As Friday turned to Saturday, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson announced their new professional home. With their WWE non-compete expired, the two maulers announced they had signed with Impact Wrestling, and are also free to work for New Japan.
Had things gone differently a year ago, however, they'd probably be in AEW.
During the pair's Talk'N Shop podcast, Gallows and Anderson spoke about nearly making the move to AEW, and how they were going to play a big role on the first episode of Dynamite.
"We sat with the Bucks and talked to them about what they were going to start, left and went to the house show (in December 2018), how f**king excited were we? This is 10 months before Dynamite debut," recalls Anderson. "They were telling us what we were gonna do, and it's not that we didn't believe them, it was like 'f**k, is this gonna happen?' As the year went on, we realized we really wanted to leave."
But WWE came at the two with heavy offers to stay, and by the early summer of 2019, they had elected to remain with WWE, each signing five year deals.
Said Gallows, "When Triple H is telling you, 'I want this to set you up for the rest of your life,' you're going, 'F**k man, we're gonna make a few million dollars over a few years,' it's a hard thing to dance around. It comes down to being able to say no to somebody who is very charming."
"As it got to June, I remember the text from Matt & Nick and they had planned out the entire first debut of Dynamite's main event," said Anderson. "Machine Gun music hits, I come out, Gallows comes from behind, we 'too sweet' the Young Bucks and Kenny, turn around, then we beat the f**k out of them. That's the end of the first night of [Dynamite].
"It's one of the biggest regrets of my life that it didn't happen. It kills me. We didn't know if it was going to take off on TNT, but we knew with the guys involved, Young Bucks, Kenny, Chris Jericho, those are guys that are successful and are not going to fail. We knew AEW would be successful, we just succumbed to the amount of money and promises, kept or unkept, by WWE."
Gallows and Anderson intimated that some of their allies in AEW might be a little miffed that, after the plan was laid out, the two chose to follow WWE's offer.
"For a good six months, we told the Bucks and Kenny we were coming, no matter what because we were that ready to go," Anderson remembers. "This is where it bothers me a lot that we didn't bet on ourselves and allow ourselves to leave because we knew that we should have. That's why I'm so glad with FTR getting out on their own terms and being able to do what they did. There were some hard feelings because people trusted the Bucks and they told other parties that we were coming and we didn't come. It made them look like they couldn't close the deal."
Gallows adds, "There was probably a little heat internally there. We have friends there, a friend who is in a high power position, who was like, 'What the f**k, guys?' I think he's still a little offended by it. My answer to him, if he ever hears this; none of this was ever personal. We appreciate the offer and everything was trying to do. It was clearly a business decision. We were looking at a five-year deal as opposed to a two-year deal with maybe a one-year option. When you start calculating that money and where you're going to be in five years, especially with 'you're going to be here for the full five years and there was plans for you after,' it's like, you're stacking millions and millions against, ultimately, the smaller figure.
"Should we have taken the smaller figure and bet on ourselves and been something really cool again like we were in New Japan? F**K YES! Is the egg on our face? It's running down our face right now."