On April 4, 2020, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson were involved in the most talked-about match at WrestleMania when AJ Styles lost to The Undertaker in a Boneyard Match.
Surprisingly, just 12 days later, WWE released Gallows and Anderson amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The duo reemerged on July 18 as the newest signees of IMPACT Wrestling at their Slammiversary pay-per-view — but not before they held court with a revealing interview on their Talk ‘N Shop podcast that pulled the curtain back on their time with the WWE, discussed joining IMPACT Wrestling and their own upcoming pay per view Talk ‘N Shop A Mania that takes place on Aug. 1.
Gallows sat down with Sporting News to plug some holes from their revealing interview, including what the Bullet Club thought of The OC, tag team wrestling in WWE, when they will return to New Japan Pro Wrestling and the twists and turns leading up to their debut at Slammiversary.
Sporting News (SN): What’s the feedback been like after the Talk ‘N Shop livestream?
Doc Gallows (DG): The feedback was actually great. As far as the negative stuff about the WWE that I said specifically, it truly is water under the bridge, but I felt like I had to say it. And then we were really excited to announce the move to sign with IMPACT Wrestling and, of course, Talk ‘N Shop A Mania, which we’re super excited about. It feels like wrestling got a shot in the arm with some fresh new stuff that’s coming up and I’m very happy to be a part of all that.
SN: I want to fill in a few holes from the show. One is whether you were at all surprised that Triple H and Vince McMahon had no idea of your accomplishments in New Japan Pro Wrestling prior to signing you.
DG: I think they knew we had some buzz because of the Bullet Club so I figure that they saw it as a chance to scoop up two Bullet Club guys who were making some waves in NJPW. WWE has historically gone after guys who are doing well outside of the WWE. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be handled the same way when they get inside because, as history has shown us, WWE likes to create their own stars, not necessarily work on previously existing ones. I don’t know what they expected with us. But you got to take what’s handed to you and do your best with it.
SN: How much WWE programming did you watch before you signed?
DG: Not a lot. We were in our own bubble at New Japan because we were so busy.
SN: The reason I ask is that the prevailing thought has been that WWE has little interest in the tag team division. But, at the same time, it appeared that there was a resurgence when you arrived as well as teams like The Revival, The New Day, The Usos, etc.
DG: For sure, man! We thought there was definitely hope but whenever we got a glimmer of that it went away. They are a company that believes the drawing power is in the singles rivalries and that’s their thing. But tag team wrestling does matter, it just happens to matter on a different channel.
SN: When it was decided that you, Karl and AJ would form The Original Club as a shot at the Bullet Club, did you talk to the friends in New Japan about it?
DG: I talk to the Young Bucks, Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale all the time. When we told them about The OC they said “good for you guys.” We always support each other. They had high hopes for it, as did we.
SN: You were very close to joining AEW and ended up burning them by resigning with WWE. How has communication been since then?
DG: I’m so proud of those guys. When The OC thing started and we saw the creative thing for Karl and me, we texted them and said “Well, we f—ked up. We made a bad decision.” Everybody is over it now and we can laugh about it. We knew that Cody, the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega and the rest wouldn’t let that fail. But we didn’t know it would be such a smashing success. It’s good for pro wrestling.
SN: Was it also good to see talent like EC3 and Eric Young come home to IMPACT considering how seldom they were used in the WWE?
DG: EC3 looked like a million bucks and gave a hell of a promo when he returned. IMPACT knew how to play to his strengths and it was great to see him back. Fans are smart now and they understand talent thrive somewhere else but haven’t necessarily been given a platform elsewhere. Eric Young is a perfect example of a guy who was on top at IMPACT and didn’t get the opportunity to show what he had in WWE. It’s good for him to be home. They aren’t a bunch of WWE rejects, they have succeeded outside of WWE.
SN: You were also joining IMPACT at a time of uncertainty and plenty of changes happened before Slammiversary aired. Tessa Blanchard left the company and the likes of Joey Ryan and Michael Elgin were also removed due to the #SpeakingOut campaign of women addressing sexual abuse and assault in pro wrestling.
DG: Definitely. I talked to Scott D’Amore every day and would check-in when something would pop up because it felt like their creative was getting rocked every week. But I think with us teasing our arrival and all of the surprises it helped build the buzz so that we could trend No. 1 on Twitter the night of Slammiversary. It’s a fun challenge to have because we are not the WWE and we have our own mountains to climb. We’re up for the challenge.
SN: When will you be returning to New Japan?
DG: We’re just waiting for the world to open up. We’re trying to figure out dates so that we can make our big return. It’s going to be a big deal when we come back. What you’re going to get is the old school Gallows and Anderson that made you like us as a team. The Disneyworld feel is gone. We’re back to doing what we do best.
SN: But the Bullet Club is completely different now…
DG: Yeah it is! I didn’t see the EVIL thing coming at all. The landscape of the Bullet Club is totally different. We’ll see who is welcoming and who is not. But it’s been a long time since we’ve been together and I’m excited about it. I was blown away by EVIL joining. They don’t have a lot of bad ideas over there so we’ll have to see if he can step up and how this all plays out. The long game is where it’s at and if you look at Gedo’s booking. You may not get to where the viewer expects to go but it’s always surprising and enticing. It’s an old-school approach that works. I love watching things unfold slowly and not the crash TV that you sometimes see in the WWE. They will turn on something quick, which I don’t fully understand.
SN: Let’s talk Talk ‘N Shop A Mania. When did this idea originally enter your mind?
DG: Well, I just really felt that the first season of Southpaw Wrestling thing we did at WWE was really good and the second one wasn’t. There wasn’t a lot of interest in it anymore and there were a lot of changes. I feel like they stole my Sex Ferguson thing and made a show about it. But there was never an ending to it. We just came off of a cinematic match with The Undertaker and we’re fired 12 days later. If we don’t spoof this, we’re complete idiots.
Four days after we got released I told my friends that we had to do a pay-per-view and I went and wrote it out at my dining room table. I had to do it whether it was a hit or a massive failure.
SN: Was everyone behind this from the start?
DG: No. There’s a behind the scenes documentary coming out and you will see a lot of guys show up at my house not knowing why the hell they were there. But they are my buddies so I flew them down, gave them a payday and told them we’re going to have some fun. A lot of this will be you seeing television wrestling characters that normally play something serious stepping completely out of that and doing something different. It’s a parody. It’s meant to make you smile and take 90 minutes out of this crazy world around us and enjoy the follies of professional wrestling. I love serious pro wrestling but I love this side, too. I mean, the main event is a Boner Yard Match so you can’t expect anything serious. This is also TV-MA and not meant for the kids. If you buy it and hate it, you’re only out of $14.95 so it’s okay.
SN: Has this ultimately recharged your battery?
DG: 100 percent. You can get burned out in a company like the WWE, whether that be the travel or creative direction. We’ve seen it over the years. But when you step away from it and go someplace where it is more relaxed you remember why you fell in love with it in the first place.
SN: Where do you see yourself and Karl at this time next year?
DG: Talk N Shop A Mania 37, I hope! I’m hoping that we can come out of this pandemic and have shows with fans. We thrive off of their energy, whether you love or hate us. We just want to entertain fans live again.
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