New Impact Wrestling newest signees The Good Brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, did a special live episode of their podcast Talk'N Shop on YouTube where they discussed their decision to stay with WWE despite multiple offers from other promotions. Anderson said they first signed with WWE because they felt they needed to go the U.S., but he reveals that TNA were close to signing them first.
"I think when we first left New Japan and went to the WWE, we signed that contract in February 2016," Anderson recalled. "It was time. We were ready to leave New Japan. There was a reason we left New Japan. It was time to get to the states. We wanted to be home with our families. We wanted to jump into the American television scene, and we almost went to TNA four-five years ago. Thankfully, WWE got a hold of me, AJ and Gallows, and we ended up debuting there."
Anderson said they had a great time in WWE. He does admit that just months after signing with WWE, he and Gallows were counting down when their contracts were up wondering why they signed with WWE.
"I would say, overall, the WWE run was fun. We had a great time," Anderson said. "We built our names as high as we possibly could have done, but I think October 2016, I put a pumpkin on my head and went through a table. I looked at Gallows as we were driving to a brother's house before we flew overseas and said, 'what the f--k just happened? What did we just do?' September 2019 was when our contract was going to be complete, and we didn't know where we were going to go.
"We didn't know where we were going to pop up, what was going to be available [or] what was going to be open. There was no such thing as AEW in October 2016, but I think around October 2016, we're like, 'f--k. We got to get out of here.'"
Gallows said that while WWE allowed them more exposure for an American TV audience, he said what made them who they were in Japan was lost in WWE. He said that others have said that some wrestlers aren't the same when they come to WWE, and he felt that's what happened with them.
"We got over in Japan being us, being Machine Gun, being in Bullet Club and all that," Gallows noted. "We came to WWE, and what we did was become more American television recognizable, but that run bastardized what we were and what people remember in Japan because it's a completely different thing, and it happens to a lot of talent that get over outside of the WWE and then comes to the WWE. We've seen history repeat itself, and it absolutely repeated itself for us."
Anderson also revealed that they were already wondering to ask for their release less than a year in WWE. He said they hesitated because of the money they were earning for their families.
"There were a couple of times in the early beginning of that run where we pull each other aside like, f--k man," Anderson recalled. "I remember on specifically I go, 'alright bro, are you ready? Should we figure out if New Japan would take us back?' We were ready to ask for our release less than a year into a year in, and I don't even know why. We were happy with the amount of money that we were making. We both have families, but there were some rough patches."
Anderson talked about meeting AEW Executive Vice Presidents The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega in early 2019. He said that's when they were talking about the early stages of AEW.
"I remember it was January 2019," Anderson explained. "We were going out to California for a house show, and we messaged The Young Bucks because we had heard rumblings of some stuff that they were doing. We stayed close with them the entire time, but we hadn't heard exactly what they were going to do. They were just landing back from Japan on the day we ran Ontario, CA for this house show, and as they landed, they said, 'dude, let's meet up at Ontario Mall.' We drove to Ontario Mall before the house show, and we sat there with them for an hour and a half.
"They were telling us what they were going to do, and it's not that we didn't believe them. We were thinking is this gonna happen? Then as 2019 went on. We realized that we really wanted to leave. We started hearing AEW coming into more fruition. We met with Kenny Omega in Winnipeg. We sat and talked with him."
Anderson said during that time, Triple H was calling and texting them on a daily basis. He said during that time, the prices for their contract offers kept going up.
"They were telling us they were gonna be on TV. For us, we were a little nervous about it not going on television," Anderson admitted. "This was around July when Triple H teamed with us in Japan. Hunter was calling us and texting us daily trying to get us to sign a deal. We talked with Hunter every Monday at TV. Their price kept going up. They were telling us, even Hunter, how much they wanted to have us."
Gallows admits that they were just looking and hearing offers for about a year. He said that he was not sure if AEW would actually live up to what it was hyped as since he had heard countless times in his career about alternative wrestling promotions.
"We were just dancing for a year," Gallows described. "We walked into [Mark] Carano's office a year before we were up. He's like, 'we want to talk contract boys.' We thought they were gonna forget we were f--king signed because the timing was during our rollercoaster ride. We're gonna ride this s--t out and get away from it, but they were riding us. They knew we were friends with Kenny and The Young Bucks. They knew we were gonna be on board.
"They knew we weren't happy with how we were used, but the other thing you have to remember is from a fan's perspective, this is jumping from WWE, the mecca, to something we're not sure is gonna happen or not. There's excitement there, but we're professional wrestlers by trade for a long time now. Over both of our careers, we've heard the next thing coming. This guy's got big money. You're gonna be on TV here. This is the next alternative. Nine times out of 10, it never comes to fruition."
Gallows points out that they had complete trust in their friends, but they were looking at the money they were making in WWE and wondered if that could be matched anywhere else. He said the offer came to a point where it was hard to say no.
"Not that we didn't trust our friends," Gallows noted. "We had all the faith in the world in them, but you're dealing with big corporations. Is this really gonna happen? Is this an option? If this doesn't happen, yes, we're American TV famous now, but how much is New Japan going to be pay? Is it gonna be comparable to awesome paydays we've been getting. Now, you're stacking up this downside guarantee, which in the past was so low and you had to work to make more.
"Is it gonna measure up? When Triple H is telling you we want this to be the deal that sets you up for the rest of your life. You're going, 'f--k man. We're gonna make a few million dollars for a few years here.' It's a hard thing to dance around. It comes down to it being hard to say no to somebody who's very charming."
Anderson said that the main event for the first Dynamite show was already planned with them in mind. It would be them debuting with The Elite but turning on them to close the show. He said not going through with that is one of the biggest regrets of his life.
"As it came close to June or something like that, I remember the text clearly from Matt and Nick, and they had planned out the entire debut of Dynamite's main event," Anderson revealed. "I'm gonna come out. Gallows comes from behind. We walk to the ring. We 'too sweet' The Young Bucks and Kenny. Turn around, everyone's happy and we beat the f--k out of them. We leave them laying like the end of the very first night of Nitro. I can chills as I say that because it's one of the biggest regrets of my life that didn't f--king happen. It kills me badly."
Anderson reiterates Gallows point of they knew their friends in The Elite would be successful. He admits they took in the thought of the money they were going to make in WWE feeling like it would be their last contract, and they would be WWE guys.
"I've said this a couple of times to Gallows," Anderson stated. "We don't know if this is gonna go on TNT. The only thing we know with the guys involved, The Bucks, Kenny [and] Chris Jericho. They're motherf--kers that are successful, and they're not gonna fail. They're just not gonna fail. We knew AEW was gonna be successful. We knew they would pop off. We just succumbed to the amount of money and promises kept or unkept. We signed with the thought that this was gonna be our last contract. We were ready to ride it out and wave the WWE flag as high as we f--king could."
Anderson talked about his relationship with Triple H. He and Gallows said that Triple H did not know what they did in Japan. Anderson said that many people thought he would be lost in the shuffle in WWE prompting him to want to prove people wrong. Reflecting on it, Anderson said that's what happened but doesn't put the blame on anyone.
"Triple H, who was the executive head of talent relations at that time, I don't really think he wanted us to be honest," Anderson stated. "He wanted AJ. I don't think he knew Gallows and I had been IWGP Tag Team Champions three times. I don't think he knew that we had four or five G1 Tag Title Championships. I don't think he gave a f--k that I went to the G1 Final in 2012.
"He didn't know any of that stuff. We were decent hands basically," Gallows added. "That's how we got treated when we came in.
"I didn't understand the WWE style," Anderson admitted. "I didn't understand the way this was going to work. I heard that when we go to the WWE, people were saying we'd get lost in the shuffle. As confident as I am in my abilities, I would say, 'want to f--king bet?' That was my answer to a lot of people that said it, and well, you look halfway through that contract, god damn, they got us. We got lost in the shuffle, and is that our fault or their fault?
"This isn't a blame thing. I don't know. People said he should have gone into Vince's office more. He doesn't want to see guys that he doesn't want in his office. He wants AJ in there because he wants to do something with AJ, but does he want Gallows and Anderson in there saying do something with us? F--k no man."
Gallows said they tried to go into Vince McMahon's office a few times. He said he and Big Cass pitched a storyline. However, the story was used later for a singles feud.
"We were in there a few times," Gallows answered. "I went in there one time. It was myself and Big Cass. We had a good little tag storyline. We had this idea, and we wanted some heat in the backstage area. We wanted to do this deal in the parking lot. We came up with something that was pretty clever. I don't remember the exact logistics of we trapped Cass in a car. We were gonna beat the f--k out of Enzo. Magic Killer on the hood in front of him.
"If you're not the guys they want that idea for, a similar idea will be used the following week on RAW with two singles guys. I went oh f--k. That's what happens when you go in there and they're not looking to use you in that light. It happens a lot."
Anderson said that not only were AEW offering a contract, but Impact were also offering a deal that he says was worth more than some people are making in WWE. They ended up signing with WWE, and Gallows said that his flight to Jacksonville was more of a vacation for him and his current wife because there was not point of having a meeting with AEW President and CEO Tony Khan having already signed with WWE.
"AEW, they weren't throwing chump change at us. It was a really good contract that still kind of eats at me a little bit," Anderson admitted. "Impact in 2019 also offered a really great deal. Truthfully a lot more money than I know some of my friends are making now in WWE. The Bucks had set us up with a contract. They said, 'listen, let's get you in there with Tony and just talk to him.' Then we flew to Japan. Agreed with Hunter and shook his hand.
"I flew from Japan to Jacksonville for this meeting with my now wife who flew there to meet me," Gallows recalled. "I went well there's no f--king meeting so I guess we'll hang out at the beach for a few days. I kind of went to The Bucks and asked should I go this meeting and tell him? They weren't happy at the time. What's the point? We signed a contract? What's he have to f--king say to you really?"
Anderson said that they told The Elite that they were coming to AEW. Gallows said that internally at AEW, they have heat with some of the higher-ups who are still offended, but Gallows says that their decision was not personal, and they were looking out for their families.
"I would say for a good six months, we told The Bucks and Kenny we were coming," Anderson revealed. "We were f--king coming no matter what. We were that ready to go. This is where it bothers me a lot that we didn't bet on ourselves. We knew we f--king should have. That's why I'm so glad with FTR being able to get out on their own terms doing what they did. There were some hard feelings. We trusted The Bucks. They told other parties we were coming, and we didn't come. It made it look like they couldn't close a deal.
"There was probably a little heat internally there," Gallows added. "It's not hard to figure out. A friend who's in a high-power position there who was like what the f--k guys? I think he's still a little offended by it. My answer to him if he ever hears this or reads the transcript, none of this was ever personal. We appreciated the offer and everything everyone was trying to do for us.
"It was clearly just a business decision. Looking at a five-year deal as opposed to a two-year deal with one year options, but when you start calculating that money it's gonna be in five years especially since you're gonna be here in the full term of these fives years, you're stacking millions and millions and millions against, ultimately, a smaller figure. Should we have taken the smaller figure, bet on ourselves and be really cool again like we were in New Japan? F--k yes.
"I think a lot of other people in that situation would go back, look at your kids and your wife and go alright honey, how do I say no to them backing a bank trunk to our house and dropping the load in front of the door? That's a hard answer. A mistake was made, but there was logic behind it. It wasn't harmful, to be spiteful or backdoor anybody. It was truly, honestly a business decision to do what we thought was best for our families because Karl and I have been doing this for 18 f--king years. We feel great now, but who knows?"
Gallows recalled the conversation they had with Triple H. Anderson and Gallows said they had a heart-to-heart conversation with Triple H about wanting to be used more and how it could be the last big contract they sign.
"He pulled us into the office and said, 'what do you guys want?' We were still dancing still," Gallows said. "We were talking to AEW. He pulled us in and said, 'what do you guys want?' In his dressing room getting dressed, we're semi-dressed, 'just tell me what you want?' Instead of going, we want this much money for this many years.
"We started pouring our f--king hearts out to the dude because we felt close to him. If it's going to be five years like you want, it could be the last big contract we ever sign. We need to have the security, but we don't know. It was a storm of mixed emotions.
"We had a few really close heart-to-heart's," Anderson agreed. "Of course, it was about the money, but we told him we just want to work. We want to be on TV. We want to do everything you got for us. We don't wanna sit on the f--king sidelines."
Anderson recalls creative decisions being changed so quickly. He said that was when he realized that Paul Heyman was put in charge of RAW after coming to the conclusion that they were going to leave WWE.
"We got a text about our creative on the very next night. We had just formed The OC, just beat the f--k out of Ricochet, got a big pop and just turned heel. The very next week, creative sent us an email about what we're gonna do, and it had Ricochet beat me in two seconds. Gallows gets beat in two seconds. I remember we were going what?
"I texted Triple H the night before because I don't where he is in creative. I go, I thought they would at least wait until three months in to kill us off because it's like what the f--k just happened? That's when he asked, 'well did you talk to Paul Heyman?' We had been so checked out from giving a f--k about what was going on because we thought we were leaving that I didn't even realize that Paul was in charge of running RAW. I said no. He said Paul's calling you now, and then Paul Heyman called."
Anderson and Gallows reiterated their statements they said with AJ Styles calling Paul Heyman a liar after Styles said similar words. Gallows reveals a conversation with Heyman where Heyman said if he had ever lied to them, then they could call him out on social media for the rest of the locker room to know, and Gallows did just that.
"We had a f--king great talk," Anderson recalled from their conversation. "I wouldn't call myself a 'Paul Heyman guy'. I thought Paul Heyman was a big fan of mine, and even Gallows said a couple of times he loves you.
"He loves you. He loves your work," Gallows remembers Heyman saying. "He was complimentary to both of us. He really loved him. That's why in TalkNShopAMania, his name his Ball Layman. We had this conversation in a rental car in a parking lot before we got on the phone with him. I was like, 'man, all you ever read from the guys who came before us say he's the greatest charmer but the biggest bulls--ter in the history of this business.' We're both going we hope to God he's not bulls--ting us, but we have these big contracts and we're rolling with AJ.
"You got to think positive right because to the end, he's putting us over and telling us how good we are. If I ever lie to you, this is a quote, go on social media and f--king bury me. F--king put me under the dirt because I f--king deserve it, and I want those guys in the locker room to know that I can't f--king be trusted. So guys in the locker room, he can't f--king be trusted, and we're online and I just f--king buried him."
Rocky Romero joined in on the podcast where he discussed the NJPW side of things. He talked about how important Gallows and Anderson are to NJPW and why their return would be a big deal.
"Obviously, New Japan is a home to these guys," Romero noted. "It's where they cut their teeth especially for Karl since that's where he got started. It changed Gallows' life as well. You're guys' relationship as a tag team. It all started in New Japan with Bullet Club. Obviously, when you guys left, it changed the business as well.
"I think for New Japan and New Japan fans, the return of The Big LG and Karl Anderson is gonna be a huge deal. At this time, AEW had just started, the wrestling world had changed completely. Everybody who was a free agent were getting big money offers. We made them a great offer, and they were very serious about it. For you guys, the plan was no matter what work back in Japan."
Anderson said that NJPW were offering an exclusive deal, and Romero asked Anderson what it would take to make that happen. Anderson said he gave Romero a number, and that lead Romero to move on and enjoy the dinner they were having.
"New Japan was offering where they didn't want us to do other stuff. Just solely for New Japan," Anderson said. "Rock[y Romero] looked at us. I'll never forget it. He goes, 'we want you only for New Japan. What's it gonna take?' I looked at Rock and I looked at Gallows, and I dropped a number. He's like hmm, another round of sake."
Anderson said that later discussions had them working with AEW and NJPW similar to Jon Moxley's and Chris Jericho's outstations. A storyline that was planned in NJPW involved a feud between Moxley and Anderson that would lead to a big match at the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom.
"Then Rock did call us back," Anderson noted. "He said, 'we can't give you what you're asking for there. We want you guys to do AEW, and we can work out dates. You guys can work for this amount of money.' The storyline we hard worked out there was just as badass as the one on Dynamite. I was gonna beat the f--k out of Moxley in Ryogoku and beat him down. We would have a fight. Then I would beat him down again in November. Then it would be me and Moxley at Tokyo Dome with Gallows coming out, helping out and win the title. There's so much regret about that."
As Gallows and Anderson were talking about the regret they have for not signing with AEW and coming back to NJPW, Romero revealed that he got a text from The Young Bucks. He said that they were wondering why Gallows and Anderson signed with WWE saying "they're gonna be f--ked."
"I got a text message from Matt and Nick, The Young Bucks," Romero revealed. "It was just saying, 'these motherf--kers screwed us.' He said, 'what they f--k are they thinking? That's a tremendous offer from both companies. What the f--k are they thinking signing back with WWE? They're gonna be f--ked.' Fast forward to today."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk'N Shop with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.