You can listen to the entire show HERE.
From his humble beginnings in Deep South Wrestling, to WWE, to TNA, Luke Gallows has experienced a lot in his 10+ year career and has worked with and under some of the biggest stars in the industry. But it was his move to New Japan Pro Wrestling which is currently giving him major notoriety. “New Japan has breathed new life into my career,” Gallows told the Chad Dukes Wrestling Show Wednesday night.
Fresh of WrestleKingdom 9, Big Luke Gallows talked at length about WrestleKingdom 9, being a star in Japan as opposed to America, his tag partner Machine Gun Karl Anderson, having his wife Amber O’Neal also be in the business, his run with Aces & Eights, CM Punk, the elusive Sex Ferguson, Finn Balor, and more in an in-depth 25 minute interview.
As a member of one of the most popular factions in wrestling, the Bullet Club, in Japan’s top promotion, the life of a star in Japanese wrestling can be very different from that of pro wrestlers in other parts of the globe. After discussing the atmosphere of New Japan’s successful WrestleKingdom show last Sunday, Gallows talked about these differences.
“In Japan, traditionally, whether you’re a baseball player, a musician, a baseball player, a pro wrestler, which thank god it’s very popular right now, you get kinda special treatment. These sponsors, these businessmen, I guess it’s kind of a status thing for them to take us out. So we get to eat in five-star restaurants all night long, we get to eat as much as we want, drink as much as we want, which is good sometimes, bad others. It’s a change in lifestyle, it really is. ”
“Over there they wanna buy the stuff off our backs. So I literally wear different gear to the ring every single night and then these collectors are waiting at the hotel to buy my stinky tights.”
Before joining the Bullet Club, Gallows was a member of another popular faction, TNA’s Aces & Eights, a group which Gallows despite leaving the promotion still holds fond memories of.
“As evidenced by my career, I’m a bit of a faction man. That was just a really neat, I really dug the vibe of it. I thought got to be myself a little bit for the first time, which translated into what I think became the Bullet Club success for me and stuff. I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but Mike Knox is probably my very best friend in wrestling, best friend since we laid eyes on each other. He’s my dude and getting to do that and be on TV with him, actually at one point there was talk of making us more of a TV tag team and running us for the tag belts and stuff, which never came to fruition.”
“It was a great group of guys. Devon, I’m completely fond of him, we became friends. D-Lo Brown, he’s my boy as well. Just the whole thing, Garrett, Wes, no matter what you think of those guys in-ring or otherwise, it was a great group of guys, we had each other’s backs, we were friends outside the ring, and anytime you do that- it’s kinda like at WWE, Mercury, CM Punk, and I as the Straight Edge Society- anytime that you have that with guys, like we have in the Bullet Club now, it translates, people get it. It has a real feeling because it is real.”
It’s impossible for most American fans to think of Luke Gallows and not think of the Straight Edge Society and consequently, CM Punk. So Dukes asked Gallows about CM Punk’s now infamous Art of Wrestling podcast appearance. While he hasn’t heard the show, Gallows did share his understanding of Punk’s feelings in the company and also talked about when he learned of Punk’s UFC move.
“I know his opinions because I’ve heard them out of his mouth on the phone before, but I wasn’t there anymore and it was a different time. All I know, is I felt like in 2010 when the Straight Edge Society ended that it was a shame because we had some real momentum. We came into Summer Slam 2010 and whatever mistakes Serena Deeb made, I don’t know, I can’t care to comment on, she got fired and [Joey Mercury] tore his pec in that match we had with Big Show. So it was kinda like the Straight Edge Society imploded in one night, so we never got to finish the storyline which I always thought was a shame.”
“The UFC move shocked me. I knew some of the other entertainment stuff he was doing, I knew he was training his ass off, I knew he was a huge fan of it, so I kinda had an inkling. And then he announced it or they announced it, whatever, and I texted him and said, ‘Holy Crap dude, congratulations, I had no idea.’ I just talked to him in Japan, I know he’s training his butt off in Milwaukee and he’s really digging that. I hope for all the best for him.”
Another former member of the Straight Edge Society, Joey Mercury has worked himself into a prominent role within WWE as an on-screen character with J&J Security and as a backstage influence, as evidenced by the Shield’s praise of Mercury during their WWE Network special. While talking about those times with Punk & Mercury, Gallows talked about how much Mercury helped his career during that time.
“If there was ever a guy who knew this business from the inside out and could teach it to other people and knew how to convey it, it was Joey. I was in my mid-20s when Straight Edge thing was going, 25, 26 years old. Who better to stand on the ring apron and tag with, who better to second out to a match CM Punk. Joey and I tagged on six or seven overseas tours, we tagged on all the house shows, and I just think the world of both [Joey Mercury & CM Punk] as in-ring performers, as entertainers, and as people.”
“Getting to be with those guys it was kinda like going to medical school after college or something.”
While discussing the negative opinions that fill the online wrestling community, Gallows got into the recent controversy over the injuries suffered at the hands of Bullet Club member AJ Styles’ Styles Clash, with some fans urging that the move be banned.
“The Styles Clash, not to be too inside is a face bump. You take it as a face bump, you do not tuck your chin, if you watch wrestling you know that. It’s like I did a figure four leg lock in Korakuen Hall two nights ago, no one ever taught me how to do it, I learned it because I watched Ric Flair. Anyone who watches wrestling can see that. So if you think that you’re so informed and you wanna come on the internet and have this opinion that he should not do that move anymore, that he should not be allowed to be a professional wrestler anymore, then you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
To close out the discussion Gallows talked about another former Bullet Club member, Fergal Devitt aka Finn Balor’s debut in WWE and the changing culture within NXT that he hopes will spread throughout the company.
“I was on the fence about it, but then I watched his entrance at [NXT R Evolution] and said, ‘Ok, this is the real deal. They have to go all the way with this.’ I’ve seen him, I’ve tagged with him, been on the apron with him, knew how good he was, but I didn’t know if they would get it because I think sometimes guys who come from other places it goes over their head.”
“Not to just keep crediting my friends but Joey Mercury, a guy who’s in a position and knows stuff like that, is the kind of guy who gets it. I think that’s why Hunter’s building a team of people like that. I think that’s why you see Kevin Steen in WWE now, that’s why Rollins is the star that he’s become.”
“He’s a guy who can go, he has a charisma, not so much a charisma but he has mystique. And I think that when mystique’s gone, like now in a lot of cases, that it hurts. But if you look at like a Bray Wyatt, and there’s mystique there, I love him, huge fan of him, he’s a friend of mine, and I love what he’s doing and what they’ve done with him. And I think that Devitt, if they can capture him just right, he’s gonna be able to captivate an audience and be a major league, big fight feel superstar in that company.”