Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler of FTR have defended AEW for hiring a number of former WWE stars, instead of just independent names.
A number of ex-WWE talents have joined AEW in recent months, including the likes of Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Ruby Soho and Adam Cole. The company often receives criticism for signing notable names, instead of focusing solely on future prospects.
Speaking with TSN, Harwood and Wheeler explained that a good locker-room should have a mix of young upstarts and experienced wrestling veterans, noting:
Harwood: “There are a lot of fans, and it boggles my mind, who are upset by this. They’re upset by seeing a lot of former WWE talent (in AEW). They’ve got to understand AEW cannot just hire independent wrestlers because if they only hire independent wrestlers for a television product, it’s almost like the blind leading the blind. You have to have people who are experienced in television wrestling because it’s a completely different beast from just professional wrestling.”
Wheeler: “The people we’ve signed, they’re all signed for a reason – because they’re so good at what they do and they’re going to help everybody else in the process,” Wheeler said. So, the company gets better by signing these people. And I hate when people call them ‘ex-WWE this’ or ‘ex-WWE that’ because yeah, we’ve worked there.
“We’ve all worked there at some point, but that doesn’t make us their property or like we didn’t learn these things some time before that, also. We’ve all learned these things from decades of hard work, decades of putting in the grind and going all over to get good enough to where we can get jobs with the best wrestling companies in the world and it just so happens that now there’s another huge, great wrestling company and that hasn’t been around for 20-plus years.
“So now there’s options and there are going to be people coming over and that’s just how it’s going to be, but that doesn’t mean the company is going to be the next whatever. They’re killing it right now. They’re signing the people that need to be signed and wrestling is better because of it.”
At Full Gear on November 13, FTR unsuccessfully challenged The Lucha Brothers for the AEW Tag Team Championship.
Following the pay-per-view, backstage morale in AEW has reportedly been ‘very high’, with some believing the company’s investments in future stars are paying off.