CBS 2 Chicago’s Chuck Carroll recently interviewed Matt & Nick Jackson, better known as The Young Bucks of All Elite Wrestling fame. The duo opened up about a time when Matt Jackson nearly left professional wrestling, their first meeting with All Elite Wrestling‘s Tony Khan, and turning down aggressive offers from both WWE and Ring of Honor. Highlights appear below.
On Nearly Walking Away From Professional Wrestling:
Matt Jackson: Less than 10 years ago, I was in a situation where I couldn’t even pay my bills, and I was close to quitting wrestling. And now, just to think about what we’re doing, it really blows me away, and I can’t even express into words how excited I am and how emotional I was signing the contract, and yeah. I can’t wait for this thing.
Nick Jackson: You know what, it’s funny. I was never at that point (of walking away), but Matt definitely was. I actually had to be the guy to say, “Hey Matt, there’s a reason why we’re doing this.” So, I told him we wouldn’t be doing something like this for eight years if there wasn’t something meant to be for us to do. And we’ve always looked at it as the big picture, and we always thought there’s a reason for everything. I just had a gut feeling that there’s something big upon us. I didn’t know it would lead to all of this stuff, but I’m glad that we stuck with it.
When They First Met Tony Khan:
Matt Jackson: I was first introduced to Tony probably around July, but it was more or less just kind of a friendly thing. Like, “Hey, I’m Tony. I’m a huge wrestling fan.” I was flattered and I learned who he was. And he really wasn’t kidding when he told me he was a wrestling fan, because he sent me a video of him wearing a Bullet Club shirt in the front row at one of the New Japan Long Beach shows. And actually, I think I went up and I might’ve “too sweeted” him or something.
And we got to talking, and it was all hypotheticals. What if we did this, and what if we did that? At first, it was almost like I was rolling my eyes a little bit like, oh, we’ve heard this a million times from people wanting to get in the wrestling business. We’re the biggest doubters and skeptics in the world, because everything changes on a weekly basis in wrestling. One day you’re promised you’re going to be the champion, and then you show up that day and then they’re like, oh, we changed it. Or your match gets cut from a pay-per-view.
Then it became more of us actually chatting about the possibilities. He basically told me, “I can only do this with you and Nick. I can only do this with you guys. I’m handpicking you two. I need to work with you because I see your vision, and it seems like it’s the same as mine. And I need you to do this project.” That put a lot of pressure on us. I was like maybe this might be a real thing. We had a lot of big offers on table, so we really didn’t know what we wanted to do and what was real or not. Being skeptics, we don’t know, you just never know, and the unknown is scary. Something brand new is scary.
On Competing With WWE:
Nick Jackson: There hasn’t been a real alternative. I don’t know if that means competing, but it definitely gives Americans a choice, and there really hasn’t been a different choice in almost 20 years. I think saying that, because we have stars already like Chris Jericho, and Cody, and Matt, and myself, and the three of us, in particular, we’re in our prime. And that’s a big deal. I don’t think it’s realistic that we could compete right away, because that’s almost impossible, because they’ve been around forever, you know?
Matt Jackson: I don’t think that should be something that we’re even considering right now is competing. I think we should be worried about ourselves. I think we should set our own goals aside and think, okay, let’s accomplish these goals in year one. Because after all, we are a brand new business. I don’t think we should be even paying attention to what they’re doing. If we’re going to do any type of comparison, it should be, how could we be different? I don’t want to use the templates. I don’t want to use the terminology. I just want to be different… That’s how Nick and I have really competed in our entire career, always trying to be different and just doing our own thing. I think we’re a startup, and I don’t think we should be jumping the gun and going, let’s go to war with these guys. I think that would be irresponsible of us.
On Leaving ROH After An Aggressive Offer:
Nick: For a company of their size, I guess you could consider it aggressive. But Matt and I felt like we had peaked at that company money-wise. And, let’s be honest. If we would stay there, we would never be able to retire and help our families out. So, we were looking at this window we have, which is not long in pro wrestling. And we were like, “I think we need to make a change.
Matt: And I think that before it could really get really aggressive, we had already made the decision that we were leaving no matter what. We didn’t know where we would end up. We just knew that it was time to leave. I didn’t know if that meant going to WWE. I didn’t know if that meant going and just being competitors again or with this possible new project, that could happen hypothetically. There were just too many choices.
Also, we wanted to gauge our street value, because we had never really even looked before. We just didn’t know what we were worth. We knew in our hearts what we were worth, but until someone actually tells you this is the number that I think you are worth, you just don’t know.
On Resisting WWE’s Overtures:
Nick: Yeah, we could say that their offer was very aggressive.
Matt: I’ll tell you this. For a moment, I thought that we would probably be going to WWE. That was the closest that it’s ever come to us going there, for sure. And they were great. They were respectful, and they told us what our value was. I think it was really like a wake-up call for us. It was almost like, wow. It’s good to be wanted. These guys, they’re teaching us we are valuable and we’re worth this much. It was definitely something we were considering, and it was hard to turn down, because it would have been life-changing….
But again, with WWE, they were pretty much willing to do anything. Any type of concern we had, they had something good to say about it and how they would fix it. I can’t stress enough how friendly and how great they were to us. And I have nothing but good things to say about them.
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