X-Pac 1,2,360 – Episode 44
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Recap by: Christopher Gaspere, PWPocasts.com Specialist
Top Newsworthy Items
-The Young Bucks have a new Hot Topic exclusive shirt coming out soon.
-The Bucks and Omega went into business for themselves with “The Elite” concept.
-The Bucks have no interest in the WWE at present time due to their current success and WWE’s rough schedule.
-X-Pac was approached by New Japan to possibly work in some way with the L.A. dojo opening next year
00:00: The Young Bucks on their match with Roppongi Vice and Dave Meltzer
10:11: Innovative moves, merchandise sales, and the formation of The Elite
22:27: Josh Barnett,“Being The Elite” YouTube show, and a WWE run
40:39: Sponsor Ad
41:09: X-Pac and the crew offer their minor criticisms and stand-out performers about the NJPW G1 Special
The Young Bucks on their match with Roppongi Vice and Dave Meltzer
Beyond X-Pac, Bill Hanstock from Uproxx.com, TK Trinidad, Jimbo, and Denise Salcedo were in the room. X-Pac introduced his guests this week, Matt and Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks, as the “premiere tag team in pro wrestling.” He called the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Special in Long Beach, which The Young Bucks wrestled at both nights, a “really special weekend” and felt New Japan “killed it” in terms of their quality of show.
The Bucks were first asked about their matches over the weekend, first as part of a ten-man tag team match on the first night and a title defense against Roppongi Vice on the second night. Matt Jackson said that they and Vice were supposed to go approximately twelve minutes but decided to go twenty-five minutes instead. His thinking was “[i]f we tear the house down and get over, what are they gonna care?” Besides that rationale, Matt explained that Rocky Romero “helped book the whole weekend” and he kept saying “take your time” when they were in the ring, so they had permission in their eyes. X-Pac praised Rocky Romero, saying that most people don’t understand his “value.” Nick and Matt continued the praise by saying he was and underrated worker, a big help to the Junior Heavyweight Division, and the best hot tag in the business.
The conversation moved to Dave Meltzer, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer and kidney failure this past weekend between Nights 1 and 2. The Bucks performed two Meltzer Drivers, a tag move named for the journalist, as tribute to his father. Meltzer this week has been vocal about how much the act meant to him and his family. Nick said they knew, even before Herbert Meltzer passed away, that they wanted to do something to pay respect to the Meltzers. They figured out the spot for the Meltzer Driver outside the ring. They didn’t practice, but they usually “eyeball” their spots now to determine if it’s possible.
The pad outside the ring was quite thin, so Nick said that his foot was crushed badly on the impact of the move and he could barely walk the next day, but it was still “worth it.” Matt said he “felt a connection to everyone in the building” after it happened, and he was glad they could do it for Meltzer. X-Pac mentioned the prevailing wisdom on Meltzer when he was in the business, especially coming up, was “negative,” but he feels “grateful” to people like Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller because they’ve given “an accurate history” of the business, a history not determined by the promoters. The Bucks said they “totally agree.” Nick went on the say, “Some of these weekend warrior guys that bury Meltzer…I think, Dave’s done more for the business than you have.”
The Bucks discuss innovative moves, merchandise sales, and the formation of The Elite
Denise Salcedo asked the brothers if they are hesitant about any of the moves they attempt. Nick said that initially Matt thought the Meltzer Driver itself “was not possible.” He said usually though, they are on the same page in coming up with crazy ideas, and it’s their opponents that say no to them. X-Pac, along with Marty Jannetty, wrestled The Bucks once, and they reminisced about a Tornado DDT off the apron that X-Pac took and a 450 splash that was turned into an X-Factor. Matt told another story about one time they didn’t think a move was possible, one that Frankie Kazarian came up with.
They were wrestling The Addiction in a ladder match, and Frankie developed a finish where Matt would hold Frankie in a Tombstone position while standing on a table that was hedged in the corner. Then Nick would come off the top of the ladder and give him the Indy Taker. They were convinced it couldn’t be done, but Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were insistent, so The Bucks went along with it, and it worked.
Nick told a story about a time that he glued thumbtacks to his shoe to superkick Candice LeRae, and Matt was convinced he’d “kill someone” with the move. Denise posited that their moveset is so unique because they are self-trained. They seemed to think it was possible. They also attributed it to a couple other factors, including never saying no to each other and going “outside boundaries” whenever possible. Matt also said they committed to getting something over, as too often wrestlers will change and go back to what they know because something they are doing isn’t getting over. For instance, he said they used Sharpshooters at Dominion for the first time, and it feels like it might become a staple, especially considering it isn’t as high impact and harmful of a move.
Bill Hanstock asked them how their merchandise deal with the chain store, Hot Topic, came to pass. Apparently, the owner and CEO of Hot Topic attended WrestleMania, and he saw Bullet Club, Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and Young Bucks shirts throughout the crowd. He assumed WWE owned the properties and called them to negotiate a deal. WWE had to tell them they didn’t own those. Eventually, Hot Topic contacted Ryan at ProWrestlingTees.com and the deal was worked out. Hot Topic started selling the shirts in select stores, but the demand for the shirts was “mind blowing” according to the store, and they had to place a new order after five days, so they placed them in all Hot Topic stores. In fact, The Bucks just cut a deal with Hot Topic for a new, exclusive shirt that will go on sale soon.
X-Pac mentioned how he dug The Elite being a group within a group, something he and his friends did once upon a time. He asked how it happened. They explained they had been friends with Kenny Omega “forever” and were excited when he joined Bullet Club. When traveling, they would talk about lists of who the top ten elite wrestlers in the world are, and they would jokingly but themselves on the list.
Eventually, this led to them referring to themselves as “The Elite.” The big moment came, however, when A.J. Styles signed with WWE and was kicked out of Bullet Club. After Bullet Club attacked him and left the ring, Kenny asked Nick if the three of them should jump back in the ring and attack him again. Nick told him to ask Matt who simply replied, “Let’s go.”
Afterwards, they jokingly captioned the photo of the three of them in the ring, “The Elite of the Bullet Club,” and it blew up. They were told initially that others didn’t want them to call themselves a different name other than Bullet Club, but the three men insisted because the perception was that Bullet Club was becoming stale. X-Pac said it was important to protect themselves “in case Bullet Club became watered down,” to which Nick replied, “That’s it.” Matt claimed it was also a good business decision as well because they saw little money off of Bullet Club t-shirts, but these Elite t-shirts are theirs.
The Bucks on Josh Barnett’s commentary, their “Being The Elite” YouTube show, and a WWE run
X-Pac and The Bucks briefly discussed the greatness of Marty Scurll. The Bucks call themselves, when they are teaming with Scurll, The Super Villains. X-Pac claimed Scurll is a guy who “brings something to the group rather than the group bringing something to him.” X-Pac then asked about their exchange with Josh Barnett the other night outside the ring. They explained that Barnett doesn’t like their wrestling style, so he consistently tries to bury them every time he calls one of their matches. They don’t like it because the commentary’s job is to get the product over even if the commentator doesn’t like a particular style.
Bill Hanstock asked if their ad revenue had decreased on YouTube for their show, “Being The Elite” after YouTube started to restrict wrestling content. They said that they didn’t make a lot before but “make pennies on that show” now, which is why they advertise their t-shirts and merchandise on the show so much. Matt said he’s often more excited now by coming up with storylines and filming “Being The Elite” than he is by wrestling matches. Nick said they are routinely getting 100,000 views in the first twenty-four hours now. X-Pac thinks it is good because it is “letting [the audience] become emotionally invested.”
The brothers were asked about their family being at the G1 Special. Their brother, who used to also wrestle, has no regrets about leaving the business. He is “happy with what he has” running a car dealership. Nick said it was nice to be “vindicated”, as his mother-in-law was in attendance after thinking the career was “silly” when he was a late teen.
X-Pac asked them the last time WWE had been in contact with them. They claimed they haven’t been contacted directly in a couple years now, but indirectly they were contacted during their last contract negotiation. X-Pac asked if they were interested. The answer was a quick “hell no.” They admitted that if the landscape changed quickly, the answer might change, so one “should never say never.” If they could get a schedule like The Hardys, they might consider it, but being on the road for three hundred days is too much, especially considering how close they are to their families. X-Pac told them bluntly, “It’s not worth it.” Nick said they have fourteen days off after their PWG show this weekend and how no one in the WWE could say they get that kind of time off. X-Pac deadpanned, “Unless they get hurt.”
X-Pac and the crew offer their minor criticisms and stand-out performers about the NJPW G1 Special
The crew all agreed that the overall weekend for New Japan’s United States excursion was incredible. X-Pac isn’t convinced they could fill a 20,000 seat arena next year and thinks they should aim for 8,000-10,000 instead. Hanstock mentioned the news that New Japan will be opening a L.A. office and dojo next year. X-Pac said he was approached by George Carroll, director of U.S. operations for New Japan, about doing something with the dojo. X-Pac seemed to realize after saying it that maybe he wasn’t supposed to and moved on.
Hanstock knows they can’t take major events like Best of the Super Juniors and the G1 Climax out of Japan. However, he thinks they should have something like the qualifiers for Best of the Super Juniors in the United States. X-Pac was happy it was an entirely New Japan environment with the same ring, announcers, referees, etc. He would like to see risers used for seating next time; also, he wants to see streamers next year and ceremonies with flowers and all for title matches as well. Hanstock also said they need to work on having different merchandise stands for different types of products so it’s not all one large line for everything. X-Pac also mentioned that New Japan World, the website for the company’s streaming service, needs more work completed on its navigation to make it easier.
Beyond the obvious stand-outs of the weekend in Omega and Kazuchika Okada, X-Pac thought the storytelling in Ishii and Omega’s match was “amazing.” Hanstock wishes New Japan would tone down the strong style, however, after what happened to Katsuyori Shibata and Tomoaki Honma this past year.
X-Pac was unfamiliar with the details of Shibata’s injury. When Hanstock explained that he suffered a hematoma, X-Pac admitted he had had one himself when he was nineteen. He was rushed from the Monster Factory to the hospital; it was “really bad” he said, but didn’t provide a lot of detail.
X-Pac thought the stock of Michael Elgin and Zack Sabre Jr. rose this past weekend. He even called Sabre Jr. the pure wrestler that he likes to watch the most. Hanstock thought Omega/Elgin was Elgin’s best match to date. Denise Salcedo liked Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii, and Tetsuya Naito from the shows. Jimbo offered up Hangman Page as someone he was also impressed by. The announcing for the show, one of the most discussed and controversial topics of the week, was brought up but not talked about much. X-Pac said that he prefers listening to the Japanese commentary himself anyway over English commentary for New Japan events.
Score and Review (9/10)
The Young Bucks interview is certainly worth listening to for their discussion of making money through merchandising and self-advertising outside the WWE machine, and for their discussion about the creation of The Elite. The conversation afterwards about the show was entertaining as well, with a lot of legitimate minor criticisms about the show and how they could improve it even more next year.
This shorter, more focused format that the podcast has taken recently has increased its listenability significantly. It’s now a more digestible and funnier show than it ever has been. It’s also helped that X-Pac feels more featured as the star of the show in recent weeks as it should rightfully center around him, but Bill Hanstock becoming a more regular voice, both in interviews and discussion, has helped as well. The podcast, overall, is starting to find its flow in terms of its voice, who is in the room, and how long the show runs.
Chris Gaspare is a teacher from Maryland who has been watching wrestling since 1989 when he saw his first WCW Saturday Night episode and quickly rented as many NWA and WWF VHS tapes he could find in local stores. He also attended Tri-State Wrestling Alliance and early ECW shows in Philadelphia, which really kicked his fandom into high gear. He lapsed in the mid-2000s, but returned to the wrestling fold a few years ago.