Karl Anderson and the Luke Gallows, collectively known as The Club, defeated Sheamus and Cesaro to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships on the Royal Rumble pre-show on Sunday night.
In a back and forth contest that needed two referees to ensure a decisive finish, The Club hit its signature Magic Killer on Sheamus and Anderson subsequently pinned Cesaro with a rollup to capture the gold. It looked like the duo captured gold during the January 16, 2016, edition of RAW when Gallows and Anderson hit Cesaro with the Magic Killer and won by pinfall. However, Sheamus’ inadvertent kick to the referee’s face resulted in a disqualification win for The Club, and championships do not change hands on a disqualification.
The win comes nearly 10 months after The Club made their WWE television debut on the April 11, 2016, edition of Monday Night RAW. One of the most popular tag teams in New Japan Pro Wrestling before making the jump to WWE, this is the first WWE Tag Team championship for the Club. While Gallows was in the WWE from 2006-2010 under various gimmicks, this is his first time as a WWE titleholder.
ROAD TO THE GOLD
Anderson and Gallows departed from NJPW along with AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura last year, but were the last of the bunch to make their WWE television debut. It’s been a tradition that usually, all incoming talent go through the company’s developmental system NXT before earning a potential call-up. However, Anderson explained to Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast that an NXT run was never an option.
“It never came up in our contract negotiations and it was never something that we were against doing because I would have gladly [gone to NXT] if they wanted me to or needed me to,” Anderson said. “Whatever the WWE wanted me to do, I would have done because I felt like, if they’re going to give me this opportunity, I know that we can do it. I would have gone, man. It just never came up when they called and offered me my job, NXT was never an option.”
Gallows and Anderson were three-time IWGP Tag Team Champions and a part of the famous Bullet Club, founded by former WWE Universal Champion Finn Balor. However, their first 10 months in WWE did not result in gold. Some began questioning their decision of leaving a company where they were in a prime spot.
The Club and AJ Styles were reportedly in talks with TNA about a possible deal before agreeing with WWE. However, Gallows explained that the timing to make the jump to the WWE at the time was right.
“We had other deals on the table, and then, the Phenomenal One was negotiating,” he said. “It was a point where we were given offers somewhere else, but it was time, it was the timing. It all just worked out.”
While Gallows familiar with WWE from his previous run, Anderson was making a leap of faith into a brand new territory. However, Gallows complimented his fellow “Good Brother” during a 2016 interview with ESPN.
“Karl Anderson is one of the best-kept secrets in the business so far. Every time I sit on the apron watching him I think, ‘Jesus, this guy is really special,’ and he is. And I think that everybody’s getting the chance to see that now.”
With The Club holding the gold, the best-kept secret in wrestling is now out in the open and everybody will see if The Club can equal its success from NJPW in the WWE.
[Featured Image by WWE]