Anthony Bowens knew he belonged in AEW but it took a little longer than expected for him to realize when he “arrived.” Bowens was the latest guest on “Talk Is Jericho” and spoke about his initial journey down to Jacksonville. There was interest from AEW during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but making the stars align for Bowens to actually work a show was difficult due to the added protocols.

”Finally, I was just like, ‘Screw it,’” Bowens said. “I’ll take my chances and fly down there. I came down there and worked a Dark in Jacksonville in empty Daily’s Place against Luther and Serpentico,” Bowens said.

“It aired two weeks later cause we were taping everything in advance, and about maybe 12 hours after that, the next morning, I get a message on Twitter from WWE. ‘Hey, we want you to talk to [William] Regal.’”

Bowens said he was offered a deal to go to NXT and still hadn’t heard anything back from AEW following his match. In addition to that, he didn’t know who to contact or how to follow up.

”I said, ‘Yes.’ I was like, ‘Alright, I did it. This is great!’ Somewhere along the lines, Tony [Khan] found out about this and offered me to come down and meet him. They hadn’t sent me a contract yet, and this was maybe two or three weeks after I said yes, so I was like, ‘You know what? It wouldn’t hurt to hear this guy out and see what he says.’ So I flew down to Jacksonville and I was going there. I get into the elevator and there is Max Caster.”

Caster trained at Create-A-Pro New Jersey while Bowens trained at Create-A-Pro New York. The two knew one another and were on friendly terms, but they weren’t super close at the time.

“I’m like, ‘Hey! What are you doing here?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, I’m here to talk to Tony.’ ‘Well, I’m here to talk to Tony.’ And then we found out that we were there to talk to Tony together, and we were trying to figure out what was happening, and then we get brought into TK’s office and he’s like, ‘Hey, I have this idea for you two. I like you guys, I’d like to call you guys — ‘The Acclaimed.’ And we’re like, ‘Okay, that’s awesome,’ but also, at the same time, I was just, ‘I just said yes to NXT.’ Like, it’s a risk cause if you don’t like me, then this match airs and then they see that and then I’m screwed.’ And he’s like, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go out and have this match.’ We went out, we worked Best Friends, we had a great match, came back through the curtain, and I saw him give a thumbs up. And I wanted to to be here in the first place when the place first opened, my focus shifted here.”

Bowens and Caster were featured players on the “Blood & Guts” special of “AEW Dynamite” last Wednesday as Caster and The Gunn Club lost to FTR and Danhausen in a six-man tag. It was a miscommunication on the part of Bowens who revealed he no longer needed a wheelchair or crutch to get around. Bowens stood up and threw a crutch in the ring for the chicanery, but it was used to level Austin Gunn instead. The loss caused tension between The Acclaimed and The Gunn Club, but it was Billy Gunn who seemingly sided with Bowens and Caster following the confrontation.

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