Heated Conversations with Booker T
Episode 177: The Young Bucks discuss Japan, Their Beef with Booker, Kenny Omega, ALL IN 2? and much more!
Release Date: September 28th, 2018
Recap By: James Hayes
Booker T and his Co-Host Brad Gilmore welcome you to the show!
Booker and Brad are excited about finally having on the iconic tag team of The Young Bucks.
Booker: We got a very special interview.
Brad: This is big.
Booker: This is groundbreaking. Let’s bring them on. They are better known as the Young Bucks, Nick, and Matt Jackson. Hey guys. What’s going on?
The Bucks: Hey. How’s it going?
Booker: You guys seem laid back. I thought you guys were in Florida. You guys are in California.
Nick: That’s why we are so laid back.
Booker: They got special rules out there.
Nick: We are the same. We are all from the beach and we all just want to hang out there.
Booker: My boy RVD, he’s a California boy. I always like hanging out with him, when I come out there. I’m hopefully going to spend some time. It’s all about you guys. What’s life like for The Young Bucks?
Nick: We’ve been blessed to do what we want. We have the freedom to pretty much wrestle for whichever company we would like to. It’s been a journey to get to the point where we have the control of our destiny, we are enjoying life and enjoying our career.
Matt: It’s been a long journey we’ve been doing this for 15 years now. It seems like overnight success. It took 10 years of scratching and crawling and trying to get something going. It took 10 years for us to make money and now we’re in a position where the wrestling has almost become supplementary to our real money. We make money in merchandising. Wrestling is the cherry on top. We don’t need to wrestle at this point. We could sit at home and sell the YouTube show. We are blessed. There is a big boom in independent wrestling right now, and we seem to be at the forefront of it.
Booker: Every overnight success takes 15 years. You guys didn’t know that?
Booker: We gotta talk about the elephant in the room. The first time I got a chance to meet The Young Bucks… and you know you are onto something when your name gets there before you do. I knew about you guys before I ever met you, like Samoa Joe, like A.J. Styles., their names ring very loud, and yourselves as well. Our first meeting is when you guys were in WWE. I think you were getting a try-out, I’m not sure.
The Bucks: Yeah.
Booker: I did not know you guys and perhaps you did not know me as well, WWE Hall of Famer, 10 Time Tag…
Brad: He’s going to just read the stats. We know, Book. We are aware!
The Bucks laugh.
Booker T: I don’t think you guys realize to this day that you guys were leaning on my jacket. I said, “Hey, man you leaning on my jacket.” Then I got the jacket and looked at you guys kind of… I don’t know if you remember?
Booker T: What did you guys take away from that first meeting with Booker T?
Nick: I’ll say it right now… being back there at that stage in our career, it’s like walking on eggshells. You don’t know who to say, “hi” to, you don’t know if you’re disrespecting anyone, so we’re just trying to be out of the way, and with us trying to be out of the way, we ended up being not out of the way. I was the one leaning on your jacket, but I had no idea that I was, and when you came up to me I was so intimidated and scared to death, I was like, “Oh no, what did I do?”
Booker and Brad laugh.
Matt: Like Nick said we were just trying to be polite and blend in and not stand out, because we had just left our position at TNA Wrestling, and we were at WWE trying to create a little buzz, and at that point we knew we were going to sign with Ring of Honor, so we were trying to create a little buzz and get the internet talking like, ‘Hey these guys from TNA are backstage at WWE, are they going there now?’ You know? We didn’t want to make a big stink about it and then it ended up becoming the biggest story online. And you know what Booker I have to credit you for doing that for us, because I look back and think it was our first big break, because it was the first time anybody was talking about us and now everybody knew our names and instead of shying away from it, we decided to make it our character online and honestly it got us over. You helped get us over. Now, people knew who we were.
Booker: I’m gonna tell ya, you guys embraced and ran with it. You did the right thing. If I was in your position I would’ve done the same exact thing, literally, because to shy away from it, that did nothing from you boys, to own it that way. Then there was the handshake thing.
Brad: What was the handshake thing? Remind me.
Booker: When they didn’t shake my hand. The wily old veteran, the old guy. You know?
Matt: We broke the code.
Booker: But, actually to take that and run with it.
Brad: It was actually 2012 or eleven?
Brad: That was the first time I heard of The Young Bucks. It was before I was working for Book, I’m scrolling through the internet and it said Booker T has a beef with The Young Bucks. I was like, “Who the hell are these guys?” That’s how I found out.
Nick: Matt and I still get wrestlers who come up who say, “Hey, I didn’t think you guys shook hands.”
Booker and Brad laugh.
Matt: When you can make the fans believe and make the boys believe you are onto something good. We started getting a bad reputation about it and I wondered if we took this thing too far. Is this going to affect our booking and our work? You know what, let’s just commit to this and see where it takes us. And immediately we saw a difference. Everybody wanted to talk to us and book us. Our prices went up, And that was kind of the beginning of this edgier character that we came up with, around 2011, 2012. That was the beginning of our reality-based wrestling. A year later we got in the Bullet Club and that kind of allowed us to play off each other. We became cool heels.
Booker: That’s what the business is about, I talk to my students all the time. The fans can see it, but we got to make them feel and believe. If we don’t believe it ourselves, there’s no way to… I used to tell guys in the locker room I was top 5. You gotta believe. Especially with reality-based stories. People thought I was going to kick Corey Graves’ ass (I’m still not sure he wasn’t.) They said, “If Booker catches Corey Graves at Starbucks he’s in trouble.”
Booker: Forbes picked it up, that’s what the business is.
The Bucks: Yeah.
Booker: In Japan they love you. What’s it like to have those fans?
Nick: That place is our second home, wouldn’t you say, Matt?
Matt: Yeah. At this point, we only go for the bigger show, because our schedule is so hectic, but we are usually there once every four or five weeks.
Nick: We… I will look back at the end of my career and Japan will just have a soft spot. I love the people. We love the culture and just how nice everybody is. How polite the fans are. I love the way they love professional wrestling. You can have psychology. You can be a true heel. You can be a true babyface because they believe. I think I learned the art of selling from Japan. It’s a real throwback. Sometimes it feels like it’s the 1970’s.
Booker: What do you guys know about the 1970’s?
They all laugh.
Nick: Cody Rhodes says we are the most old school wrestlers that he knows.
Booker: Over In Japan I realize the artistry of performing, the pageantry, bringing the sport alive. As well as they are honorable people. I bought a new camera while I was over there, left it outside, came back hours later, and it was still there. Would not happen here.
The Bucks agree.
Booker: As far as working with Kenny Omega, Cody Rhoades, as well as ROH in general, how much has that brought more flavor and life to what you do?
Nick: We’ve known Kenny for over a decade now. There was a span of 6 years where we hadn’t seen him, then we finally we connected when Kenny came to New Japan. We heard he was coming and we like,” Yes, that’s one of our best friends.” We were very happy. The first time I met Kenny was at Matt’s wedding. Like an idiot, or like a bad brother I left his wedding to go do a show. That was the first time I met Kenny. We connected immediately. He is so innovative and he thinks outside of the box. I think that’s why he’s so good. The same thing with Cody, he thinks outside the box, but he also has an old-school mentality that just works, and it still works to this day. We’ve only known him for a couple years, but when we heard he was joining The Bullet Club we thought it would be a perfect fit and sure enough, it was.
Matt: With Kenny, the three of us we operate as almost the same person. We think the same way. We are just three weird guys that don’t really think like professional wrestlers. When we are in the ring it’s like making a movie. I don’t like to think like a wrestler because everyone does the same cookie cutter stuff. We try to think differently. And Kenny comes up with the most outlandish ideas and Nick and I think it’s even crazy for us. That’s the thing about guys like us, we are not afraid to take gambles and commit. Sometimes it won’t work, but that’s how you find out who you are.
Nick: For instance, there was a Halloween show in Tokyo and Kenny and Matt had the idea that the three of us would be Ghostbusters and I would be Casper, and I was on the fence as to whether this would get over. New Japan is a serious company and I thought the booker will get mad at us. The owners will get mad. But we committed to it and by the end of that match, people were going nuts for it.
Matt: I wanted to touch on Cody for a minute. We just hit it right off with him. We couldn’t be more different. He thinks so much different than us, but it still works, especially when we came together and decided to do this show. We fought almost every day. It was a balance of what would work. We had to find a middle ground because we don’t operate the same way, like with Kenny we agree on everything, with Cody we disagree on everything. What I love about him he is not afraid to step out of his comfort zone.
Booker: You talking about Stardust? (I liked Stardust.)
Booker laughs at his own joke. Brad giggles.
Matt: He is not afraid clearly, right?
They all laugh.
Matt: We put him on our show and immediately he… I knew he had something special in him and he was not afraid to just listen to us. It’s a different world for him. He had been with WWE for 10 years but this is different. He came to Nick and me for guidance and he developed so quickly we knew he was good.
Booker: Well, you guys are good too. I was a critic, and I should be because I’m thinking about the next generation. You guys have created something like nobody else has. When you can get the fans to buy into you and believe in you, that’s what this is all about, the fans, giving the fans lasting memories for a lifetime.
Brad: I want to talk about All In, you talk about creating memories, that was one of the most incredible shows on an independent level. Was it Matt that almost didn’t make it because of the flu?
Nick: That was me. 3 days before I caught the flu. We were flying home and I was literally shivering for 6 to 8 hours. I was in so much pain. It was a close one.
Matt: It was tough we were going really hard! It took so much to book and run this show. People don’t realize. It was insane and Nick got a virus, At one point he thought he may not be able to wrestle his own show. It was pretty bad but thank God he made it. I want to thank you, Booker, for putting us over like that. That is what we are in this for, for telling stories, and lasting memories. In the end, that’s all we have, our memories, right?
Matt: I think All In weekend for me, looking back, and we are about a month removed now, was clearly the highlight of my career. The entire weekend. It just felt different. It felt like a weird magical festival that we put on. I felt so proud. Our family was there the whole week with us and got to feel it too. It didn’t feel like a typical wrestling show. After 5 hours there were people still standing because they all wanted to hear us talk at the end. Almost like a final curtain call. Cody said it best it felt like a revolution.
Below is that awesome Ghostbusters/Bucks/Omega moment.
Booker and The Young Bucks shake it out!
Before The Final Bell:
There are another 13 minutes of great content from Booker and The Bucks. They break down the experience of creating the biggest indie show in wrestling history, and if we will see an All In 2.
Click the link at the top to enjoy it!
Book and Brad have had an impressive run of shows.
This featured a very good interview with some funny and insightful stories. I had no idea Booker and The Young Bucks had a past. It’s ironic that that incident would lead to The Bucks finding the characters that would make them legendary.
The Lesson: Negatives can become positives.
Rating: 8 out of 10