Kenny Herzog’s profile on All Elite Wrestling for Bleacher Report featured a number of interesting quotes from industry players inside and outside of Tony Khan’s start-up promotion. We already covered Khan and Cody Rhodes talking about the future. There were also some eyebrow-raising remarks about the past for Cody’s fellow Executive Vice-President’s The Young Bucks.
According to Nick Jackson, he and his brother Matt may have never even started talking to Khan if New Japan paid the Bucks more, or could get together with Ring of Honor on a joint contract:
“You know what’s sad? New Japan and ROH could have easily come together and offered us the contracts they wanted, but they just didn’t do it.
New Japan never saw the value in Matt and I. They never paid us good. We would have had to work with New Japan for another two decades to even get close to retiring, and the style they demand is backbreaking. Ring of Honor paid us a lot better than New Japan. We could have probably retired there, but we would have to work probably another decade with them. We pitched it to both of them: ‘Why don’t you guys get us a dual contract?’ And they just didn’t get it done. We would have easily stayed, and there would have never been an All Elite Wrestling if they would have met what we wanted, but it didn’t get done.”
Matt Jackson admits it was more than just money and schedule - the allure of having more control over their creative direction was powerful, too. But he doesn’t refute any of his younger brother’s comments, either.
ROH live attendance is reportedly down in the post-Bucks era; last week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted they drew less than 1,000 people for their recent television taping in Chicago (for comparison, MLW had crowds of 2,000 last time they were there). Good seats are still available for New Japan’s return to the United States on July 6 in Dallas, despite the G1 Climax being a meaningful show with many of their biggest stars announced. And Nick’s comments about NJPW’s style especially resonate as we head into the G1 - a tournament as notorious for it’s toll on wrestlers as it lauded for the great matches it features. They also stand in pretty stark contrast to his new boss’ vision of limited house shows and a rotating talent schedule.
This is also a reminder that AEW’s “war” isn’t just with WWE. It’s with the others in the business who had dreams of expanding by targeting the same customers All Elite is.
Will New Japan regret not valuing the Bucks more? We shall see.