Dax Harwood discusses his passion for wrestling.
Harwood signed with WWE in 2012, and he eventually teamed up with Dash Wilder (now known as Cash Wheeler). Initially known as The Mechanics, the duo were eventuallly renamed The Revival, and they climbed to the top in WWE, as they became the first Tag Team Triple Crown Champions in company history. They left WWE in 2020 when they were granted their releases.
Harwood and Wheeler signed with AEW in 2020, and they have continued to cement their status as one of the best tag teams in wrestling, and they have won the AEW, AAA, ROH, and IWGP Tag Team Championships. Throughout 2022, Harwood has also showcased his skills as a singles competitor. Among other examples, he has faced CM Punk, Dax Harwood, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson in high-profile matches on AEW TV.
Speaking with Sean Ross Sapp at Starrcade, Harwood discussed his passion for the business and stated that it gets taken out of context sometimes. He emphasized that he loves wrestling, and he owes a lot to the sport. Harwood noted that he has had a special relationship with wrestling, dating back to his childhood.
"I’ve tried to be a little better about that because I feel like sometimes, to the fans and to the office and to wrestlers—not just in AEW, but for my whole career—my passion gets taken out of context sometimes, and I do it to myself. But I am enamored and I love wrestling so much. I’ve said it before but it’s like an [entity] to me. It has done so good for me. As a kid, it took care of me and kept me out of trouble. When I didn’t feel like I had anybody that loved me, wrestling loved me. So I owe so much to wrestling," Harwood said.
Harwood explained that it would be easy to simply sit back and collect a check, but he doesn't work that way. He made it clear that working hard and setting a good example for his daughter is important to him. Harwood stated that he sometimes apologizes for this approach and again emphasized that it all comes from a place of passion.
"A lot of people say this online, too, it would be easy for me to sit back and just collect my check and eat catering and come in for a day and go back home. But I don’t operate that way. If I don’t have anything to show my daughter, if I can’t go home and tell my daughter, ‘If you work hard, you can do whatever you want,’ then I’m failing at life and I’m failing at being a father. But if I say, ‘Finley, you can be the first woman president of the United States,’ and I can say, ‘Because daddy, at 5’9, who was almost a 300 pound kid, with a terrible ass southern accent, made it to the top or close to the top of his profession that he dreamed about,’ man, she can do anything she wants. So I bring it on myself. I understand that. I try to do better about that. I tell Cash all the time, ‘I apologize,’ but I try to do better. But all comes from a place of passion and not from a place of malice," Harwood said.
When Sapp noted that he thinks it's better to be too passionate than not passionate at all, Harwood somewhat agreed. However, he explained that being too passionate has gotten him in trouble. He also pointed out that people who aren't passionate enough sometimes get opportunities in the spotlight. Harwood described how some talent go pushed, even if they didn't care, whereas he and Wheeler, among others, didn't always get rewarded for giving it their all.
"Yeah. Sometimes. Because being too passionate can get you in a lot of trouble, which it has. But also being not passionate enough can make — it hasn’t happened in AEW, but in WWE — at least at a period of time, people who didn’t care too much got the opportunities. Maybe because they didn’t care so much and they’re like, ‘Oh, let’s make something out of this guy.’ Whereas Cash and I would go out and work with Bobby Roode and Chad Gable for 30 / 45 minutes or we try to kill it every single house show and hope and pray that they would put us on the next pay-per-view or the next RAW. Then it wouldn’t happen and we’d get discouraged and we’d work even harder the next loop. So it’s our fault, but...," he said.
Later in the interview, Harwood expressed his gratitude for the fans and stated that he likes being a babyface, as he enjoys bringing joy to people. (Previously, Harwood had primarily been a heel in both his WWE run and his time in AEW.) He then recalled how he felt emotionally connected to Bret Hart
"Any fans that are listening, I am very grateful and very fortunate to have the fans that I have. I like being a good guy, man. I enjoy it. I never thought that I would bring joy to people. I never had that as a kid growing up. I never felt that way. I never felt like I had someone to love me except for Bret. That’s why I’m so emotionally connected to him. But to the fans who think I am a crybaby or think I am this person who just complains online, fuck you. I’m just kidding. No, no, no. I’m just kidding," Harwood said.
Harwood again made it clear that his approach to wrestling comes from a place of passion because he loves it very much. He stated that he wants to help the business. Specifically, he expressed that his goal is to shape a generation of tag team wrestling.
"What I want to say is, you can continue to hate me and you can continue to think my work is boring. That’s okay. You deserve that. But please know as a human being who loves wrestling, it all comes from a place of passion because I love it way more than any other fan that I know of. I just want to do good for wrestling so when I’m done at the end of the day, people can say, ‘That Dax guy or FTR, they shaped a generation of tag team wrestling.’ That’s my biggest goals," he said.
In the same interview, Harwood said that all Bryan Danielson does is talk about penis sizes in the locker room. Check out his comments here.
Harwood also stated that FTR have considered taking a year away from wrestling. Click here to see what he had to say.
FTR will challenge The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens) for the AEW World Tag Team Championship on the December 7 episode of AEW Dynamite. More information is available here.