Dana Massie, former Chief Marketing & Merchandising Officer at All Elite Wrestling and wife of AEW star Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks, is one of several behind-the-scenes personnel to leave the promotion in recent weeks. While I can’t speak for her work and job performance, which varies depending on which report one reads, the commentary following her departure has caught my eye.
First, there was her hubby’s comments from his Instagram Story in which Matt Jackson wrote:
“End of an era. You were in the first conversations, when this was all only an idea. One of the main builders of our empire. Always positive in at times was a thankless job [sic]. Glad you got do do it all, and leave on your terms, by your own choice. It’s been fun working with you. See you at dinner.”
For the most part, Matt’s statement reads like an expression of love and gratitude for his wife’s efforts. But the phrase thankless job sticks out like an elephant in a bikini to me, and there are two ways to interpret that.
First, it could simply be a throwaway line to express that the position his wife assumed was one that came with little to no recognition or glory despite the challenges associated with the role. However, it could also be a subtle shot at owner Tony Khan or those within AEW who took his wife’s work for granted, which is how I read it.
Still, I was open to it being the former until the recent edition of the Rumor Roundup. There, wrestling writer Dave Meltzer was reported as saying he thought it “just got too tough” for (Massie) to stay as “she felt they [The Young Bucks] were never defended at a time when they probably should have been defended by the company.” Meltzer also believes AEW not sticking up for Massie when CM Punk used his Instagram Story to call out an error on merch for July’s ROH Death Before Dishonor show could have been a factor in Massie’s decision.
In the past, Meltzer’s generous coverage of the Young Bucks has led many to believe that he has a direct relationship with Matt and Nick Jackson, which most saw as a factor that led to CM Punk’s verbal tirade against AEW in 2022, which led to a physical altercation backstage. Between Meltzer’s words and Matt Jackson’s Instagram story, it appears that there may be some unresolved tensions between the Bucks and AEW.
If true, that could mean more concerns for Tony Khan and the company.
Considering the Bucks, along with Kenny Omega and Adam Page, re-signed with AEW in August, it’s easy to dismiss the notion that the Jackson brothers are unhappy there. But pro wrestling, like anything else, is a job. And like any job, countless employees stay with their employer because of the pay and benefits despite any bad feelings they may have with management or the company.
After re-upping with AEW, the Bucks’ new deals were said to include the highest guarantee ever for a tag team, so we believe their pay is good. Also, the Bucks have wrestled less than 50 times in 2023, so it’s reasonable to assume that their work schedule is also favorable. Plus, there may be other perks that the public isn’t privy which must also be factored into their decision to remain with Tony Khan’s wrestling brand.
Yet, it is possible that Matt and Nick Jackson still harbor resentment over Khan’s handling of the Brawl Out incident, as reflected by Meltzer’s thoughts about Dana Massie’s departure. Maybe Matt’s words were a subtle yet passive-aggressive dig at his employer.
Or maybe it’s all just one big, nothing burger with a zero-calorie soda on the side.
Regardless, it might be in Tony Khan’s best interest to reach out to his stars and ensure all is well if he hasn’t already done so. It would also serve the Bucks well to be direct and honest about any ill feelings they may have so both parties can grow and prosper together.
But left unresolved, any potential hard feelings could manifest into greater resentment that somehow finds its way into the dirt sheets, where similar incidents in the past have threatened the foundation of All Elite Wrestling.