It will have been two years this fall since Anthony Bowens joined AEW, leading to the formation of The Acclaimed, many declarations that the Acclaimed has arrived in numerous cities, and the occasional scissoring poses with The Gunn Club, aka The Ass Boys. But to hear Bowens tell it, there was another path he nearly took around the time he joined AEW.

In an interview with the LGBT Sport Podcast, Bowens talked about getting his foot in the door with AEW by working an “AEW Dark” taping, and how that brought interest from AEW, as well as another promotion that had once sought Bowens years earlier.

“A couple years before that, I had interest from NXT/WWE,” Bowens said. “Then I didn’t hear from them. When my match with AEW aired, I heard from them the next day and they offered me a deal. Tony Khan caught wind of it and brought me down to Jacksonville, which ended up being the same thing that was happening to Max Caster. And Tony ended up pairing myself with Max Caster, he wanted us to be The Acclaimed.

“We went out and wrestled that night, and he offered us contracts when we came through the curtain. AEW, since it opened, was where I was looking, I switched my focus to it. I just really wanted to be here. So I took the opportunity and we ran with it.”

Some fans will remember that Bowens did work for WWE NXT briefly in 2016, where he and partner Jonathan Ortagun were defeated in a squash match by the Authors of Pain. Bowens has noted in the past that WWE didn’t contact him for another three years following the match, which saw him get knocked out after Ortagun was powerbombed onto his head.

Bowens is currently out of action with a knee injury. That has not stopped him from accompanying partner Max Caster and the Gunn Club to the ring, and he is expected to be in their corner tomorrow night on “AEW Rampage” when Caster, Austin, and Colten Gunn take on Bear Country and Leon Ruffin.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The LGBT Sport Podcast and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription”

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