Festus wasn't planned, but went on to be a pretty memorable character.
Luke Gallows talked about the origins of Festus during an interview with Steve Austin on his podcast recently. After Henry O. Godwin fizzled as Ray Gordy's original tag team partner, Festus was born. The idea came from Vince McMahon himself, who helped develop the character:
So we go to Vince's office and I'm 23 [years old] and this is Vince McMahon and I'm like, 'I can't be a mark, but this is some s--t right here.' I'm looking at Vince and he goes, he starts telling me a story, 'I knew this kid in school and he looked like this' and he did this face. 'This is the way he looked and when something would happen, he'd lose his mind like crazy!' And I'm looking at him, going, 'I can do that - that's not a problem.' So he goes, 'do this face!' and I do the Festus open mouth, tongue out face and he looked at me and he goes, 'can you do that?' And I start doing it and then we start doing it back and forth. And Vince is like, 'not like that! Like this! Make you jaw more slack!' And I'm like, 'oh my God! I must make Vince happy!'
The gimmick lasted as a novelty act for a few years before it was dropped in favor of his current character, Luke Gallows. Despite all that, Gallows doesn't regret the experience.
When you're that young and then they call you up, you're just like, 'I'm going to do this and good as I can and hope that they keep me for a minute,' so that's what I did, and had a pretty good time doing it, and the kids liked it and stuff. It was what it was, but I don't look back on that stuff at all. I feel like a lot of wrestlers would get bitter about that stuff. I thought that was a good experience.
Since returning to WWE in 2016, Gallows has been teaming with Karl Anderson. They both compete on the Raw brans.