you get both those teams in one day and prove your dominance and then we can start trying to find some tag teams around the world to sign to give you guys a good fight.”
“You just broke the Internet up, you know that,” said Cash.
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
You can listen to the full episode below: