The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson, were on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast to discuss their new book “Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues.” They admitted that it was probably a bad time to start writing a book since they were so busy with their work in AEW. Chris Jericho revealed that he did not accept a position as Executive Vice President because he knew that there would be a massive workload with the job, and Nick admitted that they didn’t think the job would be as hard at first.
“That’s one of the things when we first started talking about this, talking about EVPs, there was a idea floated, ‘Chris, do you want to be an EVP?’ I said, ‘Hell no!,” Jericho revealed. “I don’t want to do what those guys are doing because I know this s–t is everything.”
“It’s every day,” Nick agreed. “I don’t think we understood that. We didn’t understand all the duties that were going to come along with the job. We just figured, yeah, we’ve been booking our own angles on the indies anyways.”
Nick also talked about the time he wrestled with his brother at the age of 15. He said he lied about his age, and he talked about how surreal it was to go from their backyard wrestling days to bigger shows.
“It blew my mind. I remember signing that waiver,” Nick said. “‘Alright, I’m going to pretend I’m 18, Matt,’ but man, that was crazy because before that, we had done shows for $5 and 200 people max maybe. So going from 200 people to 6,000 – 8,000, I think it was– that blew my mind. It felt like we were in a dream, like this isn’t real. All these lights on me, I’m 15.”
Matt revealed how the name “The Young Bucks” came to be. He said that the promoters did not remember their names and referred to them as “those Young Bucks”, and he admitted that they did not like the name at first.
“I was ‘Mr. Instant Replay.’ I wore red,” Matt recalled. “[Nick was ‘Slick Nick’] and he wore blue. It never really crossed our minds, like ‘Hey, we want to be a tag team.’ It was just always we wanted to be a singles wrestler, at that time at least. We get to this show where we were just so happy that we even got booked because at the time, we’re making $25 a shot, and the guy in charge, he’s like, ‘I’m gonna pay you guys $75 each. And we’re like, ‘Holy crap. $75? We can make a living doing this if this is how we get paid.’ So we get booked and we go to the card.
“And we’re looking everywhere for our names. Where’s Mr. Instant Replay and Slick Nick on the card? It’s not on the card, and all of a sudden, we ask Joey, ‘Hey man, we’re here to wrestle.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re on the card right there against us.’ I go, ‘Excuse me?’ So I look on the thing, and it’s Joey and his partner at the time Mongo.
“And it says ‘vs. Matt and Nick, The Young Bucks,’ and I go, ‘Why are you calling us Matt and Nick, The Young Bucks?’ He’s like, ‘Dude, I’m gonna be really honest with you, I couldn’t remember your guys’ names, and when we kept going back to the match and we were talking about it, we just kept referring to you guys as Matt and Nick, those Young Bucks. So that’s just going to be your name today, okay?’ Our hearts just sunk. We’re like, ‘That’s great!’ And as soon as he walked away, we’re in panic mode. We can’t be Matt and Nick, The Young Bucks. That’s the worst thing ever.”
The Young Bucks also noted that they met former WCW star Chris Kanyon at the show. They had been running their own backyard independent show at the time, and they asked Kanyon if he would be in one of their shows.
“We saw Kanyon, and Kanyon immediately took a liking to us,” Matt recalled. “And he approached us and we were like, ‘Why is this guy talking to us?’… So Chris comes up to us. He’s just like, ‘Hey, I’m Chris Kanyon.’ We’re like, ‘Yeah, no duh like, holy crap, he’s talking to us,’ and he wanted to know a little bit about us. We actually told him, ‘We actually run a company three hours from here. Would you ever do a show for us?’ Immediately, he’s like, ‘Yeah, bro, that’d be great.’ We’re like, ‘What?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s get contacts, and I’ll be in contact and we’ll set it up. Maybe you can piggyback off the next time these guys bring me in and I can just come in.'”
Matt then told a story about a phone call he had with Kanyon where Kanyon revealed he had an attraction to Matt and asked if Matt was gay. Jericho noted that many of Kanyon’s close friends, including himself, knew that Kanyon was gay and didn’t care. Matt agreed and talked about a line he used in the book with Kanyon.
“We got to know him a little bit, and I don’t want to say it got weird… We were naïve kids,” Matt pointed out. “We didn’t know, and we’re just like, ‘Oh, this guy’s really great and he wants to help us in the wrestling business.’ So finally, one day, he calls me and he’s like, ‘Listen bro, I have something to tell you.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, what’s up Chris? You got more advice on tag wrestling?’ I don’t know. And he’s like, ‘Listen, I don’t want to sound weird, but the moment I saw you at the show, I gravitated towards you because I’m kind of attracted to you.’ And right away, I’m like, ‘Uh, holy crap, where’s this going?’ He’s like, ‘Listen, I hope this doesn’t change things, but bro, I’m gay,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ Again, I have so many– I have a gay uncle.
“I have a gay aunt, I’ve had so many gay friends. Even at the time, at that age, I knew so many homosexual people. It didn’t bother me. I was like, ‘Okay.’ But the thing that bothered me was, I was thinking, ‘wait a minute, so were you never really interested in working with us? Were you hitting on me?’ And then he immediately, he’s like, ‘That’s the first reason why I did, but now we’re friends, man. But I just want to ask you if you’re gay too because I just feel like there’s an attraction here. And I had to tell him, I hit a line I don’t know if I use in the book.
“I said, ‘Chris, I hate to break it to you man, but I’m exclusive to vagina,’ to try to pop him, and I think he did pop, but at the same time, I think he was kind of let down. I was so obsessed with wrestling, I just didn’t talk about girls. I just wasn’t interested yet… I think he might have been let down, but the same time, he’s like, ‘That doesn’t change anything, man. We’re friends. I still want to come in,’ because we brought him in a couple more times.”
Matt also revealed another phone call he had with Kanyon where Kanyon opened up to him about wanting to commit suicide. He noted that he was 18 at the time and didn’t fully understand the situation, nor did he understand what manic depression was. The Young Bucks also talk about their reactions to Kanyon’s tragic passing.
“He was kind of getting a lot more depressed,” Nick said. “He would always tell us to pray for him, and we did, but it was getting more and more–. I’m just a kid at the time, and he calls me one day,” Matt stated. “And I’m about to hop in the shower and he calls me, and he’s hysterically crying, and I’m just like, ‘What’s wrong, man? And I can’t even get a word in, and finally, he’s just like, ‘I’m thinking about killing myself. I’m thinking about killing myself right now.’ And I’m just like, ‘Chris, dude, relax.’ I’m like, what do I say to this guy? I’m a child, and he’s like, ‘Just pray for me right now, man. Pray for me. I don’t even know if I believe. Pray for me,’ and I sit there.
“And I’m praying with him and the whole bathroom was filling up with steam, and I’m almost in shock a little bit. I think I talk him down and we get off the phone, and I’m just like, that was the most intense thing that’s probably ever happened to me. And I’m like, this is getting kind of heavy now, this relationship with this guy. And after that, we kind of lost touch a little bit. I think we saw him maybe another time. We could see he was kind of falling apart a little bit. He showed up at a WWE show and tried to do some type of weird invasion. I would check in with him and see if he’s okay, but I could just tell something was up, and I couldn’t understand it.
“Again, I was just a kid. I didn’t know what being manic depressive meant; I had no clue. I had no idea what that meant. You would tell me that and it would just brush right off me. I don’t know. And he struggled with it and we tried to be there with him, but it got to the point where every time we’d talk to him, it was so unsettling and strange.
“We lost contact with him,” Nick noted. “I remember the day we found out.”
“Dustin called me, Dustin Cutler. He’s like, ‘Did you here?’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ And he told me, and I was just devastated.”
“Even at that young age, we were like, could we have helped?,” Nick admitted.
The Young Bucks also tell a story from a PWG show in 2009 where they faced Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) and Roderick Strong. They talked about how the crowd turned on them, but Bryan and Strong were insistent on being the heels and trying to help The Bucks keep their babyface heat. They said things went wrong, as the two kept hitting them with stiffer shot after stiffer shot.
“It’s funny, Matt has yet to watch that back because he was such bad memories of it,” Nick revealed. “That was the DDT Tournament for PWG, which meant we had to wrestle three times in one night, and for PWG, those matches were so hard on the body. And this was the finals, and I believe it was the second match that we had. We were supposed to be the babyfaces, but for whatever reason, the crowd turned on us completely in match two.
“We were wrestling Kenny and Chuck Taylor, ‘The Men Of Low Moral Fiber.’ It was their first time teaming,” Matt noted. “They were two singles guys, but there were two popular hot acts, and people just wanted them to win. And I think at this point, we’re just the white meat, fist-pumping, ‘come on, baby!’, guys. I think they were just, ‘You know what? We’ve seen this act. These guys are just good guys, they don’t have any depth to their character,’ so they turned on us. And when we beat those guys in the second round, the whole place booed us out of the building.
“And Bryan and Roderick were in the finals with us, and it was a problem because they saw us as the babys still. And they’re like, ‘Listen, we got to get the crowd to sympathize for you guys again, and the way we’re going to do it’ – this is Bryan’s suggestions – ‘we’re just gonna have to beat the hell out of you.’ And we agreed like, ‘yeah, you’re probably right. That’s cool. Let’s do that,’ but we had no idea what we just agreed to, and I don’t think they knew either how bad it was going to get. They go out there, and they’re just the ultimate babyfaces and we’re getting booed out of the building.
“And they would hit us harder,” Nick added. “And it would get a bigger reaction each time.
“The more they hit, they more slammed us, the more they kicked us, the crowd got louder, and louder, and louder, and if we fought back, they’d boo,” Matt explained. “So they’re thinking, well, we’ve just got to them harder. We got to hit them more, and they cheered more, and more, and more. The idea just backfired.
“It wouldn’t work, and instead of just trying something new or just going with the flow, they just continued beating us, and it got to the point where it felt we were in a real fight. I remember even Roderick would run down the apron when I wasn’t even the legal guy, and he’d pull me down and throw me into the chairs. We’re fighting out in the seats… Roderick came up to us right afterward, and he apologized for the whole thing.
“I know Bryan felt bad about it, too. I’m not even upset with him anymore about it. Why would I at this point? I’m still buddies with these guys. It was a learning lesson for me because I don’t think I’ll ever do that to anybody because I don’t want to ever make a younger talent feel the way that I felt that night, and continue to kind of feel.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.