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Karl Anderson talks Finn Balor and Wilkes-Barre ‘WWE Ride Along’ before Mohegan Sun Arena match on Jan. 26

Karl Anderson talks Finn Balor and Wilkes-Barre ‘WWE Ride Along’ before Mohegan Sun Arena match on Jan. 26
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This time last year, pro wrestlers Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows became the WWE Raw Tag Team Champions during the Royal Rumble pre-show, but they ended up losing the title to the Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 33 a few months later.

Now, after turning face as Finn Bálor’s surprise tag team partners on Jan. 1, the pair known for “being mean and making green” are back in the spotlight in 2018 and set to return to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with “WWE Live” this Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., just days before the next Royal Rumble. Bálor, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Samoa Joe, Bray Wyatt, The Miz, Matt Hardy, and more Superstars are also scheduled to appear at this Wilkes-Barre Twp. event.

Tickets start at $15 and are available at the NBT Bank Box Office at the arena (255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre), and all Ticketmaster outlets, and charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

NEPA Scene caught up with Karl Anderson in a phone interview last week to talk about teaming up with Bálor again, filming a “Ride Along” episode in Wilkes-Barre, who he considers the best tag team of all time, ’80s alter egos, and birthday cakes.

NEPA SCENE: Last time the WWE was at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, it was for a live “Monday Night Raw.” It isn’t a televised event this time around; it’s what wrestling fans call a house show. What’s biggest difference between TV tapings and these kinds of shows?

KARL ANDERSON: “Raws” are fun. It’s what you dream about doing, but once you get on the road and get going, the live events are almost more fun in a way because you get to interact more with fans instead of just working the cameras. You can look into the crowd and go old school with it; that’s kind of like how I came up in the business. I look forward to them and really enjoy them.

NS: So after literally touring the world together, you and your tag team partner, Luke Gallows, are finally together again with Finn Bálor on “Monday Night Raw.” How awesome is that for you?

KA: I’ve been friends with Finn for a long time. I met him in 2005, and being able to do what we did over in Japan and even in California before that, it’s awesome. Just seeing what we were doing separately in WWE and now being together, it may sound cliché, but it’s what we dreamed of doing, and now being able to do it together is literally like working with your brothers. It’s the coolest thing we could do.

NS: So I guess it’s safe to say it’s “too sweet,” huh?

KA: It’s way, way too sweet! Really is the coolest thing.

NS: I’m not a fan of the tag team championship belts being held by Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan at all. When are you and Luke Gallows going to snatch those belts from them?

KA: Seems like those guys are kind of having their own issues with Jordan getting ahead of himself and being young to the wrestling business, so as soon as we get that first chance to take the “Raw” tag team titles, I think we will. I think we are finally back on track after we got kind of got lost in the shuffle a little, but I think with me and Gallows getting paired back up with Finn too now, we are really going to turn some heads this year, so as soon as possible, we will.

NS: If you really want to get into Jordan’s head, you might want to call the Maury Povich show for a DNA test with his dad, Kurt Angle…

KA: [laughs] I’d love to. It would really be an entertaining show and, to be honest, I would love just to sit and watch that. I would hope that Kurt Angle ended up not being Jason’s dad and it turned out that Gallows was or something like that. You have to keep the people’s heads on a swivel, you know?

NS: You’ve been to Wilkes-Barre before, and I think you and Gallows may have taped a “Ride Along” episode on the way here. Do you have any memories of our town?

KA: We really do love coming to Wilkes-Barre, and I wish I could pinpoint something specific. I know for sure we haven’t had the chance to stay the night there yet, but filming the “Ride Along” was really fun. We haven’t had a chance to go out and actually see the city, but the day of the show at the Mohegan Sun Arena, we will be landing there in the afternoon, so I’ll have to get some advice on where to go.

NS: If you are looking for a good place around the arena to grab a bite to eat, do yourself a favor and go snag a burger at Lucky’s. It’s literally right across the street from the Mohegan Sun Arena.

KA: Lucky’s? Cool. Count us in on that one.

NS: OK, back to you and Gallows on the “Ride Along.” I can’t tell you how many times me and my wife have rewatched that and just laughed our asses off at you and Gallows doing your impersonations of Finn Bálor always saying the word “brudder” [in his Irish accent].

KA: [laughs] Filming “Ride Along” episodes are fun. We actually are riding along with Finn now, but he usually doesn’t get any words in because it’s always me and Gallows’ main goal to just make him laugh, which we have gotten pretty good at. It’s fun riding with the brothers again and being together. And here’s a spoiler alert – we just filmed a “Ride Along” episode for Season 3 with me, Gallows, and Finn, so definitely check that out.

NS: Obviously, besides yourself and Gallows, who do you consider the best tag team of all time?

KA: For me, it’s a really simple one. It’s something that we would still fight for to have a match with them because they are still active and awesome and we got to hang out with them during WrestleMania weekend – the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. They are just awesome from top to bottom, just the way their fire was, you just can’t top the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express but, then again, you have guys like Demolition and the Road Warriors who are obviously legends too, but when it comes to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, man, they are No. 1 for me.

NS: I personally think you left out a tag team who could hold a candle to both you and Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them – Chad 2 Badd and Tex Ferguson [Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows’ fictional 1980s characters in the YouTube show “Southpaw Regional Wrestling”]!

KA: Oh man, they beat all of us! [laughs]

NS: Those “Southpaw Regional Wrestling” episodes are amazing and hilarious. My wife and I stumbled across them by accident on YouTube and watched them over and over again. I actually got my wife a Tex Ferguson [Luke Gallows’ character] birthday cake for her birthday this year.

KA: Oh wow [laughs]. That’s great. Your wife sounds like one of the greatest ladies in the entire world, so keep her happy!

NS: Totally. She goes to all of the live WWE events with me and has a blast every time.

KA: Well, congrats brother because if I brought my wife home a cake with Tex Ferguson’s face on it, I don’t quite know how she’d react [laughs]. My hot Asian wife would probably just throw the cake at me.

Listen to NEPA Scene’s recent interview with the Honky Tonk Man before the classic WWE Superstar visited Scranton last week here.

WWE Live
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza (255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre)
Date: Friday, Jan. 26
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $15-$245