The Acclaimed have contracts with All Elite Wrestling but that doesn’t mean they are done fighting to reach an even greater level in wrestling.
Anthony Bowens and Max Caster recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard about their origins as a team and their growing chemistry. The Acclaimed started as a team in All Elite Wrestling, but they were individually known in some circles as some of the “best unsigned talent” available. Not only have they shed that label by signing with AEW, but they’ve developed into a formidable team in and out of the ring.
As the duo explained it, it’s one thing to lose that “unsigned” label, but it’s another to get complacent once you have a contract. The Acclaimed continues to focus on becoming bigger stars than they are, and they want to continue proving AEW made the right decision in signing them as they continue their push towards greatness.
Caster: “Okay, the label’s gone. Now we’re signed talent. But how do we become the best signed talent? How do we become signed for more money? How do we become signed for more years? How do we become bigger stars than the two hours a week on TNT or the couple hours a week on Dark? That I think is the goal, in general. We both are incredible wrestlers and we both are incredible in what we do outside of wrestling. Bowens being an actor and a YouTuber, me being a musician. And so it’s like okay, we just have to keep pushing. You still need to have an indie mentality, even when we’re here. If you get complacent, you say, ‘Okay, that’s the contract I have, okay well, then in a couple years when the contract is up, you won’t have another one.’ So I’m always pushing forward. I know Bowens is always pushing forward because we talk all the time and it’s not so much shedding the label, it’s that we are great and we want to be greater.”
Bowens: “Tony Khan clearly believed in us and had an idea for us. I took that personally as a challenge to make sure that I give everything I can to this company to get better and continue to become bigger stars, and also complete that challenge. I want to make sure I make him proud, I wanna make everyone proud.”
Despite bonding as a team right away, the two admit that they didn’t exactly want to be in a team to begin with. Bowens made a name for himself as “the 5-Tool Player” and Caster as “Platinum Max” of Shook Crew, but they both admit that they have a lot more in common than they expected and once the fear went away, they realized how much fun the entire process has been.
Bowens: “Initially it was a bit scary because both of us have been building a brand the last couple of years as singles wrestlers, so when we were coming in, we were thinking we’re gonna come in here as singles and next thing you know, we’re a tag team and we have to kind of almost go back to the drawing board. What’s our move set? How do we move in the ring together? How do we communicate with each other? The psychology of matches, there’s so many different levels to being a tag team that are completely different than being a singles wrestler so from that, initially it was a bit scary. But I think we sat down, we hammered out a lot of things as much as we can, and we continue to every single week. And I think being in a tag team is fun and creating these new ties together is also very fun.”
“Like I stated before, when we first came out and we did our first entrance, Max was just rapping over no music and I was just standing there and this presented this fun challenge of us sitting down and hammering out all these ideas of who are we? How can we build the Acclaimed brand? Who are we as individuals? And now Max has this awesome theme song that he gets to rap to every week and I’m this ridiculous meme-generating hype man that sits there and hypes up all his dope bars. So I think it’s been such a fun process after initially being a little bit scary.”
Caster: “I did not wanna be in a tag team at first and it’s turned out really great because you see the landscape of AEW and sometimes you wonder how guys get over that jump. And maybe being in the team was the way to do it. Obviously, it was for us because it was Tony Khan’s idea but now you’ve put us together, we have similar styles in the ring, a style that not many people have in AEW and we’re able to stand out in that way. We’re a lot bigger than the people in AEW. We stand out in that way. We’re definitely more handsome and more talented than everybody in AEW so you know, it’s a perfect fit and I couldn’t be happier in the Acclaimed right now.”
The Acclaimed faces off with Ryzin and Danny Limelight on AEW Dark on Tuesday night; they will also be one of the ten teams competing in the Tag Team Battle Royal this Wednesday on Dynamite.