All Elite Wrestling’s The Young Bucks are among the finest tag groups on the planet and are prolific relating to slapping their model on shirts, sneakers, and extra. But, they inform HL there’s one factor they gained’t promote.
The Young Bucks are identified for a lot of issues within the pro-wrestling world. Superkicks. Dying-defying excessive areal strikes. Profitable championships (they’re 7-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tat Group Champions, 3-time Ring Of Honor champions, and the one staff to win Professional Wrestling Guerilla’s DDT4 match 3 times). They Bucks – brothers Nick and Matt Jackson – are also referred to as the core of All Elite Wrestling, the primary firm “to take a swing at starting to compete with the WWE on a serious degree in practically twenty years,” per CBS Sports activities. The Bucks are additionally identified for yet another factor: merch.
“Sky’s the restrict with the merchandise,” says Matt Jackson, when speaking EXCLUSIVELY with MeSlop. “I’m so open-minded with all of that. It actually helps that my spouse is in cost with all of that, so I can get up in the course of the night time and elbow her and inform her, ‘Hey sweetie, I’ve this nice concept for a t-shirt!’ And he or she will probably be so bothered by me.”
Matt’s spouse – affectionately known as “Mrs. Matt” on Being The Elite, the Bucks’ YouTube vlog sequence that helped lay the groundwork for All Elite Wrestling – additionally works with licensing, and Matt reveals one merchandise he pitched her that followers have been dying for: ice cream bars. “I informed her that I’d like to have some kind of AEW ice cream bar,” says Matt. “I keep in mind fondly in the summertime when the ice cream man would come, and I’d get the Good Humor Hulk Hogan ice cream bar. I don’t understand how a lot of a risk it could be, however I put the concept on the market, not less than.”
One day, there could also be an ice cream sandwich bearing the likeness of the Young Bucks, including it to the lengthy line of merch objects: espresso mugs, cellphone circumstances, patches, neckties, flip-flops, high-top sneakers, ladies’s leggings, Funko Pop figures, a youngsters’s e-book, an upcoming biography, and extra t-shirts than you could possibly think about. “I don’t assume now we have ever stated no to one thing,” says Nick, who has turned this seemingly open faucet of branding right into a skit on Being The Elite. “Merchfreak,” a tackle Chris Angel’s Mindfreak, sees Nick mimic the magician earlier than rolling out a brand new product bearing the Bucks’ likeness. “We are saying sure to the whole lot,” provides Matt with amusing. “If it makes cash, let’s do it.”
“I feel we must say no to one thing like cigarettes or alcohol,” says Nick, disappointing anybody hoping for a Young Bucks-branded lager. “However we had shot glasses in [Ring Of Honor] at one level, and it didn’t even make sense,” says Matt. Nick and Matt have been described as “straight-edge sons of a minister,” and so they haven’t shied away from their religion or temperance.
Nonetheless, one of many largest branding moments in AEW’s historical past got here when Chris Jericho, upon profitable the AEW World Heavyweight title, stated he would have a good time the win with “a little bit little bit of the bubbly.” The manner that Jericho stated these phrases went viral, leading to him partnering with Nocking Level Wines to create his personal Extremely-Premium American Glowing Wine. The Bucks snigger when requested if they might need their very own bubby. “Nonalcoholic bubbly,” says Matt. “Unsure how good that may be. A cider can be good.”
The Bucks had purpose to pop corks on the (nonalcoholic) champagne. AEW not too long ago celebrated its first anniversary. With COVID-19 stopping the corporate from touring or performing reveals to giant crowds, AEW celebrated its first anniversary in an empty Each day’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. Nonetheless, the importance of working a thriving wrestling promotion for a full yr wasn’t misplaced on the Bucks.’
“Oh man, it feels identical to yesterday that we had been in DC, and the entire world was buzzing on what this entire present was going to appear to be and really feel like,” says Matt. “Now, we’re in a distinct world, however again then, after we had been performing in entrance of not less than 12,000 folks, I don’t assume I ever felt so nervous in my complete life.” Although Matt and Nick had greater than 15 years of in-ring expertise beneath their belts when AEW Dynamite first aired, being in command of reside TV was one thing fully new to them.
“Nick and I by no means actually had expertise with working a reside tv present or being on a reside tv present,” says Matt. “I imply, we had our run at Influence Wrestling about ten years in the past and did a pair reside tv reveals, however nothing like this. Nothing with this magnitude and with all the world watching us. I feel proper out of the gate, after we did our first present and received it completed, I felt so good. As soon as we received the primary one in, now I used to be prepared for it. And it’s loopy that it has been a yr, and now that we’re in a distinct world.”
“We’d have by no means imagined a yr later that we’d be in a world pandemic, and there would not be 12,000 folks,” he continues, “however there can be 12 within the viewers. It’s actually unusual and never what I’d have imagined. However, now we have completed pretty much as good as we probably can and beneath these circumstances. We now have stored a extremely nice wrestling present, a fantastic episodic present each week with nice attention-grabbing storylines.”
When AEW first started, Matt stated that he and his brother needed to craft the “greatest tag staff division on the planet.” Usually, singles opponents and their championships take the majority of the highlight, with tag groups getting little to not one of the fanfare. It’s laborious to argue a greater division than AEW’s. With groups like The Lucha Bros., FTR, Non-public Celebration, Jurassic Categorical, The Butcher and The Blade, Hybrid2, and The Darkish Order, tag staff wrestling is alive and effectively in AEW.
“We now have now displayed, for a yr now on TV, what tag staff wrestling might appear to be,” says Matt. “I feel tag staff wrestling is without doubt one of the fundamental issues that AEW has, and that’s in a big a part of the wonderful gifted wrestlers that now we have. I’m simply actually completely happy. I’m positive that issues could possibly be higher — I feel everybody might say that with the way in which issues — however I’m completely happy what now we have product of the scenario.”
“I’d say, for our younger expertise, it’s truly serving to them get higher within the ring,” says Nick, when requested if there’s been a silver lining to those empty stadium episodes of Dynamite. “The nerves aren’t there as a lot. If there’s a sold-out crowd of six to 10 thousand folks, these youthful wrestlers get scared and nervous, and naturally so. However in entrance of comparatively nobody, it looks like coaching, it looks like they’re again at wrestling faculty. They have been capable of strive various things, new issues, and get snug within the ring. In order that has been the largest optimistic in what’s going on proper now.”
Matt identified that a few of AEW’s highlights of 2020 have been in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. “You bought to do not forget that with out this pandemic, there might have by no means been a Stadium Stampede match,” he says. “There might have by no means been that loopy tag staff brawl match that we had with Butcher and The Blade. We actually have needed to assume outdoors the field.”
“One massive factor that was stated, if we’re going to do that in entrance of no person, let’s do issues now we have at all times needed to do however wouldn’t have labored as effectively if there have been folks on the market,” continues Matt. The COVID-19 has given rise to the fashionable “cinematic match.” Pre-taped matches and segments existed lengthy earlier than 2020. Followers will keep in mind 1999’s “Halftime Warmth” between Mick “Mankind” Foley and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and TNA’s “Closing Deletion,” Matt Hardy’s genre-bending opus that noticed him tackle brother Jeff Hardy in 2016. The WWE revisited the “cinematic match” throughout its WrestleMania weekend, placing Bray Wyatt in a metaphysical (and purely meta) “Firefly Funhouse” match, whereas The Undertaker confronted AJ Kinds in a horror-themed “Boneyard Match.”
Whereas these matches permit for wrestlers to mess around with cinematic components, they don’t at all times make for a great reside expertise. It normally leads to these “six to 10 thousand followers,” watching a large display screen for ten to twenty minutes, detracting from the reside wrestling expertise. Nonetheless, with no viewers allowed for his or her tapings, the Bucks determined to improvise – and capitalize.’
“We at all times needed to do that bizarre stuff,” says Matt. “So, we went dwelling and shot this match known as BTE 200, virtually like a pilot to indicate Tony [Khan, president, founder and CEO of AEW] to say, ‘Hey, that is our imaginative and prescient of what we are able to do in a cinematic match.’ As soon as he noticed that, we pitched the Stadium Stampede match. [BTE 200] helped the trigger, received the ball rolling, and satisfied him for us to do it. You simply need to assume outdoors the field and do issues in a different way and with out followers.” Nonetheless, Matt additionally admits – with amusing — that he thinks they “actually stretched that so far as we are able to.”
Had the COVID-19 pandemic not gone down, would AEW look any totally different than the way it does at the moment? “Man, it’s robust to say as a result of loads of that now we have deliberate for the longer term is what we’re at the moment doing,” says Nick. “Somethings did change. Clearly, the Blood And Guts metal cage match by no means occurred. And we spent some huge cash constructing that construction. [laughs] However the advantage of it’s that not less than we now have it. So, we are able to pull the set off on that at any time.”
“I really feel like we’re saving that for followers,” continues Nick. “I feel that’s the largest purpose we haven’t completed it. That’s the largest factor that modified, not having that match. As a result of should you have a look at it, the buildup to it was so sturdy, our scores had been going up, and it was trying we had been going to above 1,000,000 [viewers] for that present. We most likely would have, however we are able to’t management what’s going on around the globe. I feel that was most likely the largest change, not doing that cage match.”
The AEW Anniversary present averaged 826,000 viewers throughout its two-hour broadcast on TNT, per Cageside Seats. AEW has damaged the one-million mark as soon as over the previous yr and has stored viewer numbers within the 750-900okay vary over the previous few months. As Dynamite continues in its second yr, what might new followers anticipate when tuning in to TNT at 8pm EST each Wednesday?
“If I used to be a first-time viewer and I noticed the Lucha Bros. come out, I’d go, ‘Oh my God, who’re these guys?’” says Matt. “ ’Are these guys superheroes?’ Or if I noticed Orange Cassidy and him doing his act and being totally different, I’d not less than be curious. There are such a lot of attention-grabbing folks on our roster which are charming and attention-grabbing. It will be laborious to think about with a contemporary set of eyes what would seize my consideration, however after I was a child watching [WCW] Monday Nitro and watching Rey Mysterio flying across the ring actually captivated me. So possibly Rey Fenix can be it for me the place my thoughts can be blown.”
“I’d add guys like Darby Allin as effectively,” provides Nick. “All of the younger guys now we have are so gifted, and it’s loopy to assume how a lot of a loaded roster now we have right here.”
AEW Dynamite airs on TNT on Wednesdays at 8pm EST.