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Anthony Bowens says WWE ghosted him for three years, reached out to him after he appeared on AEW Dark

Anthony Bowens (one half of The Acclaimed) is the guest on this week’s AEW Unrestricted podcast. Bowens explained why Kenny Omega is his favorite AEW wrestler, what he has learned from FTR, the formation of The Acclaimed, his LGBTQ journey, his decision to come out, why representation is important, his YouTube channel, his love of reality TV and a lot more.

Bowens said NXT was interested in him after finding out AEW wanted him:

“I never really went into specifics about what technically happened. Essentially, I had a dark match, and the next day I was approached by NXT about coming down there after they ghosted me for three years. I didn’t hear anything back from AEW directly after the match because sometimes Dark airs about a week or two afterwards, or at least in the pandemic world. I said, ‘Yes.’

Somehow that trickled back to Tony Khan. Tony found out about it and then brought me down there a week later, and I had a long conversation with him and my tag team partner. The next thing you know, I’m with AEW which is where I wanted to be in the first place. There were a ton of life happenings in there that made the decision a lot easier, but there was a very anxiety filled two weeks being in a great situation, I guess, that every wrestler wants to be in. But it was the most anxiety-inducing two weeks I’ve ever had in my life, but I made the right decision, and I’m so excited to be in AEW.”

Bowens was asked what his feelings were when the original idea was pitched for him to be in The Acclaimed:

“First of all, exciting because one of the things that I didn’t have coming in was an established TV ready character.  I had everything else, but I was trying to figure out what I can dive into character wise.  Having a name, and having somewhat of a vision was helpful for me in the sense that I get to create and mold something into the way I would see fit.  Honestly, we didn’t have a direct direction.  We just knew that we were going to be called The Acclaimed.  It’s going to be this tag team with Max Caster.  I think the original vision of it was that Caster is this acclaimed rapper, and I am this critically acclaimed sports entertainer because I do more than just pro wrestling.  I’m a Youtuber, I’m a fitness model, I’m a commercial actor, I host things, and I do a little bit of everything.  We were trying to go that route, but honestly, the entrances are focused more on the insults and the rap.  There hasn’t been too much of a development on my end in terms of who I am, and I’m still really excited to start establishing that on AEW television, but that is the basics or the crux of what The Acclaimed is aiming for.”

Bowens talking about his NXT experience in 2016:

“I’ve done a few projects with them and the typical actual work.  You’re referencing The Authors of Pain match.  That didn’t go so well.  It was a botch.  They powerbombed me, and another dude got powerbombed on top of me which ended up landing on my face and knocked me out.  From the video, it kind of looked like I had a small seizure in there.  It was a very scary moment.  I was like, ‘Hey, this is my opportunity.  I hope I’m alive the next day.’  That was one of my only opportunities I had in ring with them.  I did a bunch of other work with them in terms of commercial stuff.  Then I had two tryouts with them, one at The Arnold Classic in 2015, the other one at The Performance, and that’s what led to that whole situation I explained before where they said that I was in line for an opportunity to be signed in 2017, and then I didn’t hear for three years.  Then eventually I did right after I worked with AEW.  Nothing really too extensive with them.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to for the transcription

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