wrestling / TV Reports

FTR with Dax Harwood LIVE Report: CM Punk Texts, Powerhouse Hobbs, Shawn Spears, Wardlow, Cash Wheeler

March 31, 2023 | Posted by Jonathan Hunter
FTR AEW Revolution Image Credit: AEW

Tuning in for what could be a noteworthy event. It’s FTR with Dax Harwood LIVE. Dax Harwood, Shawn Spears, Cash Wheeler, Wardlow, and Powerhouse Hobbs are scheduled to be in attendance. Tequila bottles are plentiful. Also, I’ve bought a bottle of El Jimador tequila reposado to join in. If the typing gets progressively worse, it means I’m drunk.

I thought about doing a drinking game for everytime Dax says “My wife” and “My daughter,” but I don’t plan to visit the emergency room tonight.

HA. Fite has this listed as live with Dax HARDwood. hahahaha.

* The stage is set up like a little bar. High bar tables with table cloths.

* Matt Koon welcomes us to the show and introduces Dax. Harwood thanks the fans for listening to the podcast and coming tonight.

* Powerhouse Hobbs is here!

* Dax puts over Hobbs huge. Says Hobbs can be a top star for the next five-six years.

* Hobbs talks about asking Dax and Cash to watch his matches and give him feedback.

* Dax talks about how hard it is for many of the younger generation find it hard to take criticism, then tells a story about his daughter and how she is growing up. DRINK!

* Hobbs talks about his mom falling ill and passing away in 2021. Says Dax was one of the first people he called to talk about it. Says Dax didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Hobbs talks about how people will say “call me anytime” and not mean it, but Dax was there for him at this crucial time. His mom’s birthday was yesterday, so it’s been rough.

* Dax says that’s also around the time he had his first anxiety attack, and his mental health struggles got to their first. Dax talks about reaching out to Hobbs around the exact same time, and puts over Hobbs for listening to him and making him feel normal. Calls Hobbs selfless.

* Matt jokes “the positive part of the podcast is almost over.” Ha!

* Dax says “if they are smart, you will be the main event guy for AEW.” Hobbs: “you guys go ahead, pull out your phones and tweet that.”

* Hobbs and Dax hug, Hobbs heads out… but not before pouring himself some of that good tequila for the road.

* Here comes Cash “I knocked that dude who attacked Bret the fuck OUT” Wheeler!

* Damn, Cash’s biceps are fucking huge.

* Cash: “i’m going to get coffee earlier, I see this gentlemen here… wearing an FTR hoodie. And so I say hey, nice hoodie. And this — can I cuss? — this motherfucker doesn’t even look at me!” Can we get a round of applause for the friend? This motherfucker goes “that’s Cash!”

* “Has your friend Dax made life difficult for you with our little podcast?” Cash says “no, because I don’t give a fuck what Twitter says.” POP!

* Cash: “This gentleman right here is my best friend in life.” Says he will stand beside Dax and support him no matter what he says or does, because Dax is the best husband, father, wrestler, human being. He’s passionate. “That’s his detriment? He loves this too much?” Says they’ve always sat down and said “what is best for FTR.”

* Cash: “Dax is just gonna speak his mind, and I admire that. Big deal. I admire that.”

* Dax gives some backstory for him and Cash. Talking about how sparse the North Carolina indie scene was. Says he always heard about “Steven Walters” but they never crossed paths… until they both got extra work for WWE. Talks about how good their dark match tryout went, puts over Scott Armstrong as a ref. They both, slightly separately, made it to NXT. Fought for what they believed in to overcome being pegged as just a team that “puts other people over.”

* Dax says as far as him getting Cash in trouble, maybe he has. But if he’s done something wrong, Cash doesn’t care. Stands right beside him, and then says “hey, maybe you shouldn’t have said it like this. Maybe you shouldn’t have made the Young Bucks mad. Maybe you shouldn’t have yelled at Tony. Maybe you shouldn’t have made fun of Bruce.”

* Cash: “I don’t know if I wasn’t paired with Dax I wouldn’t have the same courage to stand up and say no, this isn’t exactly how my career should be going. He taught me how to stand up for yourself, believe in yourself.” Says if Dax has ever gotten him in trouble, well, look at what they’ve accomplished. If he’s gotten us heat and it’s gotten FTR this far, just pour gasoline on the fire.

* I’m taking a bit of typing break here. Dax talking passionately about life and dreams.

* Time for a Q+A section!

* Couldn’t hear the question. Something about Marty Jannetty? Cash says “No, I don’t care. I’m fine being the most vanilla midget guy in the world, going down the street unnoticed, and going home unbothered. If I didn’t have wrestling, I don’t know if I would be here. I’ve won, dude. We could both go singles. I don’t give a shit, dude!”

* LOL Dax references crazy Marty Janetty Facebook stories. “What’s the problem with Marty Jannetty? He was a great professional wrestler.” Cash: “And that’s an insult to Marty Jannetty. Marty was great. The only thing that held him back was drugs.”

* HOLY SHIT. Dax talks about Shawn Michaels becoming Christian. Cash: “I gotta say this. I don’t gotta fake it, either.”

* Cash says FTR would love to work with Enzo and Cass again if the opportunity came up. Cash talks about how their NXT program was intended to show that Enzo and Cass could be a money-drawing act, and FTR learned how to work with the showmanship, especially on live events. Working with Enzo and Cass helped them to learn how to work a crowd, not just do 13 head drops and kickouts. Says it was probably the most pivotal feud of their careers. Dax agrees, says they probably learned more from Enzo and Cass than any other team they’ve been in there with.

* Aw, a kid in the front row is asking a question. “If you had a chance to wrestle any person for any championship, who would it be?” Some cute interaction between FTR and this young lad. Cash says his dream tag match would be against Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. Talks about how Steamboat and Youngblood changed tag wrestling, especially as a babyface tag team. Then talks about Midnight Express. Says versus Midnights or versus Steamboat/Youngblood would be his dream matches.

* Cash makes fun of Dax, says “these are probably what Dax’s bedtime stories to his daughter are. And then the bad guys cheated the Rock N Roll express out of the tag team titles…” Ha!

* Cash says he would have loved to wrestle Eddie Guerrero. Then says he’d love to wrestle Eddie and Art Barr. Edge and Christian. Dax says that’s probably his biggest dream match today, in 2023… “and that could happen.” Ohhhhh.

* Dax pulls out his phone. Has a message from CM Punk! Punk sent him a heart emoji and Dax said “should I send a message to my audience from you.” Punk’s message is: “I miss them.”

* “CM Punk” chants

* Second part of the message: “I wish I’d bought them all ice cream.”

* Question about tag teams they’d like to see currently. Dax: Hobbs & Samoa Joe. Cash: Mox & Danielson.

* Dax puts over The Fantastics, because why not?

* Something is happening…? Crowd is booing hard.


* HAHAHA. The chyron says “Ass Boys.” Crowd now chanting as such LMAO

* “What are you two gonna do next week when you have to look your families in the eyes and tell them you don’t have jobs anymore? Go down to NXT and get the picture with HHH?”

* The shorter Ass Boy (Colten?) just told an 8 year old to sit down. lol. Austin starts talking about Dax’s daughter, Dax tells them to get the hell out.

* After things settle, Dax starts talking about how much he hates wrestling journalists. Then cracks, because he says he has brought a wrestling journalist here. He maybe has a little respect for… Sean Ross Sapp!

* Crowd boos, but Sean comes to the stage and gets a mic.

* SRS: “I’m gonna need five dollars from each and every one of you.” Ha!

* Dax puts over Sean as an *accredited* journalist who they have a lot of respect for.

* Matt Koon asks SRS how he keeps his friendships separate from his journalism. SRS says “if they say off the record, it’s off the record.” Says hey, he’s reported negative shit about FTR. Says mostly rational people know the gig. SRS says “nobody owes me information.” He owes people who subscribe to Fightful information.

* They put over SRS, he hides in his hoodie. I don’t think I’ll report more of this unless it’s something really big. Interesting and all but I’m not super excited about SRS being up here.

* Koon: “We want to thank Sean for the courage to come up here. Also I’m drunk, that’s why I’m being nice. Also I forgot to put the quote marks up when I said journalist.”

* They introduce somebody who hasn’t been on TV in a while who should be on TV. Here comes the PERFECT TEN! THE CHAIRMAN! SHAWN SPEARS!

* Spears in a dapper suit, rockin’ the tight mohawk. And he has a Canadian potato chip, Ruffles! Hot damn!

* “So who we burying?” POP!

* Dax says in his opinion, Spears has every single tool that a professional has to have to be successful, and it’s unfortunate that companies they’ve worked for have thought that being a great professional wrestler is a “detriment” to a career. Dax asks who inspired Shawn to be a wrestler. Cash interrupts, says “let’s get you drunk first” and they have some tequila!

* Spears says his biggest influences are Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, Rick Martel. Guys with enormous characters and personalities. Says he loves the wrestling but loves the over-the-top character aspect as well. Credits “Showtime” Eric Young as the guy who trained him. Spears says he lost three grand at the first wrestling school he went to… it was the Hart Brothers school of wrestling, but not ran by any Harts by then. Puts over he and Tyler Breeze’s school, Flatbacks.

* Dax asks about the infamous chair shot to Cody Rhodes early in AEW. Spears says the dangerous part of the chair is the lip of the chair. It was shaved down, but it was a little off. “I literally said out loud ‘oh shit.’ I look at Brandi and I go ‘sorry.” lol. Says he takes pride in never injuring anyone, that was one of the worst moments of his life.

* Dax talks about how Spears is not very abrasive, especially compared to Dax. Heh. Spears says the industry sometimes feel like it doesn’t want you. That’s not just his story, but many wrestlers. “I take some responsibility for being too nice.” Always thought if he did the job, did what he was told, somebody would say give him a turn, give him a chance. Cash: “You’re Canadian, man.”

* Spears: “I am much closer to the end of my career than the beginning.” Says he’s going to push for what he wants going forward. Spears talks about the last time he was on AEW TV, in Toronto. Thanks Dax and Cash for being there for him that night. Spears says he’s not jealous of anybody on the planet, but his favorite picture of all time is Brodie Lee, with the TNT title, with both his sons. Says he is envious of that picture, and wants that picture with his son. In one way, shape or form, soon, is to win a singles title and take a similar picture. “Because I’m done soon.”

* “Everyone online says I’m boring. Are you SURE I have charisma?” lol. Matt Koon asking how do you present the REAL Shawn Spears?

* “I’m gonna get in trouble.” Dax: “Take the heat off of me, please.” Shawn says he was never a big backstage politicker. Fine, so be it. He doesn’t give a shit. But the problem is, in order to get what you want, or at least, push for the things that you feel are right, you have to fight. You have to battle against ideas and get your voice heard. Says he and Dax have had “tiffs” over it. But from a place of dire passion and care for one another, just never been a public thing. Pull each other aside, say do we have a problem? Yes, I have a problem. “That’s how *men* handle problems.”

* Koon: “Wait, so you didn’t just leak stuff to the dirt sheets and talk shit on each other?” Spears: “I know I forgot something.”

* Spears says unfortunately, having to battle for what you want is part of the industry. You have to know that comes with the territory. “More tequila! Hey! Not gonna lie, I’m slightly shit faced.” Crowd pops.

* And nowwwww we’re talking about the Pinnacle. Spears: “Oh shit.”

* “We have all the members of the Pinnacle we *WANT* here.” And now here comes… WARDLOW!

* This is fucking great, by the way.

* lol Cash is just crushing Ruffles chips.

* Wardlow looks fucking great. Dax: “This is FTR with *Dax*. Why doe he get a bigger part of me?”

* Koon: “he’s FTR Hunky.”

* Wardlow says Dax is bloody handsome. Haha.

* I’m on a few ounces of tequila, crushed the tequila cooler, and now I’ve got another “generous pour” going. Whoo!

* Wardlow: “I haven’t even started drinking tequila yet.”

* Wardlow: “I think our relationship started through being put together in a little group, and I think we all know how that went.” Ha! Says though through that group, Wardlow has grown to have a strong bond with Spears, Cash, and Dax, and he’s learned so much and they’ve given him so much.

* Dax spouting wrestling philosophy rn.

* Fairly sure everybody except Wardlow is close to plastered by this point lol. Anyway, Dax putting over Wardlow’s willingness to get better and ask for help to get better. Says he could be the biggest star in pro wrestling.

* Wardlow: “Making me blush up here.” Says Dax’s words mean the world. Says he needed to hear it after the couple months he’s had.

* Dax straight-up asks: “What did we think of our debut in AEW as the Pinnacle.” Wardlow: “Fucking awesome.” Koon: “So we’re gonna talk real now?” Spears says the debut was exactly what was needed.

* Dax kind of repeating a lot of the things he said in the Pinnacle episode of the podcast. Talks about needing to build heat up.

* Cash says the debut went so well, and they had high hopes. It was also during one of the hardest periods of wrestling during the pandemic, losing multiple talents due to Covid every week. Says the group had so much potential, if they had the time to run over everybody for a long period. But they didn’t get that luxury, and it left them middling.

* Cash and Spears talk about how the needs of TV, especially during the Pandemic era, really made it unreasonable to keep big names like Jericho off of TV for weeks at a time to sell the attack. They all agree the big beatdown of the Pinnacle was rushed, but it was mid-pandemic and a fucked time.

* Wardlow says he was still a rookie, but he truly believed Spears would be TNT champion, FTR would be tag champs, Max would be world champ, and it was a different time. Things would be different now.

* Matt Koon asks what their favorite memories of the Pinnacle were. Dax says he loved the six-man tag with Wardlow against Hager, Santana and Ortiz. All the Darks he and Cash did with Wardlow by the ring, cos Wardlow told them how much he grew as a performer, explore wider than just stoic guy who stands by the ring.

* Cash says same, those six-mans and working with Wardlow. Working with Spears on six-man tags. Loved working live events with Wardlow, a guy who wants to learn. Loved seeing Wardlow get to go out there, have fun, and let loose. But also … “So we were doing Stadium Stampede, and the five of us were over in the actual stadium, on the turf. We’re trying to figure out where we want to be, what we want to do. These two drunk fans tried to come over. They keep trying to get closer and closer. I just tell them. Dude. We’re gonna knock you out if you come over here.”

* HA! Koon says “You guys don’t think Cash would ever punch a guy, would you?” Crowd applauds Cash punching out the dude who tackled Bret Hart. Cash: “Allegedly.”

* Cash carries on. Says these belligerent drunk guys cross the line. “Maxwell is about fifty yards behind us hiding.” Says Max came over and said “What would you have done if they actually came over here???” “Max. We would KNOCK THEM OUT. There’s five us and Wardlow.”

* Wardlow says if he could pick one person on the roster to have his back on his fight, it would be Cash. “I’ve been on more than one occasion him so ready to beat the shit out of somebody who comes too close to us.” Cash: “You guys have no idea how much I love to fight.” Dax is egging it on.

* They’re chirping-slash-putting over Spears’ wrestling school again. Spears talks about being coachable in this industry and surrounding yourself with top talents willing to help.

* I just ordered McDonald’s delivery, by the way.

* Spears says his favorite part of the Pinnacle was also Stadium Stampede. Says at no point, on their side, did any one of them go “we’re tired, let’s wrap this up, let’s get this over with.” Says they stayed gung-ho the whole damn time. “It was a constant strive for — no pun intended — perfection.” Says they all worked for what was best for the audience, not them, at all times.

* Wardlow says his favorite Pinnacle moments were going out with Dax and Cash. It was so much fun, because they had so much fun. “They talk so much to each other. Talking to fans, talking shit to their opponents.” Says he found himself coming out of his shell. “I was able to learn and grow so much and learn to relax and really be myself.” Says one-thing less wrestling-related… “maybe it’s cause I grew up super-poor. We all had a suit tailor come in. David Allen measured all of us…” Dax: “John Cena’s PERSONAL suit guy. That’s how big we thought the Pinnacle was gonna be!”

* Wardlow says. “In that moment as I was getting fitted for my custom suit, I was like, oh my God, we are such a big deal.” Wardlow says he’d never been on a private jet before.

* Cash is absolutely cracking the fuck up.

* The guys joke about how the limo had no A/C and the door was broken. Cash is just crying with laughter.

* Spears: “Wardlow’s wearing a suit and he’s sweating, he gets angry very fast.”

* Matt Koon wraps it up here.

I’m not doing any of this shit justice. The chemistry, banter, appreciation, laughter, and love of all these dudes tonight is genuine and awesome. Y’know, I wish Dax hadn’t gone on about Alvarez for 25 minutes. But you watch this stuff and see these friends just loving life, and it’s impossible to not be smiling and laughing yourself.

Really fun time. Not nearly as “controversial” as some people may have expected, but well worth the admission. My only wish is that I was in California right now for the damn after party!!

article topics :

FTR, FTR Live, Jonathan Hunter