In a weekend filled with wrestling, a live episode of FTR with Dax Harwood aired on Fite TV. It clashed with Impact and NJPW’s Multiverse United, so it speaks volumes about those involved that this writer believed it took precedence over a PPV crossover.
I’ve always been one for intrigue. I still slow down for car crashes. On some level, the FTR with Dax Harwood podcast offers a mix of these. You’re going to be afforded some insight, a look behind the curtain, and there’s a chance Dax will say something to anger either a fellow wrestler, the fans, or both.
He’s completely aware of this. Throughout, there were comments made about his tendency to rub people up the wrong way. It was good to see Cash Wheeler offer the sort of support most of us can only dream about receiving from our friends. It’s the strength of that connection which permeates into their on-screen characters. Fans want to fight for FTR.
The cloud of a WWE departure still looms large. Anyone hoping for hints here will be sorely disappointed. There were as many throwaway comments which support the idea as there were working against it. If they are leaving, they’re giving the job for The Gunns every service. The AEW Tag Champions appeared in the middle of proceedings, cut a generic promo, and were escorted out.
Gimmicks never take breaks, ask Mark Galloway.
Special mention for how good Matt Koon is live with an ad-lib.
What came across strong was how Dax has filled his life with good people. Powerhouse Hobbs appears to be the most genuine guy in the business. Despite personal tragedies that would have floored most people, he’s continued to develop into a main event player.
Shawn Spears is an honest speaker. Acutely aware that by not politicking, he’s probably placed a ceiling on his career. But I agree with the ethics of this choice: it’s better to have restrictions placed upon you that represent integrity, than sell your morals and float into corruptible purgatory.
With Wardlow on stage, they spoke of how good The Pinnacle should have been. FTR with Spears and Wardlow could still be repackaged, minus MJF, and cause havoc as a fan-favourite act. It would work because these guys have each other’s backs.
One thing that stood out for me was how this live chat inadvertently highlighted an issue affecting both AEW and WWE. In all fairness, it actually is a bigger problem for AEW. There were two moments in the show when it came to light. The first was when Cash and Dax took a question from a nine-year-old boy. He’d asked what their dream match would be and for what titles.
Dax, attempting to gauge the boy’s knowledge, asked for his favourite wrestler. Dax offered Cena from WWE, Kenny Omega from AEW. Cena probably hasn’t been around enough in recent times for a nine-year-old to appreciate. Kenny is beloved by wrestling purists and fans who have followed him elsewhere. But Orange Cassidy probably engages more with kids, and no disrespect – he is a special talent, and deserves all the success coming his way – OC isn’t a Cena, a Hogan, a Rock.
The silence of the nine-year-old made more sense when Shawn Spears spoke about how he loved the wrestling part but had always been driven by the character aspect. That characters pulled him into the sport. He mentioned Mr. Perfect. This rang so very, very true. He was the first character that pulled me into WWF. As a kid, my finisher of choice was the Perfect Plex. Not a fancy move (a fisherman’s suplex) but cool because I’d bought into the man delivering it.
Perhaps there are too many professional wrestlers nowadays too wrapped up in themselves. They’ve forgotten the goal to get over with the fans. Sure, many big names were notorious for backstage politics, but they used their drawing power to leverage the outcomes they wanted. Nowadays it seems wrestlers learn to politick an hour after learning their first hip toss.
FTR with Dax Live assured us there are genuine good guys in the business, we just need to give them a chance to shine.