Matt and Nick Jackson, better known as The Young Bucks, are quite arguably the best tag team in all of professional wrestling.
The brothers from California have competed all around the globe in promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling. When their contracts were coming up with New Japan and ROH, they had a big decision to make: Stick with the status quo, or go to WWE?
After the success of All In, an independent show they helped set up with Cody Rhodes, the Jacksons remained united and took their talents to All Elite Wrestling. Along with being wrestlers in the upstart promotion, the Jacksons also serve as executive vice presidents of AEW.
Days before their quest to become AEW tag team champions — they take on Kenny Omega and Adam Page at the Revolution pay-per-view event in Chicago — The Young Bucks sat down with Sporting News to discuss the match this weekend, the success of the company and the criticism they have received from wrestling fans after deleting their Twitter accounts.
(Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
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Sporting News: I asked Kenny this question about the tag match at Revolution on Saturday, and talking to him, facing you guys means a lot to him because you guys are so close. He doesn’t want anything bad to happen to either one of you guys. How much does being in the ring with him mean to you on a personal level?
Matt Jackson: We had one of the greatest tag matches in wrestling history when we faced Kenny and Kota Ibushi. A lot of people are already saying, “Hey, is it going to be as good as last time?” Maybe it’s not fair to even compare the two because that was a whole different story, and you had six months to build, and it was very emotional.
Not to say that this one isn’t because it’s going to be just as good. The action is going to be maybe even better. And we’d have this new dynamic called Hangman Adam Page, who has this chip on his shoulder. This is a new character layout that he has going on, and he’s the wild-card factor in this whole story. I can’t wait to go out there. My expectations are high. Everybody else’s are, too. We want to have a great match and have the best tag match in the short history of AEW.
SN: Does this surprise you guys? Is it surreal at all in the fact that you guys have only been on TNT since October? The first official show was last May at Double or Nothing. Now the TV deal has been renewed, and now we’re sitting here on a Saturday, and we’re talking about action figures.
MJ: It’s incredible. The fact that everything is happening as fast as it’s happening, though, it’s like so much is happening so quickly, and we have so many different responsibilities. It’s really hard to read it all, breathe it in and take it all in, listen and enjoy it because I’m living on one event to the next. It’s really hard. It feels like time is evaporating and weeks just go by so fast.
Nick and I, we’ve been in the wrestling business for about 16 years now and, and it took about 10 years to make any money in it and in the last five, six years, we’ve been on this slow climb. We’ve been doing this for a long time. There’s almost this feeling like we do belong. These big things happen like the Turner deals, the renewals and the toys. It’s crazy to me, like, I want to feel like this is all unbelievable. At the same time, though, I feel like, “Yeah, of course, this is happening. We’ve worked really hard.”
We’re DIY guys who started from humble beginnings. We’re not second-generation wrestlers. We’re two California boys who just had this dream. We wrestled in the backyard. All of a sudden, we became this tag team. We decided to take the road less traveled and decided to carve out and create this brand new road that nobody’s ever traveled on. We’ve done all these things. We’ve worked hard for it. And of course, we’re on TNT doing a weekly cable television show. It feels poetic. We worked our asses off for so long, and these are the results, and this is what we deserve.
SN: What’s been the biggest adjustment for you guys going from wrestling two, three days a week to now one day a week, but having extra added responsibility to go along with it?
MJ: It’s a whole different beast. Being in charge of hosting an episodic television show, that is a job in its own right.
On top of that, you got to do all this other stuff like conference calls and talking to the network, and on top of all that, you also have to perform and be a professional wrestler. It’s about a thousand times more work than I used to do. The in-ring stuff is last because it’s only, you know, I only wrestle once a week now. Sometimes I’m not even wrestling on that week.
But still, it’s really a 24-7 job. Never stops. As you know, my wife is in charge of merchandising and marketing. We bring new meaning to the phrase, “Bringing your work home.” We’re in bed, and she’s like, “Show me the latest action figures or the new T-shirts that we’re coming out with.” It really never stops. Then when I get to get a word in edgewise, I start talking about the next three, four weeks worth of programming that I’m coming up for an angle.
It’s just pro wrestling in our house non-stop, and now my boys talk about it all the time. It is an AEW household. Yeah, it is a job, but it is a job that I really do love, and I really do enjoy it.
SN: After the last show of 2018, you got rid of your Twitter pages and caught a lot of flack for that. I thought it was a brilliant decision because of what it has become. What do you make of people saying the going got tough and they got criticized for a bad show, so The Young Bucks got off Twitter? What led to that decision?
Nick Jackson: Things like that, the negativity — we’ve been getting it our whole career, and it’s funny that people pointed to that situation. That was far from the truth because we could care less. I had no clue there is even outrage about the Dark Order punch thing until Brandon Cutler told us at a Christmas party that Twitter was going nuts, and we’re like, “What? Really?”
To that point, we were just about done with social media. We were done with it anyway. So one morning, Matt and I decided to delete it, and we had been talking about it forever. I was like, “You know what, since you want to delete it, that means I can delete it.” So we removed it at the same exact time, and we didn’t look back.
That platform helped us get to where we were. But at this point, we didn’t need it anymore. We got what we needed out of it. And that that was it. Another reason was, we were spending too much time on it. While we were home, we would be reading things about us good or bad.
There’s one particular moment where it hit me where I was reading stuff about the show, and my kids were playing, and they were like, “Daddy come play with me.” And I wasn’t listening to them. They had to shake me and said, “Daddy, come play with me.” And then I looked at my phone and was like, “What am I doing? I’m wasting time on this fake thing that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect my life. I’m taking time doing this instead of playing with my children at home. How selfish of a human being am I to do this?”
It hit me. I was like, “You know what, that’s it. I’m done with it.” It’s been a few months now that I haven’t even looked at it. It’s really changed my life in that regard.
MJ: I was going to add that it’s also helped spark our creativity. I think the shows have been a lot better since we got off because when you read something and whether you’re going to believe it or not, it’s still in the back of your mind, and maybe subconsciously, you’re thinking about it. It started to start changing the way you feel about the shows and your creativity.
For me, it stifled me. You’d have a great match or great show, and I would read a comment, and I’d be hot rolling my eyes. But then again, like, maybe it did play a factor and certain ways I saw it and perhaps I misjudged it, and I’m like, “Wait, did we not have a good show?” I thought it was, and then I realized, “Wait a minute now, like, you’re never going to be able to make everybody happy. It’s absolutely impossible.”
On the same breath, though, it’s also not good mentally to read the extreme good about yourself. It’s like this emotional roller-coaster ride, and you put yourself through it. It’s just not a healthy thing to sit there and read about yourself.
We still are on social media. We do have a presence, and I still do have a Twitter account. I’m not controlling it anymore. I still have Instagram, and we still have “Being The Elite” (their hit YouTube show), which, in my eyes, is what truly brought us to the dance. That’s where I communicate with my fans the most, and that’s where I express myself the most. We’re still available to our fans. We’re the most accessible wrestlers in the world. We’re going to maintain that and be like that forever.
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