WWE NXT Tried To Sign Anthony Bowens After His AEW Debut

Bowens could have been featured on WWE NXT

Anthony Bowens has revealed he agreed to sign with WWE NXT shortly after his AEW debut.

Bowens made his AEW debut in September 2020 on an episode of Dark and he would form a tag team with Max Caster as The Acclaimed soon after. Then, in November, both men put pen to paper on contracts with Tony Khan's promotion.

Speaking about his AEW signing on the AEW Unrestricted Podcast, Bowens revealed he agreed to join WWE NXT after his Dark debut, but he ultimately decided to sign with AEW following talks with Tony Khan and Max Caster. 

"So coming into AEW was a bit of a journey and it took a little bit longer because of the pandemic. Once the company opened up, I kind of switched my focus to trying to get here. Around February of 2020, Shawn Spears was having the perfect partner search. I sent in a promo and it made I guess, the top three [finalists]. I was very excited about it because Blood & Guts was coming up in New Jersey, which is about 10 minutes away from my house, found out that I was booked for the show. So I figured hey, this might be my opportunity to you know, show the world show and AEW what I can do," Bowens began.

"Unfortunately, 30 minutes after I got that phone call, they cancelled every single show due to the pandemic, which, obviously, there are more important things going on in the world. But I was extremely bummed. Then, I was supposed to come down in June and then the cases start rising again. So that trip got cancelled. Then, we got to the point where I was like, 'You know what, I just have to take a chance and I need to get down there.' I ended up texting QT Marshall. I was like, 'I know you keep booking me and everything keeps going wrong. I need to get down there. If there's any opportunity for me to come in October, please. I'd love to be there.' I made it work. I came down and the rest is history," he continued.

"I did the Dark match and the next day I was approached by NXT about coming down there. After they ghosted me for three years. Actually, I didn't hear anything back from AEW directly after the match. Because sometimes Dark airs about a week or two afterward, or at least it did in the pandemic world. I just said yes [to joining WWE NXT]. Somehow that trickled back to Tony Khan. Tony found out about it and then brought me down there. A week later, I had a long conversation with him and my tag team partner, and the next thing you know, I'm with AEW, which is where I wanted to be in the first place.

"There's a ton of life happenings in there that made the decision a lot easier. But there was a very anxiety-filled two weeks trying to figure out, honestly being in a great situation, I guess where every wrestler wants to be in, but it was one of the most anxiety-induced two weeks I've ever had in my life. But I made the right decision and I'm so excited to be in AEW," Bowens added.

Bowens isn't the only wrestler WWE tried to sign after their AEW debut. NXT also approached Eddie Kingston, Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs in 2020, but they all opted to join AEW full-time instead. 

H/T to Fightful

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com