Nick and Matt Jackson, also known as the tag team The Young Bucks, have been one of the greatest tag teams in the world over the last few years, in ROH NJPW and AEW.
So, it is no surprise that prior to them helping form AEW they were offered huge money by Triple H to join WWE in 2018.
The Young Bucks revealed in multiple interviews, as well as their hit book “Killing the Business” that Triple H personally offered them a contract in 2018 whilst they were touring Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The Young Bucks revealed that Triple H offered them both $500,000 each to join WWE, as part of a package which also includes former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega.
On an episode of the Good Brothers’ podcast “Talk’n Shop”, Matt Jackson revealed that the pair had been offered half a million dollars to sign with WWE in 2018.
“I knew [Good Brothers] money. Everyone else was getting [$150,000] to start. He’s already offering us $500,000 each guaranteed.” Matt Jackson said in conversation with Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson.
He then added, “I’m going, ‘what!’ Right then, we knew our street value. That was the first offer. Basically, he said, ‘by the end of your trip, I would love an answer.’ The whole trip, I’m [stressed]. I kept dragging it out.”
The Young Bucks would talk to Triple H regularly over the next year. The Game was intent on signing the talented tag team, with the Young Bucks being set to bolster a fledging tag team division in WWE.
Nick and Matt Jackson turned down “4 or. 5” contracts with WWE, with the final offer being a rumoured $1 million dollar deal. This was said to be higher than they were making on the independents, although they were making a huge amount of money selling their own, and Bullet Club merchandise, at live shows and on ProWrestlingTees.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter claimed that The Young Bucks last contract offer from WWE was “roughly the same as WWE Champion AJ Styles”. Dave Meltzer who runs the newsletter is a known friend of the pair, which adds credibility to this claim.
So, despite having millions of dollars on the table, why did The Young Bucks turn down WWE to sign for AEW?
Why did The Young Bucks turn down WWE?
There were many reasons why the Young Bucks chose to sign with Tony Khan and form AEW over moving to the WWE.
Nick and Matt Jackson saw how their friends and fellow wrestlers were treated in WWE. Talents who have shone outside WWE like Zack Ryder and CM Punk were treated as second class citizens by the company. This extended even further into the tag team division, which was one of the least well-kept division in WWE history.
The tag team scene in WWE was dire. The best in-ring team maybe in the world was The Revival (now FTR), and they were being misused incredibly badly by WWE. They were not allowed to wrestle the style that made them Top Guys, and the Young Bucks could see that in WWE, they would not be treated well or allowed to wrestle their own style.
In addition, the lack of creative freedom was a huge downside for the brothers. They are known for creative and brilliant minds for wrestling, as shown in their time in AEW and on their hit web show “Being The Elite”. To lose such a crucial aspect of their lives would be something that millions of dollars could not make up for.
Finally, the amount of money they were making off merchandise was insane. WWE would never produce the amount of merchandise that the duo already were making, and it’s possible that even with the AJ Styles-level contract that they would make more money on the indies, selling t-shirts from a table at half time, than wrestling at Wrestlemania in front of 80,000 fans.
That is why the Young Bucks chose AEW over WWE, and why the likes of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole and more made the exact same choice.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.