The Young Bucks are the biggest name in independent wrestling, bar none. The two brothers from California went from relative unknowns to moderate (but ultimately forgettable) success on television in TNA. Now, just a few short years later, Matt and Nick Jackson are two of the most sought after talents in the industry. You can see them anywhere from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in Reseda to Beyond Wrestling in Rhode Island, and even all the way over in Japan in front of a sold-out Tokyo Dome. From the smallest legions to the biggest stadiums, their presence dominates the global scene.
Oh, and one more really important thing: The Young Bucks make me love pro wrestling like nothing else.
Recently, I was a guest on a podcast devoted to taking one topic, then having the guest elaborate why they love that thing sometimes more than anything else. My topic was, of course, pro wrestling, and one of the questions concerned some of my most special moments that I had ever had at a live show. The more I thought about it, even after the podcast was in the books, the more I realized just how many of those special moments involved Matt and Nick Jackson. There is, of course, the very first match that moved me to tears, but it goes back further than that. When I got back into wrestling after years of being completely separated from it, I went all in. Going all in meant trying to get my hands on as much wrestling as possible, going to every live show that came near me, and spending hours and hours welcoming all of these shiny new wrestlers into my world. It meant catching up on everything that I had missed, and everything that came before I fell in love with it the first time.
Around 2010 and 2011, I was practically obsessed with TNA’s Generation Me — two brothers who barely looked like athletes, let alone pro wrestlers, who were secretly the most captivating and joyful thing to watch in the company. I was so into them that, despite the fact that there was no line at the time to meet them, and they were literally surrounded by some of the biggest legends still working in the business at that time. I was beyond anxious to meet them. Back then, they were Max and Jeremy Buck, still clad in outlandish ring gear, the same long hair, and if we’re being honest, basically frozen in time when it comes to showing their actual age. I shyly told them that they were the best thing on television, and one day they were going to be something really special. Sadly, dumb Baby Wrestling Fan Danielle didn’t immediately go buy a lottery ticket, but I did get to sit down with them again… four years and thousands of miles traveled later.
My job affords me a lot of things. I get to pay my rent writing about the thing I’m more passionate about than anything else, I get to meet cool people (including the ones you still see on television every week), and better yet, I get to exist in a space that’s not really occupied by that many people. Somewhere between fan and worker, not on one side of the railing or the other, lies this weird, sometimes awkward, most times incredibly hard to define space where the lines get a little blurry. Professional relationships turn into actual friendships, and the people who would have once intimidated the heck out of Baby Wrestling Fan Danielle are just a bunch of dumb dudes I see all the time. I say all of this not to brag, but so you understand how rare it is for me to actually get nervous around wrestlers anymore. It’s my actual job, and they’re just people. I’ve seen The Young Bucks on such a regular basis that I sometimes forget there are people who have never seen them wrestle, let alone in person. There was a period of time where I saw them wrestle five times in one week, and that wasn’t even it for the month. That said, The Young Bucks still make me nervous as f*ck.
During my yearly pilgrimage to Easton, Pennsylvania for Chikara’s annual King of Trios tournament, I snagged a few minutes of the Bucks’ time to talk about their new documentary, The Young Bucks’ Too Sweet Journey. A planned few minutes turned into… way too many, but that’s the thing about these two. They’re arguably the best tag team in the world, intimidating to fans, promoters, and wrestlers alike, but they really are something special. The warmth with which they speak about wrestling, the love they have for their art, and the genuine gratitude they have towards their fans, it’s really hard not to want to sit and listen to them talk about what they do for as long as you possibly can. All of this is amazing when you consider they’re also the smarmiest, most intentionally and effectively obnoxious little sh*theel characters in the business. Their Pro Wrestling Tees banner proclaims that they’re “probably the coolest wrestlers on the planet Earth,” and guys, I think they really might be.
Start off by telling us a little about your new documentary.
Matt Jackson: The documentary is pretty much a weekend with us.
Nick Jackson We filmed it about a year ago, we had a filmmaker travel with us all the way to New York.
Matt: The guy couldn’t believe how grueling just one travel day he, he’s like, “Oh my God, you guys do this every weekend?” And we’re like, “This is just one show,” like, relax! And I think we flew out of a local airport, too, which was really easy.
Nick: Usually we do Los Angeles — LAX — and I live about… sometimes it can be about three hours with traffic, so little do fans know it’s usually a three-hour drive just-
Matt: Just to get to the airport!
Nick: And it’s usually an east coast flight-
Matt: And a connection-
Nick: Yeah, so we’re talking another 10 hours at least.
Matt: That day we had a delay, too. I think we talk about it in the movie like, “Oh, we’re afraid of our bags being lost,” and all this stuff. But we ended up getting into town, what, it almost ended up being a 12-hour travel day?
Nick: It was probably more than that. Usually, on average, it ends up being about 14 hours for us to get to an East Coast show. Yesterday, it took 16 hours.
Matt: Yesterday sucked.
Nick: Yeah, yesterday was miserable.
Matt: So we get to the town we’re going to, and they guy’s like, “How do you do this?” And we’re like, we’re just kind of used to it, I guess. We slept a few hours, and managed to actually get a decent amount of sleep for a change. He basically just filmed everything. He filmed us spray tanning before the match, he filmed all the behind-the-scenes stuff, going over our match, planning that…
Nick: And it wasn’t just a normal weekend, it was wrestling the Hardy Boyz for the first time. So, it was a big match for us.
Matt: Yeah, we were excited, it was a big weekend for us. Sometimes it’s hard for us to get up for our matches because we do this so much, but it was Hardys-Bucks!
Nick: Plus it was in front of 4,000 people, so that was really cool.
Matt: It was a special week, and then it was Kevin Steen’s last weekend on the independents, so it was special for us.
Nick: He got to film all of that, plus he got to film us seeing Booker T for the first time after that incident… Everything came full circle and we just happened to have someone filming us.
Matt: Haha, it was one of those weekends where I was like man, I wish a camera would have been following us, and he was there and got everything! It’s fun to go back and watch it and be like, “Man, that was a fun weekend.” So many times with these weekends, you honestly just forget about them. Like we were talking about this earlier like, uh, where were we last weekend? Where were we two weekends ago?
Matt: [laughing] Whoa, okay, that was an early plug. But yeah, they interview our wives, and our kids are in it. They’re kinda running around in the B-roll with our mom and dad. What’s cool is there’s still a lot of footage that didn’t make the [final cut]…
Nick: Like, a lot of wrestlers did interviews talking about us…
Well, yeah, you’re pretty beloved in the industry by anyone who works with you.
Matt: Well, not by everyone. A lot of the old timers don’t like us. The workers love us, the current workers, because they’re at shows with us, they see what we do for the business, and they’re in the ring with us.
Nick: A lot of the old timers don’t understand it, they don’t get us.
But, as a general life rule, don’t listen to old white men.
Matt: Yeah, it’s true, it’s true. [laughing] We get a lot of grief from certain people, and a lot of guys who aren’t even in the industry anymore, they’re just kinda hanging on, but yeah, we seem pretty beloved. But some of the fans, it’s almost like they either really love us, or really hate us.
Nick: There’s no middle ground with us. It’s so weird.
Matt: I feel like on Twitter, we’re probably the most targeted wrestlers as far as trolls go. You should see some of the stuff we put up with. Like, it’s insane. Insults, death threats, crazy stuff.
Nick: A lot of wrestling fans are crazy, but a lot of them are amazing, especially our fanbase — our hardcore Young Bucks fanbase. We did an interview with Dave Meltzer a couple days ago, and I told a story about how a fan bought 50 t-shirts of ours, so he has every shirt of ours. His whole closet is filled with every design we’ve had. Like that’s crazy, that’s a lot of money right there.
Matt: Just every town we go to, they have our stuff. A good example is this one guy, we have this shirt that just says SUPERKICK SUPERKICK SUPERKICK SUPERKICK and it’s red, and he comes up to me and he’s like, “Do you guys have anything else? I have everything.” And I’m like, “Sorry, man.” So he’s like, “You know what? I’ll take another one of these red SUPERKICK shirts.”
Nick: And he already had it!
Matt: Yeah! He’s like, “Eh, this one’s fading,” and I’m like what. I don’t think I’ve ever bought another shirt of anything. I’ve never had like, a sweet Nike shirt and thought yeah, I’m gonna get another one of these.
Nick: We’ve gotta give credit to our fans-
Matt: Our fans are amazing, they’re truly loyal to us. They follow us everywhere we go. Every little town they’re like, “SUPERKICK PARTY!” and we’re like, how do you know about us? How do you know about that?
Nick: It blows our mind, really.
Despite their loyal fanbase, like we said earlier – total sh*theels. While they’re most often on their own when wrestling outside of Japan, the two came into New Japan Pro Wrestling as part of the dastardly and despicable heel stable The Bullet Club, a bunch of disrespectful “gaijin” there to break with tradition and piss off as many Japanese wrestlers as possible, and a whole lot of Japanese fans in the process. Despite all of this, the Japanese fans can’t get away from loving the Bucks, either.
Matt: What’s funny now is they’re kind of in on it, and they love it. They’re too-sweeting, they have Bullet Club shirts.
Nick: When they boo us it’s such a fake boo.
Matt: It’s not like a real boo at all. It’s like, “I wanna boo you because you’re the bad guys!”
Nick: The sound even sounds fake, you know what I mean? They’re ultimately excited that we’re out there.
Matt: And it’s hip and it’s fun and it’s cool, and they get it.
Nick: They’re in on it.
Matt: And a lot of the fans who wear the shirts are girls: teenage girls, girls in their 20s, 30s…
Nick: I was telling Matt this, though, like everything in Japan has a fanbase, it’s not just wrestling.
Matt: They’re very passionate.
Nick: Like, we’ll be walking the streets, and we’ll see something and be like, oh, they’re doing a weird convention on random, I dunno, whatever. Anything. Like a Pokémon or something, and there will be thousands of people in the street dressed up as them. They’re just so passionate about what they like.
Matt: They love it! They love everything!
Nick: Yeah, it’s not just wrestling, it’s everything
Matt: But also especially wrestling. It’s like a sport there. For example in Tokyo — Tokyo and Osaka especially, those are the main places — you go walking and there are wrestling shops on every corner. Just wrestling shops, they only sell wrestling stuff. There’s like, what would you say… five around the Tokyo Dome hotel?
Nick: Yeah, within a mile radius.
Matt: So we’ll pop in and say hello, and there’s all these fans there like, “HOLY CRAP,” and they take pictures, and it’s so much fun. That’s how big wrestling is there, it’s literally in mom-and-pop shops. Wrestling is such a thing there, it’s cool. As much as it’s different, it’s the same.
Nick: I think that the fanbase is more loyal, though.
Matt: Yeah, they are.
Nick: They follow everything. Like, here it’s hard to get a loyal fanbase because there’s just so much entertainment in America, you know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah, and then you might lose them after a year, like man, I haven’t seen that guy in a while. American fans are more critical, for sure.
Nick: Oh yeah, exactly. Whereas Japanese fans, they just want to have fun.
Matt: They just want to have fun!
Nick: Yeah, like they don’t want to critique anything. Kenny Omega, he’s fluent in Japanese, so like his tweets he gets, it’s always positive. He says the Japanese never say anything negative.
Matt: But then all of the Americans will be like, “Ugh, this match sucked, Kenny did this wrong…”
Nick: He’ll see his American tweets that he gets and it’s all — obviously there are some positive, but there are so many negatives — and he’s like that just doesn’t happen with the Japanese fanbase.
Matt: But you know what it is? The American fans are in on the secret, and most of the Japanese fans still think it’s real, so they’re not really judging the same way American fans are. They’re judging more like if it’s a sports team losing or winning. Like, “Aw, my favorite wrestler lost today, that sucked, I hate this guy!” and they hate him for a different reason, whereas in the States it’s like, “Ugh, that guy botched this spot, he sucked.” But you know, I feel like the last five years, the tide’s changed. I don’t think being a smart mark is cool anymore, because everyone’s a “smart” fan. We’re all Internet fans. I think more people just want to have fun at shows.
Nick: You look at fans at PWG or Chikara, and it’s two fanbases who know what they’re getting into when they come to the shows, and I think they wanna be entertained. I think they want to be a part of the show, but they also want the show to be fun.
Matt: Don’t you feel like if there’s ever a guy heckling, it’s almost like everyone boos the guy out of the building. Like, back in the day people would join in and say, “YOU EFFED UP,” or whatever, and now they don’t join in as much. Like, that was the ECW thing and it’s kinda dying. Even in Philly people are like, “Hey man, shut up, let’s have fun.”
Nick: Yeah, even in Philadelphia I don’t see that as much.
Matt: But you know where you see it? You see it on Twitter. That’s where you see it the most. And I welcome it, I’m just like, “That’s fine, that’s your opinion, whatever.” You’ve got to have thick skin. It hurts, of course…
Nick: Not everyone’s gonna love you, you’ve gotta have thick skin in wrestling.
Well, plus, also you guys are supposed to be heels…
Matt: Yeah! And that’s what I told Nick, I’m like, we’re heels! This is the modern way of working a fan. If this fan’s mad at me on Twitter, then I’m obviously doing my job. This is the new way of getting heat.
Nick: But by the same token, we wanna sell that guy a t-shirt, you know, so there’s a thin line.
Matt: Yeah! We’ll have people come up to us and say, “Guys, I love to hate you, that’s why I bought this t-shirt,” and it’s like, okay, cool, fair enough. We try to be a modern day version of what a heel tag team means, but at the same time we wanna be a heel tag team that sells t-shirts. So we walk this fine line where we offend you, but not too much… [laughing] You know what I mean? We offend you in the context of the match.
Nick: I think you explained it pretty well the other day when you told another wrestler that our matches are like an infomercial for our t-shirts.
Matt: Well, that’s exactly what it is. We’re professional t-shirt salesmen, and the match is our infomercial. We go out there and say, “Buy that and buy this.”
I have a a good story that actually explains this better. We went out to a town and before the show we had this shirt that says, “SUCK IT SUCK IT SUCK IT SUCK IT.” Didn’t sell a single one. So we do the match, and we plan the entire match around “suck-its.” Like seven spots with “suck it.” We’re just screaming “suck it.” Can’t get enough “suck it.” Everyone’s getting into it, they’re yelling “suck it” with us. We go straight to the table after the show, right after our match, and we sell every single SUCK IT shirt we had. And I told Nick I was like see, the “suck it” is over now because we just did an infomercial, and this was our product. This is what we do, buy the SUCK IT thing! To me it was almost proof that like, that’s how you sell yourself.
Nick: Yeah, what you push in the ring, that’s what you sell out of it.
Matt: And people don’t get that. They’ll just put up this lame shirt and it’s like, why do you think that’s gonna sell? We’re selling an extension of ourselves, really. Every time we sell a shirt we think, “Will people buy this, will people wear this, will people think this is funny?” Whenever we have a table out we have like nine or 10 designs, and I’m always watching people as they look at our shirts, and see them smile, or see them laugh, ’cause we have silly, tongue-in-cheek stuff… like, we have this Internet meme shirt where it’s a picture of [Nick] crying, and me doing a big facial, and it went around the internet. It was from a New Japan match, and we had just lost the belts, so Nick’s crying, and it went around the Internet and everyone’s like, “These stupid facial expressions are ridiculous.” So I’m like, “Put it on a shirt!” Now when people see that shirt they’re like [groans] “Oh God, yeah, I gotta have that.”
Nick: Not everyone’s gonna buy it, but…
Matt: Not everyone’s gonna buy it, but there’s certainly someone who will!
Nick: That’s why we have 54 options on our Pro Wrestling Tees store.
Matt: Yeah, if you don’t like that one, there are 53 other options to choose from. Our Pro Wrestling Tees store has a lot of cool ones.
Nick: That’s where you can find 54 designs! At a live show we usually only bring 8-10.
Matt: We’ve actually had to get rid of, what would you say, 20?
Nick: Yeah, around there.
Matt: If we kept every design we’d have well over 70.
Nick: Yeah, and that’s just way too many.
Matt: I constantly update the store and I go, “Okay, what’s the low seller?” and I get rid of it. There’s a real psychology to it.
Nick: We’ve got a graph of our shirts, like, what sells the most.
Matt: I’ve got pie charts at home with my wife, like I’m not kidding. There’s a method to this madness.
Even though the two brothers had a brief split in TNA, with Max turning on Jeremy in a feud I will lovingly (and usually drunkenly) shout about to anyone who asks, the two were always played as good guys. It’s hard to boo two dudes who look like teenagers flipping around in neon tights and enough fringe to give the ghost of the Ultimate Warrior a boner. Or so you’d think.
Nick: I think the fans pushed us into [being heels], really. They got us to that point, they started turning on us. I think it first happened when we were first at PWG as faces, and they just started turning on us, and booing us, and heckling us.
Matt: And I remember they were actually against us going heel, like, “No no, you need to be babyfaces,” and we’re like, “Do you hear them?”
Nick: The bookers were against it and we were like, “No, we gotta turn heel,” and they argued that we had to be babyfaces and we’re like, “No, it’s not working, the crowd’s pushing us into it.”
Matt: So we went into business for ourselves and turned heel and it got over, and then everybody started booking as heels, like, “Yeah, they’re great heels!”
Nick: I think realistically we were forced into it.
Matt: The fans are the ones that made it happen, they wouldn’t stop booing us!
Nick: And to their credit, that’s what made us, that heel turn, and made our careers.
Matt: That got over, and then everyone was like, “Have you seen these guys as heels!?” and started booking us as bad guys.
Nick: It’s funny because now we can’t even be our same heel act, because all of the fans are cheering us.
Matt: Yeah! They’ve seen it all on the DVDs and are like, [clapping] “YEAH, I’ve seen this, and now I’m seeing it live!” and they cheer.
Nick: At Chikara and PWG we can still be those heel characters, but if we go to a random independent in, I dunno, New York or Philadelphia, we’re automatically the babyfaces because they want to cheer us.
Matt: We can’t be heels, but we’re still doing the exact same act, and spitting in people’s faces and doing crotch chops, and they cheer it.
Nick: It’s kind of like how Steve Austin was really a heel but fans cheered him. I feel like we have that dynamic, but on the independent scene.
Do you ever get tired of doing the same thing?
Matt: Oh yeah, of course. It’s like a band that plays the same songs every night, it’s like, “I wanna do something new!” So we try to do that. Like in small towns we’ll be babyfaces.
Nick: We try to change things up, if that means changing our moveset a little bit, or we’ll do something a little different with our characters…
Matt: We always have to change things, too, because it’s like, “Oh, these guys do a superkick,” but it’s always a different variation. It’s a guy doing a shooting star and then a superkick. It’s one here or two here…
Nick: And some nights we’ll test ourselves and say, “Hey, let’s not do a superkick.”
Matt: Yeah! Many nights we don’t even do a superkick. In Japan, during house shows, we don’t do any superkicks, so it’s a different match.
Nick: Just to test ourselves, and see what works, and what won’t work.
Matt: But like you said, it gets old, like, “Ah, okay, but this is what they wanna see.” This is the album they bought, and they want to hear their favorite songs. I can’t go out there and play a whole new album because they’re gonna be like, “Where’s the stuff I wanna sing along to?” And that’s essentially what they’re doing, they’re singing along. They’re going, “Superkick! Superkick! Superkick!”
Nick: But in Japan, they don’t necessarily want or need to see it, because they might not know that act like in North America. They know we’re these guys who do sweet stuff, but they might not know the song word for word.
That said, how hard is it to do that over the course of three days, like here at King of Trios, or over two days, but multiple matches building to a final against Team Tremendous in Beyond Wrestling’s Tournament for Tomorrow? You’re wrestling so many different teams, but everyone’s waiting for that Meltzer Driver, or that More Bang for Your Buck — those, big familiar cues?
Matt: I think you tease it almost, and you don’t give it to them until the right point. Like, “Oh, we’re gonna give it to them, no we’re not! Gonna give it to them, OH no we’re not!” And then you hit it in like, match four.
Nick: For example, yesterday was night one of King of Trios. We didn’t do every move in the book, because we know we’ve got two more nights of the same kind of trios matches.
Matt: You give them just enough so they still think, “Yeah, we just saw a special match, that was good, but we know they can do more and we want to see that.”
Nick: We figure we might advance to the finals, or close to it.
Matt: We don’t even know!
Nick: We don’t even know, but if we do, at least we’ll have some stuff we held back.
Matt: And even if we don’t advance, we know we’re wrestling two more days.
Nick: But especially for a tournament, you don’t want to do the Meltzer Driver on the first night. You know the fans are gonna wanna see it on night two, and then on night three…
Matt: And you’re in the same building every night for the same show and mostly the same crowd.
Nick: Like, last week was the Battle of Los Angeles, and that was hard.
Matt: Yeah, like a lot of the times you’ll walk into a building and, “Yeah, it’s a fresh crowd,” but then on the second night they’re a little less fresh because they’ve seen everything already, and they’ve already seen your main event match.
Nick: And PWG is way more familiar and way more critical than Chikara.
Matt: And they’re drunk.
Nick: So we’ll say we’re saving stuff for this week, and last week we did everything on night one, and then we did everything and more on night two…
Matt: And then everything plus more plus more on night three. That’s why we’re so burnt out from PWG. That place kills us like no other.
Nick: It’s the hardest place, but it worked, I dunno. We’re alive, we made it through, but we’re more sore than normal.
What as performers actually gets you excited, like you work so much, what excited you?
Matt: [Laughing] The Tokyo Dome? But no, every show excites me in a way because it’s like tonight’s a new opportunity to try my art. Every time I’m in the ring it’s the most fun out of everything.
Nick: The travel sucks.
Matt: Yeah, the travel sucks, getting to the show sucks.
Nick: But when we’re in the ring, whether it in front of 10 people or a thousand people, it’s always fun.
Matt: It’s how we express ourselves.
Nick: And Matt and I, we actually get like, a high. [laughing] It’s a high when we get in the ring and at the merch table.
Matt: Yeah yeah, like if we have a great night at the merch table…
Nick: … we get like an adrenaline rush, we really do. It’s like, “Wow, that was better than when wrestling in front of 10,000 people.”
Matt: We’ll be tired, and then we’ll have a really great day at the table, and we go to the back like, “Yeah, let’s do this tonight, let’s do that,” and it’s great. But that same effect can go the opposite way, like, if it’s really slow at the table we’ll get to the back like, “Eh, I don’t really wanna do this,” you know what I mean? And then mentally we’ve gotta build ourselves back up.
Nick: Yeah, it’s strange.
Matt: What else gets us excited? Wrestling great people, wrestling with AJ [Styles]- AJ’s just the man. We know we’re with him this weekend so it’s especially cool. He’s at the top of his game right now.
Nick: He’s the best singles wrestler in the world right now, I’d say.
Matt: And like, cool matches, cool opponents.
Nick: By the same token I think we’re jaded.
Matt: Oh yeah, for sure. How could we not be, though?
Nick: We feel more of the pain now. I’d say in the first eight years of doing this, I never felt pain in a match. Now it’s getting to the point where like, we’ll take a scoop slam and be like, “Oh my God, that hurt,” in the match! And we’ll feel it all the way through, which sucks. And then there’s some nights where I don’t feel it at all.
Matt: Yeah, like when the crowd’s really electric. See it’s hard for us to gauge a nice crowd like, volume-wise, because we’ll get to the the back, and we’re kind of desensitized because we’ve been in front of the hottest crowds in the world, so I’ll go to Nick and be like, “Were they there today?” Nick doesn’t know. We have to ask a guy who’s like, not on our level like, “Hey, how were they today?” And they’ll be like, “They’re the hottest they’ve been all night!” And we’re like, were they? Really? Because I didn’t even feel anything.
Well yeah, plus most of the time you’re so focused you can’t really tell from the ring either way.
Matt: Yeah, we’re focused, and there are so many other things going on, and we’re thinking about. What’s going on next, we’re worried about selling, and whatever else. But when they’re really good, despite all those thing, you still know.
Nick: The last time I really felt that was wrestling reDRagon in Japan, night three in Ryogoku in front of 10,000 people, but they were just hot.
Matt: It was almost like you could feel it all around you. The place, it’s called Sumo Hall, and it’s where sumo wrestlers wrestle. There are no seats, everyone sits on pillows. The crowd completely surrounds you, so it’s like whenever you do something, the reaction goes all the way up.
Nick: The noise is kind of enveloping your body, it’s weird.
Matt: It’s like a thunder, like a delayed thunder. Like you hit a superkick and it’s like, “…ohh!” as opposed to other places where it’s immediately like, “Oh!” Or like after a big move and the guy kicked out, same thing.
Nick: I had it when we wrestled with Super Dragon in Guerrilla Warfare at BOLA night two. The crowd was nuts.
Matt: And it was nuts because it was Super Dragon in the ring, so it was special. This guy’s a legend, and he never wrestles, so it was like, “Yeah, this is special tonight.” We definitely felt that way. And he’s nuts. He’s the most violent person I’ve ever met. [laughter] So like, I kind of turn into the devil when he’s out there in the ring with me. I don’t know what it is, it’s just this evil black cloud that overtakes my body. I see Dragon in the ring and I’m like, “Oh man, I’m gonna kill someone tonight. Well, I’m not gonna kill someone, but I’m gonna controlled murder someone tonight.” I don’t know what it is, but it’s this thing that… you feel the same way, right?
Nick: Yeah, he just does that to you.
Matt: Like, I was in the ring with him one night, and it was like being in a fight. But it was a fun fight, you know? It’s hard to explain. If you’ve ever been in the ring with Dragon, he’s just nuts.
What haven’t you done yet that you’re most looking forward to, what are your goals, because you’ve pretty much conquered almost everything?
Matt: I think, what would you say, just keep doin’ what we’re doin’? Just make a little more money at it?
Nick: Yeah, like I don’t really care where that is. If it’s making money at home, making money in Japan…
Matt: … staying healthy…
… protecting the portrait of yourselves that lives in your attic and ages for you…
Matt: [laughing] Right!
Nick: If we have to go to WWE to make money, then we have to, but…
Matt: We’re just gonna reevaluate the landscape when it comes time. When it feels like this wave we’re on is gonna crash, maybe it’s time to do something new. But right now, we’re just gonna keep doing what we’re doing, I think.
Nick: If there’s the right opportunity for WWE, then we would obviously think about it.
Matt: Or really anywhere that has the right offer…
Nick: Like Lucha Underground, or [Ring of Honor]…
Matt: But right now, it’s like, “Nobody can compete with us!”
Nick: Yeah, that’s what’s crazy.
Matt: Like back in the day it would be like, “Naw, I’m not gonna go there because WCW is offering me a better deal.” Now it’s like, “No, we’ll make more money on our own in the independents.” So it’s like if you can’t match what we’re doing on our own, then we gotta keep doin’ what we’re doin’.
Nick: But if there’s a point where we’re both feeling it, and we’re totally burnt out…
Matt: We’re gonna have to settle down and maybe sign somewhere.
Nick: I’ll be honest, I feel like in the last six months, I’ve been totally burnt out. I feel like I need a break, but we’ll see.
Matt: Yeah, it’s hard. I’ve got two kids, a boy and a girl, and he’s got a girl and a boy on the way.
Nick: We realize there’s a short window, maybe like, 10 years of making as much money as possible, especially in the style that we’re doing. So we figure we’ve got to make as much money as possible in the next 10 years, and then so be it. If I’m burnt out, then maybe I’ll be able to have a good life after that.
The Young Bucks, despite never signing a contract with WWE, have managed to cultivate a global fanbase. While a place like New Japan Pro Wrestling is international juggernaut, in mainstream North American wrestling, it still doesn’t match up to the power and influence WWE has cultivated. The Bucks are the most in-demand tag team in the world, without hyperbole, and all of that can be credited to the hard work they’ve put in.
Matt: I think that’s the beauty of it. You can see us on New Japan World in front of 30,000 people, or literally the next weekend you can go to a bar and watch us wrestle in front of 150 people. And we’re still gonna go out there, and… we always say we don’t have a “switch.” We don’t know how to turn it off and go you know what, let’s just slow it down tonight.
Nick: Let’s just mail it in.
Matt: Yeah, it’s like, “You know what? Those 150 people came to see us, and they probably watched our New Japan match in front of 30,000 people. They wanna see the Young Bucks be stars, let’s be stars again tonight.” So it’s almost to the point where it’s killing us — our brand, our style, our reputation works against us. We’ve booked ourselves into a corner where we have to perform every single night. But you know what? We love it. I couldn’t go out there and give them just a half version of myself because people would see right through it.
Nick: We’ve tamed down a little bit though, to our credit.
Matt: But you know what that is, it’s every great wrestler does that. Because once you brand yourself, you’re not just selling that brand and doing the moves, it’s more about the person doing the moves.
Nick: Since we started doing the superkicks more often, though, I feel like our bodies have–
Matt: Oh, that’s put years on our clock. I guess what I want you to come away with is if you’re gonna watch us at a live show, and you’re going out of your way to support us, I think that’s so punk rock of you guys following us. Even if it’s the smallest town in the world, just know that if we’re on the card, we’re gonna kill it. That’s just what we do. It’s not a cocky, arrogant, brash thing to say, that’s just the way we are. We’re gonna go out there, we’re gonna do our friggin’ best, and then we’re gonna go home and try to be fathers on two hours of sleep. And that’s the other thing. We’re away from our families, and it’s tough on us, but that’s how much we love our art. We just… we love this. We wouldn’t be here in this building today if we didn’t love it. We love this so much.
Nick: We try to be as genuine as possible to our fans that give us that $20 bill for a t-shirt because nowadays it’s hard to even come up with $20, and for the fans to do that…
Matt: It’s like you’re tipping us. Like a gratuity.
Nick: And we feel like when they do that, okay, we have to put on a show.
Matt: I know we joked about that earlier, how when it’s a great night at the table, but really, either way, we’re gonna go out there and really do it.
Nick: And that’s a part of our gimmick!
Matt: [laughing] Yeah, if you give us a good night at the table we’re really gonna do it.
Nick: It’s an adrenaline rush.
Matt: I’m gonna have a big smile on my face, Nick will probably do an improvised Meltzer Driver, too. He’s just been doing that lately! Like, we called an Indytaker in the back and this guy just does a flip for no reason! But… yeah. When you buy our documentary, and you buy our t-shirts, just know it’s going to a good place.
Nick: It doesn’t go to drugs or alcohol.
Matt: Yeah, it goes to diapers. Literally just directly to our family, and we truly appreciate all of the support.