On Wednesday night, AEW Dynamite, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler answered one of the hottest questions in pro wrestling: Will FTR go back to WWE or continue building the foundation of AEW? For 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 will be our final run right here,” Wheeler tells Uproxx Sports.
Harwood and Wheeler feel unfinished at WWE as they believe they were unable to do what they were capable of during their time with the promotion from 2014-20. Harwood says they were also told by higher-ups within WWE that the promotion knew they had made a mistake in releasing FTR.
Despite a 63-day first-tag title reign in AEW that Harwood said was “not all that memorable,” both agree they can’t imagine giving up the freedom they’ve experienced since joining the promotion , after simultaneously holding the Ring of Honor, AAA, and IWGP tag titles for much of the past year.
“Going to Japan and doing what we did, going to Mexico and doing what we did, working for these independents and doing stuff with Bret (Hart), doing stuff that we have on our bucket list had that was not even possible from 2014 to 2020. There’s so much more we can and wanted to do,” says Wheeler. “Wrestling is more than just a business. I love performing in front of 2,000 people, 20,000 people, whatever it is, as long as they care and love what we’re doing. It’s the passion these fans bring to us that has really helped get us to where we are now. So it’s hard to say goodbye.”
Harwood says the “uncertainty” of Vince McMahon’s potential return to WWE “helped,” although he says they already decided their plans prior to the high-profile sale to Endeavor, which confirmed McMahon would return to a role with the company . Her relationship with Tony Khan, the CEO of AEW, also played a role in her thought process for staying close.
“I think Tony Dax and Cash gets FTR better than Vince,” says Harwood. “I think he understands that we’re average, ordinary people who just resonated with the fans because they can relate to us because we’re either family people or just regular people. We just enjoy the physicality and we enjoy the fight and I think they can live their lives through us. (Vince has) a business track record that shows he’s obviously very smart in the business, but I think he thinks he knows what the revival was better than we do. That’s why he came up with all these cartoon costumes that he gave us. In contrast, Tony understands that no one knows who we are, and no one can represent our characters or our traits better than we do.”
Wheeler continues, “The conversations we have with Tony, the relationship we have with Tony, in comparison [Triple H] or Vince, we get on really well with those two guys over there. In any case, Vince was always very respectful when we looked at our faces, respected our work. Same with Hunter. But with Tony, I feel like we can have open, honest discussions about how we’re feeling, where we think we need to change or pivot. And I know he’s receptive to it.”
While FTR knows best what their character presentation looks like, they understand that Khan is their boss and that they should “do exactly what he says” due to the number of things he has to consider. But when it came to deciding what her future would hold, FTR put her happiness first.
“I am very glad and very happy that we made the decision to stay here at AEW. My family is very happy and very supportive because now I can be at home and go to Finley’s soccer games and dance practices and gymnastics events and things like that,” says Harwood. “And overall, over the next few years, FTR will be able to continue to cement our legacy and hopefully, and I say this with humility, at least go down in history as one of the greatest tag teams of all time.”
Wednesday night’s moment for FTR was made even sweeter with the announcement that AEW will be hosting All In on August 27th at the iconic Wembley Stadium. The same place where their hero, Bret Hart, wrestled British Bulldog at historic WWE SummerSlam in 1992 — Harwood says he’s watched the match “a hundred times.”
“Wembley Stadium is huge for AEW,” Wheeler continues. “AEW needs to be ambitious right now. We’ve done so much as a company in the last three years that everyone said we couldn’t do it. When Tony said we were going to sell 20,000 (Arthur Ashe Stadium tickets), people thought that was ridiculous at the time. Everyone wants to keep the goalposts moving. Everyone keeps wanting to say you can’t do it. I think it’s great that we’re going to Wembley because even if it’s not full, 50, 60, 70,000, whatever it ends up being, that’s huge for this company. As a company that has only been around for a few years. You can’t always play it safe. The roster is so extensive right now, why not give it a try?
There have been reports of 25,000 pre-sale registrations in the first 24 hours and FTR plans to double that number with a certain dream match.
“CM Punk and FTR against the elite,” says Harwood. “It has to be, doesn’t it? If you want to sell 50,000 tickets and take this business to the next level, that’s it, that’s my dream. This is the dream couple. This six man day at Wembley could help take AEW to the next level.”
It remains to be seen whether this match will come about. Meanwhile, FTR looks ahead to future showdowns with Chris Bey and Ace Austin, a rematch at the Aussie Open and takes fans on their journey into thrilling competitions that will keep them seated.