FTR are arguably the most important tag team in professional wrestling right now. Sure, The Usos have been tag team champions in WWE for what 500 days – 505 to be exact – and the duo of Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood aren’t even the tag team champions in their own company, that honor belongs to The Acclaimed, but in Ring of Honor, Lucha Libre AAA, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and pretty much any indie fed with enough cash to present the duo with an interesting opportunity, FTR are top guys through and through.

And yet, when one thinks about FTR and their in-ring efforts over the past two years, it’s easy to forget that it almost didn’t happen. That’s right, before Cash and Dax showed up in AEW as tag rope-loving heels with a very bayou blues-y theme and an old El Camino, they were Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson, the duo known to the WWE Universe as The Revival, with FTR having a very different meaning made popular on Being The Elite indeed.

Over their runs with The Fed, which began in 2014, they won the NXT Tag Team Championships twice, the RAW Tag Team Championships twice, the SmackDown Tag Team Championships once, and even held the 24/7 Championship in 2019, making them the only duo in history to hold the 24/7 title as a team. While the “signature” matches of their career may come outside of The Fed, with their series in Ring of Honor against The Briscoes among the best tag team matches you will ever see, FTR/The Revival still had great matches in WWE, with their bouts against #DIY, American Alpha, and Undisputed Era all worth seeking out.

Had FTR not explicitly asked for their release after opting against re-signing with the company, who knows what would have happened, especially once Paul “Triple H” Levesque took over creative, but when the company pitched the duo ideas like this, it’s understandable that neither performer was willing to wait and see if McMahon would retire two years down the line.

Goodness gracious, those are some of the worst outfits I’ve ever seen.

While FTR appear content with their decision to bet on themselves, with the duo so well set up for the future that they could even leave televised wrestling behind for a year to solely work indie shows, how hard was it to pass up the security of WWE for such an open-ended opportunity? Fortunately, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful caught up with the more talkative half of FTR at WrestleCade to ask him that very question.

FTR bet on themselves over WWE’s security.

When asked by Sapp about how the duo went about requesting their release from WWE, Harwood summed it down to their passion for the industry and how that passion isn’t always a bad thing.

“Again, that’s my downfall, our downfall,” Harwood said. “So yeah we went into the building that night with the idea that we were gonna ask for our release. We had our match. We asked for Hunter and Vince all day, and they were very busy, which is typical of a TV day, so I’m not upset at all. But we had our match with Lucha House Party, we came back to the back, dripping sweat, and we said, ‘Hunter, we need to talk to you now.’ He’s said, ‘Can you give me five minutes?’ We said, ‘Absolutely.’ He came in the back. This is gonna sound very egotistical, I don’t mean for it to. But we knew that we could do better than what we were doing, and we knew tag team wrestling could be presented better than it was being presented. If we were gonna stay there, we would have been stuck in a rut, in that previous regime. We should have been stuck in a rut and never amounted to anything. Now we’ve been able to go out, and we’ve been able to make a name for ourselves.”

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While Harwood believed that The Revival had plenty that they still could have accomplished in WWE, Harwood understood that tag team wrestling wasn’t Mr. McMahon’s thing, and at the end of the day, he was the one signing the checks.

“I can’t be mad at Vince, you know what I’m saying?” Harwood said. “Just like I said, if he doesn’t like tag team wrestling, that’s okay. One, it’s his company, but two, that’s okay. It’s his opinion to not like it. If he doesn’t like specifically me and Cash, that’s okay, too. It just sucks that he was the only billionaire boss at the time that was paying us that much money. But that’s totally okay, and I harbor no ill feelings towards him or towards the company or anything like that.”

Had AEW not come around, maybe FTR would have never become the tag team nickname of Harwood and Wheeler and would instead remain an in-joke on the YouTube vlogs of a few Ring of Honor/New Japan guys. Fortunately, Tony Khan came around presenting a viable alternative, and the results speak for themselves.