Whether you know him as “The 5-Tool Player” or “Critically Acclaimed,” there’s only one descriptor that universally applies to out pro wrestler Anthony Bowens since joining All Elite Wrestling last November: successful. Bowens landed an AEW contract alongside tag team partner “Platinum” Max Caster, collectively known as The Acclaimed, just one month after debuting with the company and hasn’t looked back.
Bowens’ signing with AEW was a personal landmark in a journey through the pro wrestling world that ran parallel with his own internal journey to coming out as gay and using his platform to advocate for LGBTQ populations. On Monday’s episode of AEW Dark: Elevation, Bowens, who is currently recovering from a torn meniscus, had his first opportunity on AEW programming to talk openly about his identity and conquering the fear of living openly within pro wrestling circles in a sit-down interview with AEW’s Paul Wight.
“This didn’t come without its struggles, though. For me, I’ve been doing this for eight years. I’ve had a lot of carrots dangled in front of me. I represent the LGBTQ community. I’m an openly gay professional wrestler, so I had a lot of years living in fear of whether I’d be able to do this or not,” Bowens said. “To even be here is an incredible opportunity and I’m extremely grateful for it.”
Bowens is the latest AEW talent that has spoken openly and candidly about their LGBTQ identity on AEW programming since the company launched in 2019. Former AEW Women’s World champion Nyla Rose has spoken multiple times about being a trans woman while Sonny Kiss has spoken about identifying as genderfluid, with announcers referring to her with both masc and femme pronouns during broadcasts.
Following the broadcast, Bowens took to Twitter to speak further about his experiences. “Five years ago I was still closeted and living in constant fear about how coming out would affect my dream of wrestling,” Bowens said. “Thank you AEW for letting me be me.”