Before they competed in AEW as FTR, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler (then known as Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) performed in WWE under the name The Revival.
The team was a no-nonsense response to the flash and high-flying style that had been becoming increasingly popular at the time, using the phrase “No flips just fists” to describe their style. However, in April of 2020, it was reported that Vince McMahon had presented the team with an entirely new gimmick that would see the pair turn into a comedy team, complete with bowties and bright colors.
Speaking on the latest episode of FTR with Dax Harwood, the former Scott Dawson revealed that the initial pitch for the duo’s comedy gimmick was originally something else entirely and would have seen the pair imitate tag teams of the past.
“Before the clown outfits were presented to us, the initial idea was, Cash and I were going to be a different 80s wrestler or tag team every week. Bruce (Prichard) told us this He tried to sell us, ‘this is the greatest thing in the world. Week one, you’re going to come in as The Fantastics. We’re going to give you the little trunks with your ass cheeks hanging out. You’re going to wear coattails and high-top hats, you come strutting out, sequins everywhere.
“Next week, you’re gonna be the Bushwhackers, you come out and lick each other’s heads and do the walk. The next week, you’re going to come out in tassels and wearing old rock n roll headbands, you’ll be the Rock N Roll Express. The following week, you’ll be Bobby (Eaton) and Dennis (Condrey), and we’ll give you mullets.’”
Continuing, Dax Harwood recalled an argument with Bruce Prichard over the gimmick’s proposal. While Prichard tried to convince the star that the personas would be money, Harwood believed it was being done in an effort to embarrass the team after they’d turned down new WWE contracts. Not only that, he believed it would turn his wrestling heroes into nothing more than a joke.
“You think this is money? This was when we had turned down the contracts. You’re going to waste television time to have us do this, just to embarrass us? That’s the part to me that’s stupid. Not giving us the characters that is stupid, you’re going to waste television time to embarrass us, why, to make Vince (McMahon) laugh?
“Bruce is going to call us in his office to try to sell us on it, as it’s this great visionary idea. I looked at Bruce, we kind of had words, ‘You think this is good?’ ‘This is great for you guys, it’s what you need.’
“I’m going to be making fun of the people that I think have built this business and legacy. We’re not only going to shit on me and Cash, we’re going to shit on them too, ‘the Rock N Roll Express are nothing but jokes. The Fantastics and Fabulous Ones were corny 80s wrestling.’ These are my heroes.
“The next week they told us that, they gave us the verbiage of ‘going down yonder to sit on the creek with our grandma and grandpa to shoot some muskrats.’ Whatever they think rednecks say. I had the mic to say the verbiage and I said, ‘this is some real Martin Scorsese shit,’ and I threw it down.”
Triple H Laughed At Dax Harwood’s Outburst
Following Dax’s argument with Bruce Prichard, the star was called into Triple H’s office to discuss the situation.
“I got called to Hunter [Triple H] and Bruce’s office. Hunter did laugh, he thought it was funny. They never devoted TV time to let us develop as characters, but they were willing to devote TV time for this and to try and embarrass guys who I considered to be heroes. That’s what bothered me.”
Dax Harwood said it bothered him that Bruce Prichard tried to sell the gimmick as something that would make money instead of presenting it as a challenge to The Revival. He also recalled being told that his heroes The Brain Busters never drew money in wrestling.
“Bruce could have easily said, ‘I know this isn’t the greatest creative in the world, but as professionals, just go out there and show ’em. Show ’em you can make this work,’ but he didn’t. He tried to sell it to us.
“He said, ‘everyone compares you guys to Arn (Anderson) and Tully (Blanchard), being this great tag team. Honestly, Arn and Tully never drew money.’ ‘You think so?’ ‘Yeah, they never drew money.’ ‘You’re telling me 1985-1986 Crockett, they didn’t draw money?’ ‘No, they didn’t draw money.’ ‘With the Four Horsemen?’ ‘No, they didn’t draw money.’ Whatever.”
FTR are currently on an extended hiatus from AEW television. They were last in action at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, where they lost the IWGP Tag Team Title to Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI).