Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood of FTR stopped by the Busted Open podcast recently to talk about their move to AEW from WWE. Harwood says he's grateful to WWE for allowing him the opportunity to provide for his family, but they said they asked for their releases because they wanted to give back to professional wrestling and leave a legacy in the industry.
"I think that obviously we have a lot to be thankful for," Harwood said. "Right now, I'm sitting in my house, and I'm looking at my beautiful wife and daughter outside. They're playing, and I am so thankful for the opportunity they gave me to allow my family to have the life that they did. On the flip side of that, my first love before my wife and before my daughter was professional wrestling, and I am infatuated with professional wrestling. It's done so much for me as a kid all the way into adulthood, and we both felt that if we stayed in WWE that we would just be spinning our wheels.
"They're is so much more that I want to give back to professional wrestling. I don't want to just sit back and relax. I don't want to rest on any laurels or anything like that. We want to make a mark, and we want to leave a legacy in professional wrestling. Then obviously on top of that, we want to make money too. AEW and Tony Khan, they provided us the opportunity to do both, and we want to do wrestling proud right now. I think this is the best opportunity for us to do wrestling proud."
Bully Ray asked FTR about their use of the spike piledriver as a finisher, which they used to beat The Butcher and The Blade in their debut. Harwood says that it's just another move they wanted to add since WWE did not allow them to use the move, and he notes that no one has even kicked out of the Goodnight Express (f.k.a. Shatter Machine).
"The Shatter Machine, now we we enjoy calling it the Goodnight Express, it's a move that obviously we took from parts from another great tag team," Harwood explains referencing The Dudley Boys. "You may have heard of them, and we just incorporated it and put our own little spin on it, but going to AEW with the spike piledriver, that's something we always wanted to use in WWE. We even talked to Hunter [Triple H] about it. He said no. We had asked Vince [McMahon] about it. They obviously didn't want to use the piledriver at all.
"We came to AEW, and we started incorporating the spike piledriver just almost as like a restart for us. It is something that we want to incorporate into our matches, but for the Shatter Machine, no one has ever ever ever ever kicked out of it. We learned that from another great tag team that had the same kind of finisher, with the same kind of premise. No one's ever kicked out of it, and we just want to take the spike piledriver and utilize it to its fullest extent. If no one can kick out of it, then no one can kick out of that one as well. Just another another move to the repertoire, but obviously with all the connotation."
Wheeler pointed out that AJ Styles is a wrestler with multiple finishers. He says that adds more to a wrestler's legitimacy and makes them more dangerous.
"If you look at AJ, AJ's a guy that has established a couple of different finishers," Wheeler noted. "Everybody knows the Styles Clash as the be-all-end-all, but he's finished with the Calf Crusher. He's finished with the Phenomenal Forearm. I just think it's beautiful and adds another layer to what you can do if you can establish something else as legitimate. You see it and you know it's over because it just makes you that much more dangerous."
Wheeler also revealed that Edge has told them to protect the Goodnight Express no matter what noting that very few kicked out of the 3D in Dudley Boys matches. Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were present at FTR's in-ring debut, which they said was a big deal for them, and Wheeler said that using the spike piledriver is their way of showing appreciation towards Anderson and Blanchard.
"When we started doing the Goodnight Express, he [Edge] told us obviously there's a lot of comparisons to your finisher, the 3D, for good reason," Wheeler said. "He said that's a move that you guys should protect to the ends of the Earth. He said no matter what we did, 3D never let us kick out of it. Never let anybody kick out of it. They protected it, and they would find ways to get a breakup or save or misdirection, but they never let anybody kick out because that's something that you can make a career out of those things.
"We took that to heart, and that's something that we want to protect and carry forward, but also to your point, the spike piledriver, being able to do that now and do it in front of Arn and Tully. Wherever it may lead, who knows? Maybe there's nothing there, but maybe if nothing else, they know we respect them to a point that is probably unreasonable. At least they get to know, and they get to see it."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.