RISING TO REDEMPTION
Why Drew Galloway’s New Faction Is More Than A Three-Man Band

Text by Harry Burkett

Drew Galloway quickly uploaded his latest video message on Instagram and contemplated the reporter’s question: What makes The Rising—and the movement it purports to represent—unique from all the other factions in wrestling?

“This right here,” Galloway said, picking up his iPhone and tapping it with his finger. “Since the beginning of time in wrestling, every popular wrestler has claimed to do what he does for the sake of the fans. ‘I’m going to win this title for you, the fans. I’m going to beat this bad guy, and I’m doing it all for you, the fans.’ For over a hundred years, wrestlers have heard the chants, the boos, signed autographs, maybe they had the occasional fan club, but it’s not until recently that wrestlers have been truly interactive with the fans. And, I can honestly say, I don’t think any wrestler has been so proactive about making them a part of the action, making them a part of a movement. The Rising isn’t just about Mica, Eli Drake, and me. It’s about all the fans rallying to our cause.”

And like so many wrestling heroes, some sincere and some not, is Galloway driven by purely altruistic motives? Has he taken a sacred vow to eliminate all scoundrels from the mat sport? Is he the second coming of Mr. Wrestling II, a paragon of probity?

“Ha, ha, ha,” Galloway gave a hearty laugh, revealing the infectious smile and boyish dimples that have made him a heartthrob around the world. “I’m doing it for completely selfish, self-serving reasons! And, yes, I’m using the interactive gimmick and the fans to advance my career! Listen, I’m being honest here, give me credit for that!”

Galloway’s eyes dropped to the floor, but a bemused look remained on his face, as if pondering what he had just said … maybe he had revealed too much. “Like I said, I’m being completely honest,” repeated Galloway in his thick Scottish accent, as if too embarrassed to accept the mantle of wrestling hero. “Am I using social media to generate interest in the careers of Drew Galloway and The Rising? Absolutely. But, most importantly, I want to minimize the influence of The Beat Down Clan in TNA to create a better place for The Rising, and guys like us, to flourish. MVP and his street toughs are using a gang mentality to divide and conquer everyone else in TNA. I say this: We marshal our own forces: me, Mica, Eli Drake, the hundreds of thousands of fans via social media, and anyone else—Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Ken Anderson—who wants to fight this thuggery.”

Then the former WWE Intercontinental champion and reigning EVOLVE champion reflected for a moment. “MVP and I have one thing in common: We’re both very ambitious men who want successful careers. The difference is that MVP is taking the low road and I’m taking the high road.”

“I didn’t want to fight Spud,” Carter explained. “Spud demanded to fight me. He insisted on it. And what he got in the end—as difficult as it may have been for fans to see—was entirely his own fault.”

Galloway initially confronted the BDC when TNA’s European tour stopped for several Impact Wrestling television tapings in Scotland. Now a member of the TNA roster, Galloway has become just as popular in North America as he is in the United Kingdom.

His true breakthrough occurred in mid-March. For 72 hours, Galloway was granted full control of TNA’s social media—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.—and used that to launch his #StandUp campaign. One week later, before the BDC could fully respond, Galloway introduced Mica, son of WWE legend Haku, and Eli Drake, a veteran of Full Impact Pro, NXT, and Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, as his new allies.

Unified with Mica and Drake as The Rising, Galloway has parlayed his virtual momentum into tangible in-ring success. The Rising defeated the BDC by disqualification in their first meeting in April, Galloway beat Low-Ki in a Steel Pipe on a Pole match at Hardcore Justice, and Galloway defeated MVP in a one-on-one bout in May. The BDC lost Samoa Joe in the midst of this feud and brought in Homicide, but MVP, Low-Ki, Kenny King, and Homicide are still on the defensive.

Heels usually have the advantage in factional feuds, which tend to be more violent and less wrestling-based than singles feuds. The Rising vs. the BDC has been an exception.

“That’s because Galloway has two genuine bad-ass dudes in his corner,” offered Josh Daniels, host of Impact Wrestling and a follower of Galloway’s career in WWE. “Mica is a stronger, faster, more agile version of his dad, Haku, who was arguably the toughest man in the business. And look at Eli Drake. He’s jacked, physically—take a look at those shoulders and those abs—and mentally. He knows this exposure in TNA is his golden opportunity. Galloway has made the fans a crucial force in The Rising. I think Mica and Drake have joined The Rising for the right reasons, but, even if they thought about turning against Galloway, it would be career suicide. This is their first exposure, so they have to win this fight with the BDC.”

This is not Galloway’s first experience with a wrestling triad. He joined Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal as The Three-Man Band (or 3MB as they became known) in a desperate attempt to salvage his WWE career. While often derided as a comedy act, Galloway, Slater, and Mahal extended their presence on WWE programming for another year-and-a half. Galloway knows how to survive, and finding a way to become more entertaining enabled him to survive in WWE. Today’s TNA is a darker and more realistic environment than WWE, and that makes it the perfect comeback venue for Galloway.

And, this time, Galloway is the undisputed leader. He always seemed ill-suited for a follower’s role in 3MB, especially with a clown like Slater in charge. As a member of 3MB, however, and as an up-close observer of The Shield, Galloway realized there are benefits to being in a three-man crew.

“That definitely was not a wasted experience for Drew,” added Daniels. “And I don’t think fans ever accepted him in that secondary role anyway. He’s always been a superstar-in-the-making and fans already accept him as that. In his mind, though, I think Drew believes he has to repair his image, and, maybe through redeeming TNA by getting rid of the BDC, he can redeem his own reputation.”

Galloway was amused by that theory. “I’m open to any psychoanalysis you want to offer,” he said. “Once we break up the BDC, and MVP’s doing opening matches on Xplosion, no one’s going to care about my motives. Thanks to the fans, we’re cleaning up this place.”

With that kind of support, Galloway is more than capable of rising to the occasion.

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