The rumors are true. The tag team of Karl Anderson and Luke “Doc” Gallows are headed to Impact Wrestling. They were released by WWE in mid-April and now that their 90-day no compete clause is up, they announced that they will be a part of Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view tonight. Their Impact Wrestling signing was reported a few weeks ago and they confirmed it in a video on their Youtube channel last night. They have signed a two year deal with Impact Wrestling that will also allow them to work for New Japan Pro Wrestling as well.
The team of Anderson and Gallows did a long podcast interview with Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin, who we thank for the quotes below. The full video of the interview is at the bottom of this post.
Gallows and Anderson signed with WWE in 2016 (Gallows had been in WWE a decade prior to that as well) and as 2019 approached, they started to think about their future. Eventually, they signed a five-year contract extensions to return to WWE that saw them aligned with AJ Styles again. The duo said they were very close to going to All Elite Wrestling since they were close friends with guys like the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega.
Gallows spoke about how they were a bit unsure about AEW at first (when it was announced in January 2019), but they were also interested in it.
“This is jumping from WWE, the mecca, to something that we’re not sure if it’s gonna happen or not. So, there’s excitement there, but we’re professional wrestlers by trade for a long time now. And, over both of our careers, you’ve heard of the next big thing coming. This guy’s got big money. They’re gonna be on TV here. This is gonna be the next alternative. And nine times out of ten it never comes to fruition.”
“Not that we didn’t trust our friends, we had all the faith in the world in them, but you’re dealing with big corporations and business and millions, if not a billion dollars, and all of this stuff. So … is this really gonna happen? Is this really a viable option? If it doesn’t happen, yes, we’re television American TV famous now. How much is New Japan going to pay? Is it going to be comparable to these awesome paydays we’ve been getting? And now you’re stacking up this downside guarantee, which in the past was so low. And you had to work to make more. I mean … is it gonna measure up? Is there gonna be enough money there?”
“When Triple H is telling you, ‘I want this to be the deal that sets you up for the rest of your life.’ And you’re going, ‘F*ck, man. We’re gonna make a few million dollars over a few years here, it’s a hard thing to dance around.”
Anderson explained that the reason they signed with WWE was because of job security, which is not a bad thing obviously considering Anderson is married with four sons.
“We knew that AEW would be successful. We knew they would pop off. We just succumbed to the amount of money and promises, kept or unkept … but we signed because of the thought that this was going to be our last contract and we were ready to ride it out.”
Anderson went on to say that they even had plans sent to them (in June 2019) by the Young Bucks for the first episode of AEW Dynamite in October 2019.
“Machine Gun music is gonna hit. 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 then we beat the f*ck out of them. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life that that didn’t f*cking happen. It kills me. Badly.”
Later in June 2019, they were teaming with Triple H in Japan at some WWE live events, Triple H wanted them to name a price so to speak and eventually during that tour, Gallows and Anderson signed the contracts. They expressed that there may have been some tension with the AEW guys after that, but apparently all is cool now.
Gallows further explained why they felt like it was right to sign with WWE at that time.
“We appreciated the offer (from AEW) and everything everyone was trying to do for us. It was clearly just a business decision. We’re looking at a five-year deal as opposed to a two-year deal with maybe a one-year option. When you start calculating that money and where you’re going to be in five years, especially with ‘you’re gonna be here for the full term’ and there’s plans for you after and all that. You’re stacking millions and millions and millions and millions up against, ultimately a smaller figure. Should we have taken the smaller figure, bet on ourselves and done something really cool again like we were in New Japan? F*CK YES! Is the egg on our face? It’s running down my f*cking face right now, BUT I think a lot of other people in that situation would go back and look at your kids and your wife and go … ‘Alright, honey. How do I say no to them backing a bank truck up to the front of the house and dropping the load in front of the door?!’ That’s a hard answer. It’s hard to even talk about right now, we talk about it a lot privately, we talked about it to death privately. A mistake was made, but there was logic behind it. It wasn’t to be harmful or spiteful or back-door anybody. It was truly, honestly a business decision to do what we thought was best for our families.”
As for their release, the “Good Brothers” shared a lot of information on why they believe Paul Heyman played a big part in why they were fired. You may recall that in mid-April WWE fired several wrestlers and many of them were not being used on television regularly, but Gallows and Anderson did appear nearly every week as part of The OC group with AJ Styles. When their names were on the list of fired wrestlers, it was a surprise to a lot of people. Since it was considered a cost-cutting measure (even though this will likely be WWE’s most profitable year ever thanks to TV contracts), the belief was that since Gallows and Anderson signed big five year contracts last summer that cutting them would save some money. We know AJ Styles wasn’t happy about it and he alluded to G&A sharing more details when they could, which they did last night.
At the time of the WWE releases in April, Heyman was still the WWE Raw Executive Director and he had a lot of power under WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Anderson talked about how they tried to get more info about their release. Thanks to WrestlingInc for the transcript for this part of the story.
“In trying to get to the bottom of [us being let go] – because it did feel f–king weird, so we started kinda asking around, like, ‘What the f–k happened?’ And then we hear, ‘Well, it was Paul Heyman inspired.’ And I was like, ‘Really?’ And so we told AJ that… So, AJ went to somebody and asked, ‘Is this Paul Heyman inspired?’ They said, ‘Yes’. AJ went to Paul Heyman and said, ‘Did you fire these guys, or did you put the word in to fire them?’ And Paul said, ‘No, you have my word.'”
“‘If I would have known, then I would have gone to bat for them,'” Karl recalled Paul saying.
“And AJ went, ‘Okay’, he went back to that [first] guy… he goes, ‘Is this what happened?’ and the person goes, ‘Yes’. So, AJ goes in to Vince and he says, ‘You’ve got to tell me the truth, is Paul the one that said to fire these guys?’ Vince told AJ, he said, ‘Listen, they weren’t on my list, but yes, this was a Heyman thing.'”
Gallows summed it this way.
“Apparently he thought we were making too much money for what we were doing, and he’s a f–ing liar and he’s a piece of s–t.”
Anderson also spoke about how it was also up to Vince McMahon and he’s right about that.
“And at the end of the day, I still think it was a Vince thing. You know, Vince could have gone to bat for us.”
Gallows also explained that AJ Styles was moved from Raw to Smackdown because he couldn’t trust Paul Heyman anymore.
“AJ, he didn’t want to be there alone. When you’re at the very top, you don’t have a lot of friends at the very top especially if you’re not a WWE bred talent, especially if you’re not in developmental with these guys, and going up and down the road for years and then you get to that top level. Those guys have a lot of friends.”
“I have permission to speak freely on this and he said f*cking bury Paul and tell the truth about it. That’s why he said he couldn’t work with him and that he had to be moved, because Paul’s a f*cking liar. It doesn’t matter that he lied to us. For his friends, yes … but, probably career-wise, he can’t trust the guy either if you’re AJ still in that spot and you don’t want to work with a guy that you know is a f*cking liar.”
“[AJ] said to f–king bury Paul and tell the truth about it, and [the lies Paul told] are why he couldn’t work with him and he said he needed to be moved [to SmackDown].”
This was long and more than what we usually as an interview transcript, but we felt like we need to share most of the comments. You can check out the full nearly two-hour podcast below.
TJR Thoughts: I watched most of this late last night and will finish it today at some point. I’m happy Anderson and Gallows appear to be happy even though they have a legit reason to be pissed off with WWE since they got fired less than one year after getting a huge five-year contract extension. I wish G&A the best going forward.