With their debut on last night’s Monday Night Raw, Luke Gallows (Formerly Doc Gallows in TNA & NJPW) and Karl Anderson have cemented themselves as forces in the WWE’s tag team division. Prior, the two men have had a successful run in New Japan Pro Wrestling, dominating that scene in recent years.
Just who are Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson? If you don’t follow New Japan Pro Wrestling, you still may be somewhat familiar to Gallows. A long road of failed pushes and releases before finally getting his big break has been the story for Gallows.
Initially debuting with WWE in 2006 as someone from Kane’s past, Gallows played mind games with the by donning the big red machine’s old outfit from 1997. The angle quickly fell flat, however, and he was sent back to OVW after only a couple of weeks. A year later, he was repackaged as Festus, a slow mute who awoke from a trance-like state when the ring bell would sound. Alongside his partner Jesse (Terry Gordy’s son, Ray Gordy), Gallows was a prominent part of Smackdown for a couple of years, but it was obvious that a gimmick like Festus’ would only last a short while before becoming stale. The character would fall in 2009 at the hands of the Undertaker.
Later that year, Festus returned as Luke Gallows, someone who was saved by CM Punk. They actually gave a clever story here, saying that Gallows’ family had enabled his alcoholism, and he was so far gone he became whatever Festus was supposed to be. CM Punk made him straight edge, and Gallows continued on as a member of Punk’s Straight Edge Society alongside Serena Deeb and Joey Mercury. This push was more high profile than the Festus gimmick, but didn’t last as long. In September of 2010, the Straight Edge Society disbanded as Punk turned on Gallows. Punk would defeat Gallows in a match set to blowoff the stable. Lost in the shuffle, Gallows’ time in WWE ended with his walking papers.
He emerged back on the mainstream wrestling scene in 2012 when he made his debut in TNA as DOC, or the “Director of Chaos” for the Aces and Eights. He and other members of Bully Ray’s stable faced the likes of Sting, Joseph Parks and others for the next few months. Sadly, TNA’s direction and idea for the group changed every other month, eventually losing focus. He left TNA a year after making his debut, the storyline reason being that he was mad because he wasn’t voted vice president of the faction. What a way to go out!
That brings us to Karl Anderson. At 36, Anderson has been a pro since 2002. Debuting in the Cincinnati area under his real name of Chad Allegra, Anderson would work local midwestern shows for several years before branching out to the west coast. The career of Chad “2 Badd” Allegra changed when he moved to the west coast full time, training at the infamous NJPW Los Angeles Dojo with the likes of Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, and Finn Bálor.
With his developing west coast ties to the National Wrestling Alliance, Anderson was given the opportunity to wrestle in the 2008 New Japan Cup. He impressed officials, and was signed to NJPW full time.
He soon started to team with Giant Bernard, formerly A-Train/Albert/Lord Tensai of WWE fame. Known as Bad Intentions, they made their mark quickly in New Japan, winning the 2009 G1 Tag League and the IWGP tag team championships not too long after. They were completely dominant for the next few years, not only defending their IWGP tag team titles ten times throughout the next 564 days, but also winning NOAH’s GHC tag team championships as well. All good things come to an end, however, as they lost the titles at WrestleKingdom VI to TenCozy. A few months later, Bernard departed back to WWE, leaving Anderson without a partner.
Anderson had a very nice run following the tag team’s breakup as a singles wrestler. A year later, Anderson soon had his eyes on the IWGP Heavyweight title. He had an absolutely awesome match with Hiroshi Tanahashi at New Beginnings 2013, but once again came up short. He got his rematch later on in the year, at May’s Wrestling Dontaku, but still wasn’t able to get the job done. That night, however, everything changed for Anderson. He ended up turning on Tanahashi after the match and joined forces with newfound heel Prince Devitt, his backup Bad Luck Fale, and Tama Tonga to form the Bullet Club. To say that they took pro wrestling by storm was an understatement. With New Japan offering their iPPV’s to a global audience, as well as the group borrowing catchphrases from the nWo and DX, they became a big hit, selling many t-shirts and gaining tons of momentum within wrestling circles over the next few years.
And that’s where our two stories meet. When Anderson needed a partner for the 2013 World Tag League, Luke Gallows was the man. With their finisher known as the Magic Killer, Guns n’ Gallows soon dominated the tag team ranks for the next three years, pretty much becoming the aces of the heavyweight tag team division. The pair became three time IWGP tag team champions, facing the likes of TenCozy, The Kingdom, Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata, Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe, along with other tag teams along the way.
They lost their last IWGP tag team titles to the latter team at this year’s WrestleKingdom event on January 4, and it was a day later where the wrestling world heard that Anderson, Gallows, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles all had given their notice and would be making their way to WWE.
Rumors have been swirling over what Anderson and Gallows’ roles will be in the WWE. AJ Styles made his debut later that month in the Royal Rumble, and Shinsuke Nakamura had a star making debut against Sami Zayn on WrestleMania weekend. It had been assumed for a while that Gallows and Anderson, along with Finn Balor, would be making their debut as a group.
So far, that hasn’t materialized as Gallows and Anderson made their debut as a duo, laying out the Usos on last night’s Raw. But as they say in WWE, plans change every week. What the future will hold for the former Bullet Club members is anyone’s guess, but with momentum on their side they have just a good a chance as ever as becoming dominant forces in WWE’s tag team division, just like they were in New Japan for so many years.