Anthony Bowens On AEW Tag Title Shot, Dumpster Match, CM Punk & More! - Exclusive Interview

Ladies and gentleman, The Acclaimed have arrived ... in the AEW World Tag Team title picture! 

This Sunday, Max Caster and Anthony Bowens battle Swerve In Our Glory for All Elite Wrestling's top tag gold in one of the PPV's most hotly anticipated bouts. This is not The Acclaimed's first time battling for the AEW Tag Team Championships — back in March, the two men took on then-champions The Jurassic Express on "AEW Dynamite." Unfortunately, they came up short that night, and about a month later, Bowens would go down with an injured knee.

While unable to compete in the ring, Bowens was still able to keep himself visible on AEW TV, being pushed around in a wheelchair by Caster's side during his entrances. It was also during this time that The Ass Boys — sorry, The Gunn Club — seemingly became friends with the duo before tensions would eventually pull the two teams apart. The feud between them culminated on "Dynamite" last month when The Acclaimed defeated The Gunn Club in an old-school Dumpster Match.

Ahead of arguably AEW's biggest show of the year, Bowens sat down with Wrestling Inc. to discuss The Acclaimed's latest shot at the AEW Tag Team Championship, as well as a wide variety of other AEW topics.

Post-wheelchair life

How are you feeling? People saw you in a wheelchair for a good stretch of time here before you got back into action. How's the body feeling?

Body feels great. Still recuperating from that Dumpster Match because we took a couple big spills, but I'm ready to go. I'm ready to beat some ass on Sunday and win some tag team gold.

So let's talk about this Sunday, your thoughts going into the AEW World Tag Team Championship match against Swerve In Our Glory. How do you feel? These are kind of like yourselves, two single stars that got put together, are making a team right now. What do you think of these two?

Incredible competitors. It's going to be tough. Keith Lee is massive. We got to figure out a way to get the big man off his feet, and Swerve, he's all over the place. So we got to figure out a strategy to keep these guys down and contained. You said two singles wrestlers, and we saw before in the past that they've had a little weird tension. Maybe they made up, I don't know. I don't know how that's going to come into play. If we need to pounce on that, we will. I don't care at this point. I want some tag team gold. So Max and I, we're going to be doing some strategizing the next couple days.

Praise from Tony Khan

Tony Khan, your boss, actually talked a bit about you on the media call just now. He talked about how, when you and Max first got brought into the office, you guys had no idea why you were there. Take me back real fast to that. You two were singles wrestlers at the time. What are you thinking when Tony calls you into the office there with Max Caster?

So it was a very interesting time ... I was fielding an offer from the other company. Max had interest as well. At some point during that time, Tony had found out about it, wanted to talk to us. I went down to Jacksonville during that time period after I actually had said, "Yes." And he was like, "Hey, I have this idea for you and Max, I want to call you guys The Acclaimed. It's going to be this big tag team." Didn't tell us what it was. We had no idea what it was, but we thought, "If Tony believed in us to bestow this name upon us, he must have something cool in mind." We trusted him, we went out there and wrestled an hour and a half later against Best Friends, we came back through the curtain. I saw him give a thumbs up and the next day we had contracts. Two years later, we're fighting for the titles and the biggest pay per view of the year. So it's been a fun ride.

He said on the call that you two have become one of his favorite acts in all of professional wrestling. What does it mean to you when you hear him say something like that?

Well, join the crowd, Tony. Everyone loves The Acclaimed. I mean, come on.

World's strongest manager?

You guys are really riding a wave right now, heading into this big match here at All Out. The scissoring thing has taken off. Is there anybody in AEW that you haven't scissored yet that you would still like to scissor? Anybody left on the list?

There's plenty of people, but number one right now is Mark Henry. And that's simply because he said that he will not scissor The Acclaimed until we win tag team gold. So not only, if we win tag team gold, do we have the prestige of the tag team division, we get to scissor Mark Henry. So it's like a double goal.

Well, there's been a lot of legends that come in and work with talent. Obviously, you guys are working with Billy Gunn. We'll talk about that here just a little bit, but what about Mark? Would you like Mark to become part of The Acclaimed? Could you see him coming to ringside with you all regularly? What do you think of that idea?

Somebody's going to get their ass kicked if Mark Henry is going to be our heater. I don't know, either or. I mean, I can't betray Daddy Ass. He's been very protective of us, even though we had that little rough patch that we have to have a talk about. But no, Mark would be cool. That'd be fun.

Do you have any updates on the "Scissor me, Daddy Ass" shirts, while you bring up Daddy Ass?

When I tell you I keep fighting every single week with these people, I call them, I annoy them, I email them. I am fighting because I know everybody really wants this shirt.

Oh, yeah.

I'm hoping it works out. But as of right now, as I said on Twitter the other day, it's the #ForbiddenShirt.

[Editor's note: Tony Khan announced on Friday , September 2, that the shirts would be available on AEW's online shop.]

Swerve In Our Glory

I want to double back to Swerve In Our Glory ... These are guys that made their name outside of AEW and have come in. You and Max are more homegrown AEW talent. Is there any kind of added, extra incentive for you? Motivation going into this, knowing that you are somebody that has made their brand completely within AEW?

I never really thought about that. It's never been an issue to me because Max and I, we only focus on what makes The Acclaimed tick, but it would be cool as a homegrown tag team to wipe these guys all over the mat and kind of prove a point, but I'm proud to be an All Elite Wrestling original, and hopefully we can represent the company with those belts.

What's it like for you watching all these bigger names come in. That's something that we've heard, some talents have been a little trepidatious about watching these bigger names kind of come into the locker room. What's that been like for you?

For me? I think it's great, because it opens up a whole door or access of knowledge that I may not have had access to before. I mean, we already have a great group of coaches and veterans on the roster, but the more you bring in, the more knowledge I get to soak up. So it's a plus for me.

Do you ever worry about getting TV time as these bigger names come in?

Oh, no. We're on TV every week.

I was about to say, it seems like you guys weathered that storm. I didn't know how competitive it was for you to get that screen time each week on AEW.

Well, it's always going to be competitive. We have three hours of television a week, but I think that should make everyone work harder. It made us work harder, at least. We've had to figure out and get creative, to figure out ways to generate even more crowd interest, to make sure that, and guarantee that, The Acclaimed will be on television every single weekend. That all started a few months ago with The Gunn Club, or excuse me, The Ass Boys. And we've proven our worth over these last few months that we are the real deal, and that we really connect with people, and that The Acclaimed deserve to be on television every single week.

The Gunn Club

It has been really cool seeing you two teams lift each other up, you guys have been doing great work all. I heard you call them "The Gunn Club." Are you warming up to them? Are they losing The Ass Boys status?

They would never ever, ever not be Ass Boys. I would've thought about it if this was maybe June when we were bonding and we were strong, we're making all these funny videos. We had a little fun with the crowd, shouting "Ass Boys" at them, but apparently they don't take a joke too well. So they are pieces of garbage and I don't ever want to really speak to them again. I'd love to fight them again, that would be great.

You're not done, you're not bored yet? You guys seem like you've beaten each other a million different ways at this point.

Well, clearly the dumpster push wasn't enough. So we're probably going to have to pick a higher elevation.

I want to talk about the Dumpster Match ... Whose idea was the Dumpster Match, Anthony?

Well, we wanted to pay tribute to the past, and The Acclaimed figured that, "Hey, if we're going to have a special match with the Ass Boys, why not make it something that their father made famous?" Luckily we were able to get that off the ground. It was approved, the match got cleared. Then I think we made it special. I think it was really fun. Like I said before, it was painful, but it created a moment that I think would last in AEW video packages forever, tossing them off the stage.

What did Daddy Ass think about it when you found out you guys were doing the Dumpster Match, what was his reaction to it?

He was excited, because we get to carve our own path and our name in history on a match that he made famous, and it was with his son. So I'm sure he felt that was a very special match.

Now, the Wednesday night war, whatever you want to call it, has kind of subsided, but this Dumpster Match did elicit a line over on ... I guess it's now the multicolored brand on the other side of the aisle. They joked over on NXT about how they were having a Dumpster Match out in the parking lot the night before your Dumpster Match. How did you feel about them kind of starting to poke back the other way?

I mean, I don't know why people complain about that stuff. All the fans talk about is "I want the Attitude Era back." All they did during the Attitude Era was throw jabs back and forth. And everybody was like, "Wow, what's the other person going to say? Oh." And they tune in every single week to see what's going on. Now you do and it's like, "They're rent free in your head. You're blah, blah, blah..." Shut up. Just enjoy the product. I think that's what makes everything fun. If I say something or Max says something in a rap and it's like, "Oh, my God. Are they going to respond?" And then maybe they do say something and then it ends up going back and forth. It's kind of a win for both parties, in my opinion. But I enjoy stuff like that. So if they want to do it, go for it. That means that we're doing something cool that they're taking notice to.

Dumping The Ass Boys

Did you practice pushing the dumpster with them inside off the stage or was it just one shot, one take? How did this go down?

I will tell you this, that moment was one of the most ... How do I put this? I legitimately have panic attacks thinking about it.

I'm having a panic attack thinking about it.

When I think about it, that wheel, by this much almost went off the wrong side of the stage ... It would have been a momentum killer of massive proportions for the whole night, because then if we push them off the stage and it's like, "Yay, they're dead." It gets stuck there. And it's just kind of like, "Bye."

I hate to cut you off. But Anthony, you like, Superman pushed this metal dumpster back on track. And I don't know that everybody caught it or not, but because I saw that one ... It was like it was going off the front. And I was like, "Everybody's about to die." So that's why I wanted to know if this was one shot, one take. Or if you guys had kind of run through this beforehand or not.

I'm a pretty strong guy. But I don't know if I can move an entire dumpster by myself. I did. I heaved as hard as I could. I got it back on track and we were good to go. Just to know that it was one of the most scary moments of my life.

So beyond the Dumpster Match, is there any other stipulation matches you'd maybe like to see ... Is there any other places you'd like to take this rivalry in fun ways?

I am a fan of gimmick matches. I love the idea of being able to get creative with different spaces and environments and tools and weapons to use. I haven't been in a ladder match in AEW, that would be something fun. There is someone here who's in a ladder match ... You got something to say?

Dante Martin drops in

Who's coming in here?

Dante Martin: I'm in a ladder match. 

Dante Martin!

Anthony Bowens: Sure.

Martin: Oh, yeah.

How are you feeling going into your Ladder Match here? Where's your mindset at right now?

Martin: Awesome. I'm a little sad. I didn't get that little momentum going into it off the four way, but I'll take it right back. Because I know that one spring off the top rope will get me right to the top of that ladder, and that's the goal.

How's it been tagging with Skye Blue? You guys have become an item here on AEW TV recently. You guys are... I guess there's an intergender division, like Intergender, mixed tag division now in AEW, how's it feel to be involved in all that?

Martin: It's actually super cool to see the company shifting to opening up to mixed tags, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Bowens: Dante, a proud member of the lads.

CM Punk vs Jon Moxley

I want to talk about the build all out here. You guys had a nice build here, I thought, with Swerve In Our Glory, but other stuff kind of came together last second. Last night we saw Moxley/Punk kind of take shape. How do you feel about the energy heading into the pay per view, I guess, in Chicago this weekend?

I think there's a big energy. Even in the locker room, I was walking around yesterday and I was like, "It's a really good vibe here today." Not like it was any different than usual, but people are really thrilled about this pay-per-view. You can feel the fans' excitement. I don't know. All that pay-per-view weekend or pay-per-view week in general is always such a fun week, because you got the Fan Fest, you got all these live shows, and all these extra things that fans get a chance to connect with their favorite AEW superstars. There's always this excitement going into the pay-per-view because the crowd is always so loud from start to finish, and everyone can't wait to get out there.

With the Punk/Moxley main event, one of the big stories making the rounds has obviously been like, "What is Punk's backstage behavior been like? What's your relationship like with CM Punk, Anthony?

I have a great relationship with Punk. He's been nothing but a help since the day he's got ... Actually, he was here a couple weeks in, I barely knew him at the time and he just had wrestled a match, and he was taking the time out to pull Dante and I to his trailer to do tape study. He's been a resource since he's came. So I think he's been a good asset to the company, especially from an analytical point of view too, from all the money that he brings in and the ratings and such.

Another one of the lads

What other famous fathers would you like to turn against their sons in pro wrestling?


You want to schism Taz from Hook?

Yeah. I want to see Taz versus Hook.

Oh, okay. Interesting. For the FTW title, I'm guessing.

The FTW, he wants his FTW title back from his son.

Could Taz still go? Could he throw down with Hook? I don't know if he could.

He would probably decline the match immediately, but I know him. He's very competitive. There'd be a thought in the back of his head that he'd want to go in there and show Hook how it's done.

What do you think of Hook? Do you hang out with him? He seems to kind of a mysterious character.

So Hook is also a member of the lads. Myself, Hook, Dante and Darius Martin, we're a pretty close little clique, but he's still the most mysterious person I've ever, ever met in my entire life. He'll just sit in the corner of the hotel room with his hood up, backpack on, eating his chips. Every so often he might give a glance from the side of his eye. I often wonder, "What's going through there? Is he going to do suplexes right now? What is he going to do? Is he going to go do his hair?" I just enjoy having him around despite that.

Do you ever scissor the chips?

There's been no scissoring towards Hook.

No, I want to know if you've scissored the chips. Just grab the chips with your fingertips.

Next time he pulls out a bag. I'll give it a try and see how he reacts.

It's good TikTok. I'm just saying.

The forbidden scissor

Are there any Acclaimed raps that you and Max regret? Do you feel you guys have ever maybe crossed the line?

So there are ... And this is all I'll say, there are two Acclaimed music videos that were shot, edited and were ready to go, but will never see the light of day.

Is it because who they're about? Is it because what you'd say? Could you give us any insight on that?

One is because who they're about, the other one probably multiple things that we probably shouldn't say.

Maybe it'll come to light down the road.

They could never, ever come to light.

Well, you never know, man. 

Maybe one day I can give some insight on the one about who it was about, but not right now, sometime this week, maybe.

Do you have a forbidden scissor? Who do you want to scissor that's not AEW? Is there a preferred scissor?

Let's go with Naito, because next year at Forbidden Door, if for some reason we don't have a tag match and there happens to be a singles match open. I think the Five Tool Player versus Naito, wherever Forbidden Door is going to be, would be a crazy singles match. And I'd scissor him right before I punch him in the face.