Anthony Bowens says WWE ghosted him for three years, contacted him after appearing on AEW Dark


Anthony Bowens (half of The Acclaimed) is guest on this week’s AEW Unrestricted podcast. Bowens explained why Kenny Omega is his favorite AEW wrestler, what he learned from FTR, how The Acclaimed was formed, his LGBTQ journey, his decision to go out, why representation matters, 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 the details of what happened technically. Basically I had a dark match, and the next day NXT approached me to come over there after they had ghosted me for three years. I didn’t hear anything from AEW directly after the game because sometimes Dark airs about a week or two afterwards, or at least in the pandemic world. I said yes.’

Somehow it came back to Tony Khan. Tony found out and took me there a week later, and I had a long conversation with him and my team partner. Next thing you know, I’m with AEW, that’s where I wanted to be in the first place. There were a ton of life events in there that made the decision a lot easier, but there was really great anxiety over two weeks being in a great situation, I guess, that every wrestler wants to be. But it was the most anxiety-inducing two weeks I have ever had in my life, but I made the right decision, and I’m so excited to be in AEW.

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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 I didn’t have to come up with was an established character ready for TV. I had everything else, but I was trying to figure out what I could dive into in terms of the characters. Having a name and sort of having a vision was helpful to me in the sense that I was able to create and shape something as I saw fit. Honestly, we didn’t have direct management. We just knew we were going to be called The Acclaimed. It will be this team with Max Caster. I think the original vision was that Caster is this acclaimed rapper, and I’m this critically acclaimed sports artist because I do more than pro wrestling. I am Youtuber, I am a fitness model, I am a commercial actor, I animate things and I do a little of everything. We were trying to go that route, but honestly, the entries are more about insults and rap. There hasn’t been a lot of development on my side in terms of who I am, and I’m still very excited to start establishing that on AEW TV, but it’s the basis or the crux of what aims The Acclaimed. “

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Bowens talks about his NXT experience in 2016:

“I did a few projects with them and the typical actual work. You are referring to The Authors of Pain game. It didn’t go so well. It was a botch. They power bombed me, and another guy got power bombed on me, which ended up landing in my face and knocking me out. From the video, it looked like I had a little seizure in there. It was a very scary moment. I was like, ‘Hey, this is my opportunity. I hope to be alive the next day. It was one of my only ringing opportunities with them. I did a bunch of other work with them in terms of business stuff. Then I had two tries with them, one at The Arnold Classic in 2015, the other at The Performance, and that’s what led to this whole situation that I explained before where they said that I was up for an opportunity to sign in 2017, and then I haven’t heard for three years. Then finally I did just after working with AEW. Nothing really too extended with them.

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If you are using any of the quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with ah / t at for the transcript