Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler of FTR/The Revolt (formerly Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder of The Revival) were Chris Jericho’s guests on the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho.
In some ways, it’s just the latest in a string of WWE exit interviews conducted by AEW’s biggest name... usually dropped just before or after the act shows up on Dynamite. This one has a slightly different vibe, however. Harwood & Wheeler just realized what many observers have noticed over the years - the company doesn’t perceive tag team wrestling as a draw.
Wheeler: Things were going decent for us, they’re going well all things considered, but we’re not happy. The tag titles don’t mean anything. I would rather lose to the tag champs for the rest of my career than hold them, because it’s just going to be seen as a failed championship run.
Harwood: That was one of our biggest factors in leaving, was that tag team wrestling was featured everywhere else except for WWE and we wanted to be a part of that. We could sit back and, apart from our NXT stuff, we could have no legacy in wrestling or we could go out and make history.
The duo also specifically mentioned two Braun Strowman-related booking decisions as evidence: when Strowman won the Raw Tag titles with a child he picked out of the audience at WrestleMania 34, and when the Monster Among Men “steamrolled the entire tag team division”.
It all lead to The Revival asking for their release in January 2019. They specifically waiting until the were in the midst of a push so it would be clear they didn’t just want out because they were being booked to lose. Still, they think WWE thought they were bluffing. Jericho mentioned something which floated around the rumor mill - a promise by the company to put more focus on the tag scene as a way to convince them to stay. Harwood agreed that was something WWE brass said they’d do, but went back to things like their history of putting the belts on randomly paired singles wrestlers as proof it wouldn’t last.
Which brings us to the Lucky Charms-meets-Flava Flav designs that leaked a few weeks back. Wheeler again confirmed they were legit.
The really crazy thing is, while the designs were awful, the pitch is at least somewhat interesting. It was based on The Revival’s criticism about how WWE books their tag division, and to allow them to show more personality than get to when portraying straight-laced ass-kickers.
Unfortunately, it all goes back to the fact it would just be played as a gag for a few weeks while Seth Rollins & Drew McIntyre won the straps after being forced to team up (or something similar).
And of course, those designs... here’s Wheeler’s accounting of the pitch meeting, where they also confirm a lot of other things which were reported about their last days with WWE.
“Vince hands us these [designs]. I’ll put my hand on the bible and tell you, I laughed out loud in front of everybody.
It was me, [Harwood], Vince [McMahon], Bruce Prichard, and [Mark] Carano. They were all serious and started telling us why it would be a good idea. They talked about the Ucey Hot and back shaving stuff where we showed we can do more than be serious, straight-faced ass-kickers. We could show different sides and different levels of charisma, which we never got a chance to do, even though we asked a lot.
We told them straight up, and I think this was when they realized we weren’t bluffing or trying to negotiate a higher number, we looked at them as said, ‘Here is the deal, these are not good. But we will do this until our contracts expire. We’ll do whatever you want. We’ll give 100% and have fun with it. But when our contracts expire, we’re not re-signing. There’s no way we’re staying past June.’
That was Friday at SmackDown. On Wednesday, we got a phone call saying we were pulled from everything. The numbers that have been reported contract-wise, $750,000 a year or whatever, it was higher than that. It was more than that for us to do the clown, Cat in the Hat, Flava Flav stuff. We said, ‘we’ll do this until our contracts expire, but we’re not re-signing for any amount of money unless it’s way up there.’
When they first described it, it was ‘we’re doing this out of spite. Tag teams don’t get the respect they deserve and they have to be a comedy act to get TV time,’ which is true. Most tag teams who get TV time do comedy and if you’re more serious, you’re considered not charismatic. So it’s us taking the piss out of how we perceived the division being disrespected. It’s not terrible when it’s on paper. I don’t know how it would have been executed as the weeks roll on, but us doing [the comedy act] out of spite to be upset about how tag team wrestling is disrespected, I was okay with it. We could have had fun with it and probably made decent money. I don’t know if there’s a long shelf life or if we’d be above super-low card comedy.”
Dax said he didn’t know if McMahon really thought the pitch was “such good shit” or if he was trying to bury The Revival on their way out the door. He couldn’t tell, because Vince is “the greatest worker of them all”.
He did reveal that he’s confident the designs were leaked by someone in creative, because as his partner says, the talent are always the last to know about things like that.
Harwood: They got leaked out, and the craziest thing is, the boys are kayfabed more than anybody else in the company. I can tell you with 100% certainty; the boys aren’t the ones leaking out the information. Those photos had to have come from someone from creative who came up with that costume. When I saw those, we just laughed. We couldn’t believe for so many years; we watched as the boys got kayfabed from all this news and the people in the office were the ones leaking the information.
Wheeler: That happens a bit where we find out on social media. We’ll be in the locker room and someone says, ‘Check this out’ and that’s how the news makes it to the locker room.
It’s an interesting listen, and we’d encourage you to check out the whole episode of Talk Is Jericho here.
And let us know what you think about the comedy idea below. I honestly don’t think it sounds horrible... if it were being booked by a company that saw money in tag wrestling.
Maybe The Revolt are headed to one of those soon...