FTR - which can stand for Formerly The Revival, among other things - were on Jim Cornette’s podcast this week.
Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler have long had a mutual admiration society with the manager & booker turned historian & firebrand. Cornette’s been a vocal critic of FTR’s new bosses at AEW. As much as Corny’s turned off many modern wrestling fans in the past few years, a lot of folks were interested to see how their conversation played out.
The answer is... really well for fans of playing “work or shoot”.
The host doesn’t refrain from his usual diatribes about the Bucks and their “Cirque du B***s***” style of wrestling, and Dax & Cash don’t push back on it at all. Instead, as they did when they were on Talk is Jericho, they present their issues with Matt & Nick Jackson as being legit; The Bucks didn’t check with them before making “FTR” a running gag on Being The Elite.
A bigger issue is something the Jacksons’ “best friend” Cody Rhodes said. Harwood explained:
Jim hops in at that point, saying that Cody of all people should know what an insult that is “to people who are in the wrestling business, who take pride in that and consider themselves wrestlers,” even if “modern fans” don’t understand that. Harwood continued:“I think to them [The Young Bucks] honestly in the back of their mind it [the ‘FTR’ jokes on BTE] was just ‘ha-ha’ fun. And that’s okay to have ‘ha-ha’ fun. But, and me & Cash took it at that and we never responded, because why do we want to give them attention? But there was a point where Cody Rhodes, who is a best friend of the Bucks, he went on Sam Roberts podcast. And Sam Roberts said, ‘who do you honestly think is the best tag team in the world? FTR or The Young Bucks?’
“Cody said, ‘100% I believe it’s The Young Bucks.’ And Sam said. ‘why do you believe that?’ And Cody said, ‘well, The Revival they’re a great tag team,’ he said, ‘but they go in and they practice their matches for weeks at a time at The P.C. before they have them.’ And that got me so - it pissed me off so much, and I’m getting real hot right now talking about it. Because, one, he’s trying to $#!+ on our legacy. I’ve never, in 15 years, not once have I ever practiced a wrestling match. So with him saying that, it kind of - I felt like he was trying to tarnish what we had built up. So that’s what really pissed me off is they took it from something that was ‘ha-ha’ funny to making it personal.”
So that’s the beef. What’s it leading to? Well, earlier in the conversation the three men spent some time establishing Dax & Cash’s bonafides in real life fights. So when Corny asks if AEW President Tony Khan knows FTR might be about to “embarrass” two of his Executive Vice-Presidents, he’s intimating the North Carolinians might shoot on the brothers from Southern California. Harwood & Wheeler say that Khan’s not only aware of it, but likes the idea. It’s here they claim they haven’t signed any kind of long-term contract with AEW. They’re here to kick the Bucks asses, and see what happens from there.“That’s his buddies and to me, when we heard that, we felt that that’s what Nick & Matt thought. They felt the same way. That we just practice our matches and we’re not as good as them. So whether they believe that or not, they got the residual heat from what Cody said and that’s the thing that bothers us.”
There’s some discussion about past instances where these kind of handshake deals haven’t worked out well for promoters in the past, and honestly, I think it’s pretty unlikely FTR isn’t signed to a long-term deal. AEW announced them like they were, and Dax admits there’s “a huge possibility” they’ll end up sticking around.“That’s the thing. So, we’re negotiating still. We have a short-term almost handshake deal because they want to get this thing done because it’s been talked about for so many years. So we’re not under any long-term obligation to anybody...
“We’ve been very transparent with them that we’re willing to work with these guys, but there’s a very real possibility that it’s not going to be pretty and we’re not going respond well to some of the things they said before. He knows this…
”I think Tony is very aware of those things you said, I think he knows and I think he welcomes it. He seems very excited about the possibility that things could get real ugly real quick and if he’s willing to do these deals that he’s kind of put in place right now, to me that’s the green light to do whatever we need to do.”
But Harwood does say there are lots of teams all over the world they want to test themselves against, and says he doesn’t think Khan would “be too happy with us if we had signed a contract and then came on your show.”
Which leads to the last tantalizing tidbit floated in the conversation... the possibility of Cornette showing up on Dynamite despite the things he’s said about the Jacksons and Kenny Omega (and many members of the AEW roster) in the past. Corny talks about how FTR is just what Khan’s company needs, and Dax responds, “The only thing that’d make that better is if you were there with us.”
To which Jim responds:
The AEW brass is on record as not being interested in doing business with Cornette. But this wrestling, where “never say never” is a way of life.“That’s the thing, if you tell Tony Khan, ‘Okay, Cornette will come and be in our corner and dress your show up as long as it’s close as Little Rock and Connie comes with it,’ but I’ll do anything between Little Rock and Pittsburgh as long as you get both those teams in one day and prove your dominance and then we can start trying to find some tag teams around the world to sign to give you guys a good fight.”
Would you be interested in that? Are you buying the real heat FTR’s selling, and the possibility of real violence that comes with it?
You can listen to the entire episode of The Jim Cornette Experience, which opens with a tribute to George Floyd and talk of what’s definitely going on in the real world right now, here. Just the Dax & Cash interview is embedded above.