Killing The Business
From Backyards to the Big Leagues
Matt and Nick Jackson
Synopsis: A biography of The Young Bucks that culminates in the creation of All Elite Wrestling.
On the drive home after that PWG show, we noticed that this RVD thing had become quite the news story. Clickbait headlines for wrestling news websites said "Young Bucks Disrespect Legend" started popping up everywhere online and portrayed us as ungrateful, bratty kids. The conversation on Twitter between fans and even other wrestlers mostly sided with the very popular and notable wrestling star. Peope were outrageously angry with us.
Then, a lightbulb went off in Nick's head. "WWE's in town next month," he said. "We should get backstage, so people speculate we're going to sign there. It could give us even more talk and buzz." My stomach churned just at the thought. I told Nick I'd rather not go; being backstage at WWE gave me anxiety. I thought back at our past experiences there, and how it made me feel like I'd been walking on eggshells. While many of the superstars were friendly, we also had a few terrible experiences that I hadn't forgotten about. I remembered the time a big, intimidating wrestler turned financial commentator peeked inside the dressing room full of extras and shouted "TNA, TNA, TNA," and then sighed, as a way to put us down. I cringed, thinking back when an Olympic weightlifter turned wrestler took one look at us, and said to himself, "You guys are smaller than my son. And he's two!" before walking away. I thought back to when we walked backstage with a fellow local wrestler came up to Joey and said," Who are these two f**s with you?" I'd had enough of working for big-time wrestling companies and the failures that came with it. It clearly wasn't for me.
"Matt. It'll be different this time," Nick reasoned. "We're not actually trying to get a job. We already know we're signing with ROH and doing this would strictly be for the buzz. There's no pressure to do well. I say we do it."
The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson, are two of the only people who can legitimately say they have changed the wrestling business in the past 20 years. And while the book title jokingly refers to the fact that they "killed" the business through some unusual antics... nothing can be further from the truth, which makes for a fascinating autobiography.
Growing up in Southern California, Matt and Nick (Massie) had a turbulent yet happy childhood and instantly became wrestling fans, loyally following the careers of Hulk Hogan, The Rockers and others. Soon enough, they and their father built a wrestling ring in their backyard (similar to another pair of wrestling brothers. Hmmm....) and they began performing in front of live crowds as they were self-taught wrestlers.
From there, they became exposed to the SoCal indy scene, which paved the way for The Young Bucks to make forays into Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Chikara, Ring of Honor and numerous other promotions. Of course, this led to a short-lived run in TNA (where they competed as Generation Me) and back to ROH and New Japan, where the brothers would become one of the most in-demand tag teams in decades.
Beyond the standard swath of road stories and run-ins with veterans, there's a sense of innovation throughout the book. The Young Bucks were never afraid to try different things, be that the moves they carry out, the way they manage their personas or their approach to merchandise that was light years ahead of most independent wrestlers. It's interesting to see how they connect with wrestlers including Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, Adam Page, Adam Cole, Scorpio Sky, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens over the years, and how many of them play a large part in their careers.
Of course, the story ends up with the brothers as EVPs of the upstart All Elite Wrestling, following tense negotiations with both Tony Khan and Triple H, and even the decision they ultimately made shows that The Young Bucks are risk takers inside and outside the ring.
And beyond the ring, both Jacksons are very loyal to their families, which they make abundantly clear throughout the book. Not every wrestling biography makes this distinction -- though it's notable that authors such as Mick Foley and Chris Jericho with strong family values often make some of the best wrestling autobiographies. Coincidence?
Overall Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! One of the best wrestling books I've read in years. A light, easy read with a sense of humor about itself and a ton of modern history packed in less than 300 pages.