Amid Rumors of WWE Exit, What Went Wrong Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson?

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2019

Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows on SmackDown.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows on SmackDown.Credit: WWE.com

With Tye Dillinger and Hideo Itami requesting their releases and Dean Ambrose choosing not to sign a new contract with the company, many fans have wondered if WWE is about to experience a mass exodus.

A new rumor seems to support that theory as two more Superstars have supposedly turned down large deals to stay with WWE past their existing contract.

According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson turned down what is said to be a big-money offer from WWE. Needless to say, this would be a loss for the company.

Let's take a look at what went wrong with Gallows and Anderson in WWE.


A Brief Timeline of Their WWE Careers

Anderson and Gallows first arrived on the scene in 2016 shortly after their former Bullet Club stablemate, AJ Styles, debuted at the Royal Rumble.

The tag team was successful in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championships on three occasions. They were expected to be a formidable duo in WWE, and for a little while, they were.

When Styles was moved to SmackDown as part of the brand split, Gallows and Anderson remained on Raw and were quickly lost in the shuffle.

Their one and only title reign in WWE happened after they defeated Cesaro and Sheamus on the Royal Rumble 2017 Kickoff.

Their time as champions was largely uneventful, and they ended up losing the titles to the returning Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 33 a few months later.

Ever since that night, Gallows and Anderson have been unable to regain their momentum. They spent a short time aligned with Finn Balor, but their version of The Club never took off.

They ended up moving to SmackDown and becoming babyfaces, but the change didn't do anything to help, and WWE creative has continued to ignore them in favor of pushing other teams such as The Usos, The New Day and The Bar.


Why Are So Many Superstars Leaving?

The WWE roster is more robust than ever. The company has separate rosters for Raw and SmackDown, with two more developmental rosters in NXT and NXT UK, and there is the possibility of more in the future.

Despite WWE putting together several hours of live and pre-taped content every week, there isn't enough room to feature everyone who deserves some time in the spotlight.

The overcrowding problem has worsened in recent months with several call-ups from NXT. Some of those Superstars haven't even had a chance to have a debut push because WWE is so busy planning for WrestleMania 35 on April 7. 

Dillinger was granted his release, Ambrose is exiting the company after WrestleMania, and a few others have either been let go or quit on their own.


WWE has come to terms on the release of Ron Arneill (Tye Dillinger). https://t.co/uqIeqallQf

When a Superstar of Itami's caliber isn't being used properly, you know there is a problem. Frustration can set in for even the most dedicated WWE Superstar, and with so many other options out there these days, it is no longer necessary for someone to stay with the company to make a good living. 

All Elite Wrestling is making a lot of headlines, but wrestlers have so many more options than they used to even as recently as a few years ago.

The United States alone has Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Chikara and dozens of other smaller wrestling promotions scattered throughout the country. 

Mexico has AAA, CMLL and a few others. Japan has NJPW, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Dragon Gate, All Japan Pro Wrestling and many more. Europe might not have any major promotions getting TV time in the U.S., but it has a thriving indie scene. 

As recently as a decade ago, WWE was one of the only places where a Superstar could make good money, but that is no longer the case. If someone is unhappy with what they are doing in the company, someone else will probably give them good money to jump ship.


What Went Wrong With Gallows and Anderson

Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com @SeanRossSapp

As I posted on Fightful Select earlier this evening, sources I spoke to within WWE were actually surprised about the Anderson & Gallows news, and had expected them to re-sign because of Anderson specifically expressing how happy he was to get more time with his family

The Good Brothers should have been successful in WWE because they have many qualities the company likes as both individuals and as a tag team.

They fit the classic combo of having a powerhouse and a technician working together. The Hart Foundation, Shawn Michaels and Diesel and many other tag teams have thrived using this formula.

They came from The Bullet Club, which at the time was the most popular non-WWE creation in pro wrestling. Everything pointed toward them being successful.

However, things don't always work out the way we want them to. Once AJ Styles was exclusive to SmackDown, it became clear WWE had no idea what to do with the former IWGP tag team champions.

Having them appear in backstage segments just to call people nerds like they were bullies in a comedy from the '80s probably didn't help. 


Are They Really Leaving?

Karl Anderson @KarlAndersonWWE

Message from my 7 year old, Cylus.. #DontBelieveEverythingYouRead 😂 He also said “please follow me on Instagram @sillycycy https://t.co/AtiO7SBclE

The problem with rumors is we never know if they are true. Not only have Gallows and Anderson not confirmed they are leaving, but the latter also posted a message on Twitter saying "don't believe everything you read."

If there is truth to the rumor, it doesn't mean WWE won't change Anderson and Gallows' minds before their current deals expire with a larger offer.

Another possibility is Styles going to bat for them. If he threatens to leave at the end of his contract, WWE might think twice about letting Gallows and Anderson slip through its fingers.

If they leave the company, whoever they end up signing with will benefit in the end. They are an established tag team with a decent following and a connection to The Bullet Club. They will likely be flooded with offers once they serve out the 90-day non-compete clause in their contracts.

Perhaps a big win at WrestleMania 35 would affect their decision. Only time will tell.