Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood of FTR, f.k.a. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson of The Revival in WWE, were recently on the Jim Cornette Experience where they revealed that they are on a handshake deal with AEW, and they talked about their experience with WWE and Vince McMahon. Cornette asked what happened with their WWE booking and said that the McMahon he knows was not like he was back in the day. Cornette believes that they McMahon of yesteryear would have hated what he is doing today.
“I think they hired Jim Herd. I think that’s what happened,” Harwood joked. “The thing is it was just as bad as Jim Herd because Vince was still there, so that’s the problem. Exactly what you just said, a lot those guys that are producers that are working there now that were working for the company in ’94, ’95 and ’96, they said the exact same thing you just said.
“I remember after one of our matches, a producer came up to us, and he said, ‘there is not a tag team in the world that is better than you guys. There’s not that many workers in the world that are better than you guys. I don’t know what is wrong with Vince. I don’t know what is going on with Vince. This is not the Vince that I worked for.’
“They finished with the typical keep working hard and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
Harwood recalled their last meeting with McMahon. They told him that they aren’t for everyone but assured that they would work harder than anybody in WWE.
“Vince has the things he likes and he has the things he doesn’t like, and that’s OK,” Harwood stated. “We told him this in our last meeting, ‘we know we’re not his cup of tea.’ He laughed at it and tried to shrug it off, but we told him, ‘we know we’re not your cup of tea Vince, and that’s OK. We’re not gonna be everybody’s cup of tea. We’re not gonna please everybody, and we’re not here to please everybody, but what we do know is that there’s nobody better than us. We’re gonna work harder than anybody in the company.’ It just didn’t pan out that way.”
Harwood also revealed another conversation they had with McMahon after a match with The New Day. FTR have prided themselves as being like tag teams like The Brain Busters, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, and were perplexed when McMahon used that comparison as an insult.
“We had a match with New Day. All four of us came to the back, and we were so proud of the match,” Harwood recalled. “We loved it so much. We were happy because it wasn’t an action-packed match. It was a match that told a great, little story. The fans got behind it, and they loved it.
“We came to the back, and Vince was waiting right in the middle of gorilla with his hands in his pocket. Of course, Johnny Ace was agreeing to everything he said, and one thing I’ll never forget, Vince looked and me and Cash and he said, ‘everyone tells me you’re the next Arn and Tully. You’re the next great tag team. Well, that’s the problem. You guys are Arn and Tully. You’re just great professional wrestlers.’ To me and Cash, we took that with meaning and pride. He meant it as an insult.
“I’m thinking to myself, ‘you’re comparing us to two of the greatest of all time, who have drawn a s–t ton of money in the business and you’re meaning it as an insult?’ He just didn’t get us. He didn’t understand us, and that’s perfectly fine he didn’t. It’s his company. It’s his money, and he can do whatever he wants.”
Wheeler says he still does not know where the disconnect was between them and McMahon. However, he says it’s something that he doesn’t want to get lost in.
“I don’t know what it was about us that he didn’t like or that somebody didn’t like or didn’t see anything in,” Wheeler said. “We’re not the first, and we won’t be the last. I wish I had some sort of answer. I wish I had some sort of closure on it where I can say definitively this is what it was. This was our fault for this or our fault for that, but I’ll never know. I’ll always wonder what it could have been, but I’m not gonna dwell on it either.”
Cornette wondered whether there was anyone that stood up for FTR. Harwood said that many people talked to Vince to tell him that they wanted to work with them.
“There were a ton of guys and not just tag teams. Arn told us, and Fit Finlay told us,” Harwood revealed. “Every single producer on every single live event had rave reviews for our matches, and we would have opportunities with top guys on TV. We would watch them. We would watch Roman Reigns. We watched Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy. We watched the greatest wrestler they have their right now, Randy Orton.
“We watched them all go up to Vince after matches and bring us over and say, ‘we want to work with these guys.’ This is the thing that kind of bothers me a little bit was that the fans. They just look at the story part of our career. ‘Well, they got to work with Roman Reigns and Randy Orton, and they got three championship reigns, but what they don’t understand is we got to work with Roman Reigns for two weeks. We beat Roman Reigns on television in tag team matches.
“We put him down with the Shatter Machine for two weeks. Then the next week, nothing. It was taken away. The same thing with Matt and Bray. The same with Randy, who has become one of our mentors and one of our close friends who we talk to every single day. He fought for us so hard to get us on TV with him every single week because he believed in our work ethic, and he believed in what we brought to the table. We watched him go to Vince every single week or Hunter or whoever and say, ‘we gotta keep this up.'”
Despite the many people who wanted to work with them, the pushes FTR got were short-lived. They talked about how they were put in a feud with The Usos but taken off to team with Shane only to have been put back on with a feud against The Usos.
“It was multiple guys,” Harwood said. “The Usos. New Day. It was a ton of these guys that went to Vince and said we want to work with these guys, and they let us work with them. Then they’d take it away. For example, we did the stuff where they put ‘Ucey Hot’ on our balls, which was fine. We wanted to do that. Then two weeks later, after this angle started gaining some steam, they took us away and put us with Shane because Shane wanted to work with us.
“Then they took us away from Shane and put us back with The Usos a couple of weeks later, but instead of there being any heat behind it, they just put his in wrestling matches. So everything that we gained from working with these top guys that wanted to work with us, we would lose because of the hot and cold booking.”
Wheeler added in on WWE’s booking talking about how they would never know what they were doing on a week-in-week-out basis. He said that would affect anyone’s consistency and momentum.
“I’m not trying to insult anybody, and it’s not anybody’s fault really, but there’s no long-term vision for a lot of the booking,” Wheeler stated. “So honestly, I’m not exaggerating. I’m not trying bury anybody here. You don’t know what you’re doing that day much less the next week.
“You find out what you’re doing a lot of the time at 5:00 or 6:00. At 8:00, well, where is this going. We don’t know. We’ll have to figure it out. It’s just hard to keep up any consistency or any momentum when nobody knows.”
Harwood tells a story about how a planned segment involving them, Randy Orton and The New Day was changed multiple times. The final plan cut them out just before a PPV that they were supposed to be involved in.
“I remember there was a time we were in MSG, and we were supposed to have a deal with Randy and New Day. It was the time when Kofi was going to get his deal back with Randy where they jump off the table,” Harwood recalled. “At 8:15, the plan had changed three times, but we were told this is what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna be with Randy.
“At 8:15, it changed and, we were completely off the show. I think we were supposed to be in a PPV in the next couple of weeks with those guys. I don’t want to harp on this because I don’t have any ill feelings towards WWE. I’m looking at my wife and my daughter on a swing set that I got to pay for because of WWE, so I owe them everything that I have, but in the grand scheme of things, as far as the business goes, it was very difficult to have to deal with that every single week.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Jim Cornette Experience with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.