All Elite Wrestling boosted its LGBTQ ranks on Tuesday with the signing of out professional wrestler and YouTuber Anthony Bowens. Bowens’ signing comes less than one month after he debuted for AEW on the Oct. 6 episode of AEW Dark.
AEW president Tony Khan announced Bowens’ signing during an interview with PWInsider, confirming “The 5-Tool Player” will be featured alongside fellow recent AEW signing Max Caster as a tag team dubbed “The Acclaimed.”
AEW’s interest in Bowens is warranted after he made a name for himself in independent promotions like Battle Club Pro and WrestlePro in recent years. He also drew the eye of multiple major wrestling companies during that time. PWInsider reported that WWE showed interest in signing Bowens to its NXT brand prior to agreeing with AEW. Bowens also previously made appearances for Impact Wrestling.
Curiosity around Bowens’ future began after he publicly relinquished the Battle Club Pro Franchise championship on Oct. 29, sparking rumors of his signing with a major promotion.
Thank you to everyone who has ever supported and believed in me. I’m so excited for this new journey. Anthony Bowens is officially ALL ELITE! @AEW #5TP #Acclaimed pic.twitter.com/PJu8C4gFEh— “The 5-Tool Player” Anthony Bowens (@Bowens_Official) November 3, 2020
Bowens himself celebrated his joining AEW as not only a personal accomplishment but also as a victory for LGBTQ representation within the pro wrestling industry. “Ever since I was six years old, I’ve loved pro wrestling and, after eight years of ups and downs, huge sacrifices, passion and a restless work ethic, I can finally say I’ve achieved my dream of doing this for a living,” Bowens tweeted.
“There was a time in my life when I was closeted, when I didn’t think this could be possible, and that fear haunted me everyday,” Bowens added. “Through my journey, I hopefully can provide hope to anyone else who unfortunately is experiencing that same fear.”