Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler of FTR were on a recent episode of the Busted Open podcast where they discussed the rules at AEW. AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes was also on the Busted Open podcast, and he named FTR as a tag team that can set the example of following the rules in AEW. Wheeler gave his thoughts on following the rules.
"We think that 100% they have to start clamping down on those things," Wheeler affirmed. "Even if it's not as stringent, there has to be much more authority on the referee. There has to be much more semblance of rules, because without it, it's a Texas Tornado. It's a fatal four-way. There's no rules, there's no heat, there's no way to make somebody care or somebody to be in danger, there's no way to put sympathy on a babyface, there's no way to get the explosion when you get to the hot tag because the guys already blown his own comeback before he's down before the tag, and then all four guys are in the ring for the last 10 minutes anyway.
"It has to be buckled down. It doesn't have to be as stringent, but we came here with the intentions of doing whatever we had to do, talking to whoever we have to and bi--hing and moaning as much as we have to to get it to where it is more of a tag team structure. Even if it's not the traditional rules, there has to be more structure, that way every team means more."
Harwood thought it may be a generational issue where many think creativity comes from doing multiple moves in a short sequence. He explained where creativity comes from in tag team wrestling, and how the rules are central to that.
"I think it may be a generational thing too," Harwood added. "Something has changed in wrestling completely where it's more about the flashy things and let's forget the rules. I don't know where that was lost in wrestling, but the creativity is not seeing how many things four guys can do.
"Even within a given few seconds or how many creative things they can come up with to make everyone pop for a second, the creativeness in tag team wrestling comes around building your story around the tag team rules and taking those rules and saying, 'OK, how can I incorporate this story and this spot while using the the rules and the referee.' That's where creativity is. That's where the storytelling goes to a different level."
Harwood used an example of the 10-count and how FTR will not be using that to win a match because of their personal philosophy of beating teams in the ring. He asserted that the rules and tags in tag team wrestling will mean a lot more in AEW in the future.
"We didn't agree with everything in WWE, and we're not going to agree with everything in AEW," Harwood stated. "That's OK, but even to the point with the 10-second rule. I don't think you're ever going to see myself and Cash using the full 10-second rule only because, in my opinion, me and Cash, who don't care in real life or TV life to get in fights, if we can't beat you, if we cannot take all four of our fists and beat the hell out of you for 10 seconds and you get back up later, then we're not that effective.
"So I think we'll continue to use the five-second rule. If it's up to us, tags and the rules around tag team wrestling are going to mean a hell of a lot more in AEW in months to come."
Dave LeGreca pointed out that AEW consistently does well for younger viewers especially in the coveted 18-49 age range. FTR acknowledged that wrestling has changed, but also says that you can still mix traditional and modern styles and create something exciting.
"It's what we put in front of the television," Harwood noted. "Obviously nowadays, we can't sit in a hold for five minutes because of the advent of cable television and social media. If we can take the rules and still make an exciting tag team match, subconsciously the fans won't care if all four guys are in the ring for 30 seconds, a minute, or whatever. They won't even realize it.
"For me personally, I don't think you even have to take out a bunch of the cool things," Wheeler pointed out. "You just have to make them make sense and put them in places where it's logical, but you can still do really cool things. You can still do a lot of fun moves. You can make it exciting. You can make it as boring or as exciting as you want. That's the beauty of professional wrestling - you're in control of it. You can control and be the maestro of it from the first bell to the end of it, but you just have to make it make sense."
Wheeler continued his point of doing things that are logical and fit a story. He reiterated his point of bringing a traditional twist in the modern style of pro wrestling.
"You can't just do something for the sake of doing it because it's what you do." Wheeler noted. "You can't say, 'well I do this move so I have to make it happen right here'. Well, no. How about if we do it here and then there's a dip and then you go over, then you escape and then there it is. As long as it makes sense, you tell a story, and you give the babyface some sympathy, and then you get them right back over. You can make it exciting.
"Obviously, we love 80s wrestling, 90s wrestling and 70s wrestling even, but you don't have to do what you would see back in the 50s. You can still do modern times with a twist that makes it exciting but makes sense."
Bully Ray asked FTR about other tag teams they want to face in AEW other than The Young Bucks. Harwood noted that the Lucha Brothers are the antithesis of who they are as a tag team. He admitted that there are aspects of them that piss him off for different reasons. He also says that FTR and Santana and Ortiz can have a bloody feud similar to Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine.
"I think that the Lucha Brothers are the complete 180 of what myself and Cash are, and I think that that is such an easy story to tell," Harwood said. "They work together where they haven't made tags or they've tagged in the wrong corner. There's a lot of things that shoot piss me off about them, and there's a lot of things that work piss me off about them too. Some good money could be made right there with those guys.
"Also we've got Ortiz and Santana. I think we could tear the house down with those guys and have a complete blood feud Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine style."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.