The Young Bucks wrestled in TNA in the early 2010s, although the results were not quite as you may have expected…
The Young Bucks In TNA
The Young Bucks signed for TNA in 2009 after a huge amount of hype coming off their performances in PWG. However, the head of TNA at the time Vince Russo was not a fan of the brothers, forcing them to change their look and even cut their trademark long hair.
They write in their book Killing the Business, “Defeated, we went back to the hairdresser and asked for a couple more inches to be taken off. She did just that, and as she dusted off my shoulder of any stray hairpieces, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed looking at my reflection.”
They then beat the Motor City Machine Guns in their debut match, setting them up for huge success. However, this would soon be the end of their push, with Russo getting bored with the duo. He even split up the Young Bucks and made them wrestle each other, although this was forgotten just weeks later and the pair were put back together with little fanfare.
TNA even forced them to change their names. At first the duo were brought in under the name “Generation Me”, without names given to the individual wrestlers. When the fans, who were well aware of their work on the independent scene, began to chant “Young Bucks!” regularly during their matches, the TNA brass had the genius idea to change their names from Nick and Matt Jackson to Max and Jeremy Buck.
They would eventually ask for their release and leave the company, but only afte realising how little TNA management valued the Young Bucks work in the ring..
Vince Russo Was “Not High” on Generation Me
The Young Bucks in TNA, wrestling as “Generation Me”, did not acheive the success in the company as many would have expected. The pair never held the TNA Tag Team Championships and were never featured as one of the top teams in the company.
This was a shame. They had made their name in PWG as one of the best teams in the business, being former tag champions before signing for TNA in December 2009. There was huge hype when they signed but it appears the powers that be were not too invested in pushing them in the future.
This has been proven true by Bruce Prichard. The former “Brother Love” currently works for WWE but was a part of TNA management in 2010, joining not long after The Young Bucks made their debuts. During his time with the company, he gained an insight regarding how TNA management felt about “Generation Me” and why they weren’t pushed as a top team in the promotion.
Despite fantastic matches with The Motor City Machine Guns, TNA management didn’t “have anything for them” and “weren’t high” on the duo. Head of creative at the time Vince Russo did not rate the duo and instead focused on pushing the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair instead of focusing on the young tag team, and let them leave the company when they said they could “make more money on the independents”.
Bruce Prichard revealed on the latest episode of the “Something To Wrestle With” podcast
“The Young Bucks, when they were in TNA came to me and said, ‘We can make more on the independents.’ I knew that Russo did not have anything for them and was not high on them. They told me they can make more on the independents and I said, ‘Man, go make more on the independents.’ They said, ‘Can we have our release?’ I said, ‘Yes, right now you can have your release.”
The Young Bucks did push Max and Jeremy Buck to one side and return to their previous names of Nick and Matt Jackson. They would return to PWG and become two of the top wrestlers in the promotion. They would also sign with New Japan Pro Wrestling and join Bullet Club, but only due to someone they met during their time in TNA.
TNA Was Where They Met Kazuchika Okada
During their time as Generation Me in TNA, the Young Bucks met NJPW Ace Kazuchika Okada. He was on his excursion in the United States with the company, during NJPW’s partnership with TNA. However, before he was The Rainmaker he went by the name Okato, based on the character Kato from The Green Hornet.
The pair became friends with Kazuchika Okada in TNA, with the Japanese star becoming fast friends with the brothers. It was even their friendship and how they stuck up for him during their days together in America that got them their first job in Japan. Okada recommended them to his bosses in New Japan and got them booked in the New Japan Junior tag team division.
Nick Jackson revealed in an interview with Chris Jericho on Talk is Jericho that “we’re best friends with [Okada]. Oh yeah.” before Matt added, “dude, [going to bat for Okada with Impact management] is the reason we got a job here [at NJPW]. We became friends with him back in our [Impact days].”
They later revealed them “going to bat for Okada” was when they went to TNA management to stop them making Okada bleed in the ring, when the young star was clearly very uncomfortable doing it. Okada never forgot what they did for him and he always treated The Young Bucks well after that day and the group became best friend.
“There was one time when TNA wanted [Okada] to bleed and he was very uncomfortable about this situation and I remember Matt and I he came up and told us ‘Hey these guys want me to cut my forehead’ and we’re like – What?!”
“He wasn’t even being booked so we went to bat for him and we helped him get out of that situation and I felt like he liked that a lot that we helped him out on that and later on it probably paid off for us, you know what I mean?”
Luckily, The Young Bucks repaid Okada’s faith by becoming the best tag team in the world and helped bring huge foreign numbers in to New Japan. They helped make Bullet Club the biggest stable in wrestling since the NWO and eventually left New Japan to help from All Elite Wrestling alongside fellow NJPW talents Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes and Adam Page.
If not for their time in TNA The Young Bucks would never have joined New Japan and ultimately never formed AEW. Without being cut by Vince Russo their fortunes would have been much different, so in a way they can thank him for his lack of belief in them.
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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.