Former WWE RAW & IWGP Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson recently sat down for an interview with CBS Sports’ The Jim Rome Show. Anderson took a moment during the conversation to touch on the team’s previous run in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where they together held the IWGP Tag Team Championships on three different occasions before coming to WWE. Anderson mentioned how the transition to NJPW significantly improved his struggling finances at the time.
“I was there for eight years,” Anderson explained. “When I first signed that contract, 2008, it was the coolest thing that ever happened. It was the first time I started getting paid, ’cause I did it from 2002 and – I went from probably $5,000 in 2007 to making, probably, $55,000 in 2008. And that was like I just struck gold. Then each year, the contracts got better, and by the end, we were pulling some bank in.
“It’s still the same thing [with fans]. Good guy vs. bad guys still telling the story, but there’s nothing like competing in Japan. Wrestling in Tokyo, or Osaka, or Sapporo, or Fukuoka, or Nagoya, all those towns that we hit, those people believe. And they love the sport of professional wrestling.”
Gallows was a member of his school football team growing up, and he mentioned to Jim Rome the major differences between playing football on a serious level and being a WWE Superstar. Gallows believes that the constant travel may be the most significant difference between high level football and being a performer in WWE.
“I respect the hell out of guys that play football at a high level because I know how that felt,” Gallows said. “I think the difference with us is the grind, because we’re on the road so much. We’re a live event, touring, media based company, but we’re out there 200 nights a year doing this, and feeling it, and then getting in the car driving 3 or 4 hours. It’s a grind. There’s no off season.”
Gallows also addressed the common belief that professional wrestling is “fake.” He explained that the various theories claiming that chairs are fake and the ring is like a trampoline are untrue. Even with the danger, Gallows thinks that advances in healthcare, along with WWE’s new protocol of no chair shots to the head, are a couple of the reasons that the business has improved over the years.
“Your moronic to think the big boot and a leg drop is going to pin somebody, but on the other hand, I was saying in the car on the way over here, I wish all the things that we’ve heard about ourselves for years were true,” Gallows said. “Like, I wish there were fake chairs, I wish the ring felt like a trampoline, I wish all of those things because I would feel so much better, but it’s funny because the WWE has cleaned up the business so much. When we first broke in fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years ago, if you took a chair shot to the head and put your hands up, you were considered not a man. So, we’re standing there for twenty bucks just gelling are el kabonged. And now, the head shots are out of there. The drug testing policy, it’s the most advanced one in sports that I know of. So, they really cleaned it up and they take a lot better care of the guys than twenty years ago. It’s a lot different.”
You can listen to the full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Jim Rome Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.