Sit Down Series: The Young Bucks

The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) are unquestionably the hottest tag team in the world today. They have wrestled all over the world and when they are on a show, you know for a fact that you can’t miss it! The two recently competed in the main event against Ninjas with Attitude at Beyond Wrestling: When Satan Rules His World and I sat down with the two afterwards for an incredibly entertaining and unforgettable interview.

Alex Obert: You recently competed in the main event at House of Hardcore 8 in Philadelphia. What your thoughts on the promotion as a whole?

Nick: House of Hardcore’s great because, a little biased, but Tommy Dreamer books us in a good way. (laughs)

Matt: He always books us on top! (laughs) Of course we like it!

Nick: I guess he does favor us. And he’s always helped us out.

Matt: He’s always seen something in us. Back when he was an agent in TNA, he always said that he wished they would do more with us. He said, “You guys are money!”

Nick: And that was about six years ago. He always stuck to that.

Matt: When he was opening a promotion, he was like, “I want you guys as our top guys.” He’s always said, “I hope shows around you guys. You guys should always be the main event.” It’s flattering because he’s like our wrestling dad, in a way. He’s one of the guys Nick and I always come to for advice. Even back in TNA, we’d always ask, “What’d you think of that, Tommy?” or “What could we have done here?” Even when we don’t ask, he just comes up to us and we appreciate it. He’s a great mind. I love riding in the car with him, he’s one of my favorite people to ride with.

Nick: And it’s a good promotion because he does the nostalgic act that will bring fans into it, but he also books the cool things that are hot nowadays. It’s a mix of what was cool back then and what’s cool nowadays.

Matt: He’s got his finger on the pulse of wrestling. He’s smart.

Alex Obert: What was it like when you first met Tommy?

Matt: He was cool. We took to him immediately.

Nick: I think he favored us right away.

Matt: He saw something in us.

Alex Obert: What did you think of Sandman coming out at the end of the show? It seemed random, but it was still very cool.

Matt: Sandman’s come out a few times with us now, so it’s almost like a staple.

Nick: I think three times now.

Matt: It’s fun.

Nick: We don’t drink, so what are we gonna do? The first time, I was hoping that he wasn’t gonna get offended that I’m not gonna drink with him.

Matt: So we just hand out the beers and we’d do the cheer.

Nick: We’d find a way to get out of it. But obviously it’s cool because we saw it back in the day as fans. Definitely cool to be a part of.

Alex Obert: What would your drink of choice be if you brought something out to the ring?

Nick: Coke Zero. (laughs)

Matt: An A&W Root Beer.

Nick: Coke Zero Vanilla. Does that even exist?

Matt: They have vanilla on the Coca-Cola machines, Freestyle. I like the new Coke Lifes, those are good. I’d like to think they’re a little healthier, maybe not. But they’re green, so I guess I’ll take it.

Alex Obert: Your opponents that night were Bobby Roode and Austin Aries. What are your thoughts on those two?

Matt: World-class workers, man.

Nick: That was the second time we ever wrestled Bobby Roode, which is shocking. Two years in TNA and we only wrestled him once.

Matt: He’s so simplistic in his offense, but the things he does is so powerful. It’s like a statement every time he does something.

Nick: He’s a star and he carries himself as a star.

Matt: And Aries too, he’s just so fluid.

Nick: I thought we mixed in well with them.

Matt: They’re more of an old-school, cut and dry, get to the point, get their heat heels. In 2015, that’s hard to come by. It was fun to be the old-school Rock ‘n’ Roll Express babyface team. We did a proper heel versus babyface tag match with those guys.

Nick: We don’t get to do that a lot.

Matt: I think those guys are awesome.

Alex Obert: When you have fans coming to your table before and after shows, what is your approach to meeting and interacting with them?

Nick: You just gotta be open and you have to be inviting. I actually learned this a lot from El Generico, we would see him and how he would interact with the fans before the shows at meet and greets. Everyone wants to meet him because he’s waving his arms over, smiling with the big mask. Man, we thought we could learn a thing or two.

Matt: Be approachable. Don’t look like “Oh, I’m too big of a star for this, this is beneath me.” No, I’m out here for a reason. This is a party and I’m your host of the party. Meet me, come shake hands with me, talk to me.

Nick: Sometimes it can get hard though. Tonight was our third show in three nights with flights included, we did six flights in a matter of three days.

Matt: At one point, we were like, “Should we even sell stuff? We sold so many over the weekend.”

Nick: We have to though, it’s part of the whole experience. But like we said earlier, you just gotta be open and inviting.

Matt: You have to respect the fans. We appreciate it because they’re handing you their hard-earned cash. Every time we’re handed a twenty, we’re blown away. “Thank you so much for buying that! Enjoy the show!” We’re happy.

Nick: At one point in our career, we would be excited if we sold three shirts at a show. “Oh my god, result three shirts. We made sixty dollars!”

Matt: Now we sell a whole bunch of them, but we don’t lose track. We are not desensitized. We’re appreciative of every single penny that comes to us. And another thing, you were talking about being open, another thing is smiling at everybody. Giving eye contact and smiling, that’s all part of the being inviting process. A guy like this is Colt Cabana, he’s always looking around and he’s engaging.

Nick: And it can’t be forced. We appreciate it. I tell Matt that I’m more exhausted when I’m meeting the fans and greeting them and just talking to them than I am being in the ring because it’s so emotionally exhausting. But I think it’s the most rewarding part of the job.

Matt: You get to go out there in person and “Hey, this is me!” You never get to go to a movie theater and meet Tom Cruise before the movie. I’m not comparing us to him at all, but you actually get to come and touch us and look at us and meet us. I think it’s really cool that independent wrestling has that to offer.

Nick: It’s very rare that you get to do that with WWE guys.

Matt: You would have to wait four hours in line or something. I really credit the fact that we’ve gotten where we’re at because of us going out there every night. It’s like we’re campaigning for ourselves. We’re going out and it’s like “Hey, we’re the Young Bucks! Nice to meet you! Thank you so much for the support!” I might as well give them a button, you know what I mean? They go home and think “Those guys were cool.” Or when we come out later on for our entrance, they clap for us because they met us earlier and had a personal experience with us. It’s not like they’re just cheering our moves, they’re actually cheering us as people. They get emotionally attached to us.

Alex Obert: Do you have fans that follow you in the way that some fans tend to follow bands on tour? Or at the very least, fans whose names you remember because they’ve seen you perform so many times?

Nick: In almost every major city, we have a least a few that we know.

Matt: This is a pretty good example of it, we have people that fly from New York to PWG every single month. We know their names because we see them all over the place. We saw a guy in Tokyo one time.

Nick: And we have them in Japan too, which is funny.

Matt: They call themselves almost Young Buck groupies, in a way. It’s fun, we love it.

Alex Obert: Did you ever meet a wrestler that was a douche to you?

Matt: I went to Halloween Havoc 2000 in Vegas. I was a fan and I was stalking the wrestlers at the hotel at the MGM Grand. And I met Rey Mysterio and a few other people. Stevie Ray came by, met him, great guy. Shook his hand and got his autograph. Booker T comes up and I go for his autograph and he just walks right past me with his roller bag. And I was like, “Oh my god.” I was hurt. He totally kayfabed me. It almost made me like him less. “I prefer Stevie Ray. Screw that guy!” I was the fan who was offended. Now I look back and I realize that Booker T was exhausted, he was making another town. I get it. But at the time, I was hurt.

Nick: Going back to the Reddit, I saw that Randy Orton recently did something. He had just landed in New York or somewhere, but they had just done a European tour and the fans were all waiting for them. I think they were trying to get Randy Orton to sign autographs and he got real angry and got offended. He said, “Listen, I got off a thirteen hour flight. This is the last thing I want to do.” I could see why he said that.

Matt: Especially on that schedule.

Alex Obert: Most of the guys would sell it anyways.

Nick: Exactly. And I could see why he says that because I’m running off of fumes too and I’m not even on the same schedule as those guys. Those guys are on even worse schedules.

Alex Obert: So having Dave Meltzer in the crowd for a match of yours recently basically ended up going viral. How was that appearance set up?

Nick: That was our first time meeting him, actually.

Matt: Dave asked me about the show and said he was willing to come if we were going to be there. I told him of course we’d be there. We set up the whole thing and then a friend of Hero’s, that Alicia chick, she got him in. And as soon as I saw him, I was a little starstruck. “Oh my god, it’s freaking Dave Meltzer!” I’d never actually met him, I’ve only seen what he writes for so many years or heard his voice on audio. It was fun to get to me the guy. As much as we were starstruck, he was too. He said, “I’m a huge fan! This is great.” He actually wanted to buy a Meltzer Driver Everybody shirt. I was like, “Dude, your name’s on it! I can’t charge you for this!” So I gave it to him. He’s like, “Can I get one for my kid?” I’m like, “Come on, put your money away, man!” It was really cool. We talked for like fifteen, twenty minutes. We’re shooting a documentary and they had him in it too, asked him some questions. People will get to see that in a little bit. It was fun getting to see him. I think he’s going to come to couple more too.

Alex Obert: On the topic of merchandise, what are your thoughts on the ProWrestlingTees movement?

Matt: It’s huge, it’s a game changer.

Nick: It changed everything. Before that, we had to go to the mailbox or the UPS and whatnot and mail things out by hand all the time. Now we don’t have to do a thing.

Matt: We don’t have to print our shirts. We don’t have to do anything, they do it all.

Nick: We put what design we want on, they print it and they send it out.

Matt: It’s perfect with the era of technology right now where everyone needs the instant gratification. It’s so quick. If I got a cool design, I could have it up in five minutes.

Nick: And we can have people buying it within a day. It’s crazy!

Matt: What this has done for us is mindblowing. And what it’s done for professional wrestlers.

Nick: New Japan sells so many shirts.

Matt: It’s changed the business. I think it’s very important in 2015 to have a t-shirt shop.

Nick: If you’re an independent wrestler you need it.

Matt: If you don’t have a shop, come on! Get on it! It’s free money! It’s the way for people to support you.

Alex Obert: Where are we currently at with the Bullet Club knockoff shirts?

Matt: Those are all taken off, I guess.

Nick: They’re probably still around. (laughs) But it’s flattering that people have done that because it shows you how cool the actual logo is.

Matt: That shirt, it’s transcended wrestling into pop culture now. People don’t even know that it’s wrestling and they’re wearing it. Peoplecome to our shows and they’re like, “Hey, I don’t know wrestling, but that’s a really cool shirt. Can I get one of those? Do you have a medium?” “Yeah!” And they don’t even realize what they’re buying. The shirt’s everywhere, it’s a global thing. We’ll be at a restaurant or a club in Europe and hey, that guy’s got a Bullet Club shirt on. It’s mindblowing.

Nick: It would have been nice to make money off it though. (laughs)

Matt: People probably assume we’re millionaires, but we don’t make anything off that.

Nick: We don’t make anything off that shirt.

Matt: That’s all New Japan.

Alex Obert: What’s your advice for independent wrestlers when it comes to handling their money? You two are making a good living and not everyone can say that.

Matt: You’ve just gotta invest in yourself when you’re young. That’s what we did. And we took way too long to do it too. We started our wrestling shop online way too long overdue. Five, six years went by and we didn’t even capitalize on any of it. Come up with some cool designs, have some t-shirts if you’re a young guy. Market your brand.

Nick: You have to put money into your gear and your look. Just everything.

Matt: You gotta invest in your character and get yourself over.

Nick: You gotta look professional.

Matt: Then come up with a campaign for your brand, like how we have Superkick Party.

Nick: And you gotta look different, we stress that everyone that will ask for advice. You gotta be different, you gotta be unique, you gotta stand out.

Matt: And then you talk about finances, once you start making a little bit of money, put some of it away. I did this probably five years too late when I started an IRA and I got my retirement going. And I know he does. Saving, saving, saving. Gotta save your money because I’ve read too many wrestlers books in the past and too many of them blew it all. Just be smart about it.

Alex Obert: You two have made quite a splash on Twitter. What was your experience like when you first discovered the site?

Matt: I tried to get him into it for a few years.

Nick: I thought it was stupid.

Matt: In 2009, I wanna say, I got into it. I was nothing like what I am now. I’d probably be embarrassed to go back and read some of the stuff that I used to tweet about. I don’t see how some of the wrestlers these days don’t know how to use this as an effective tool to get their character over. We like to blur the lines, so a lot of it is really us. It really is. But a lot of it is exaggerated, that’s where the lines get blurred. That’s the whole point of being a character in professional wrestling.

Nick: We don’t got Monday Night RAW, we don’t got Smackdown, we don’t have much TV besides what we do for Ring of Honor and whatnot.

Matt: But we got YouTube and Twitter and Vine.

Nick: Twitter’s number one.

Matt: And Instagram. Facebook.

Nick: That’s our platform. That’s where we get our character development going and get our characters over.

Matt: You know what it is, we knew we were onto something when we put up stuff and every time we come to a show, the boys were like, “You guys got me dying! I can’t believe you said this!” We’re all numb to things, we’re desensitized. Nothing pops us, unless it’s really truly funny, silly or original. So when the boys tell us they love what we’re doing and they’re marking out to us in a way, then man, we’re doing something cool. We’re doing something different.

Nick: But it’s not always positive, we get a ton of heat.

Matt: Of course. But you know what, you have to be a polarizing individual. You have to be. If you want people to talk and to like you, you have to alienate people, you have to make certain people not like you because then you’re gonna have people that love you.

Alex Obert: No matter what you do, not everyone’s gonna like you. Kevin Owens said that Stone Cold actually gave him the best advice of his career: “always run your mouth”.

Matt: Yeah, and that’s what we are doing. I think we picked a lot of it up from Kevin, the trash talking. We started talking trash, talking about how we’re the best in the business and we back it up in the ring. We like to feel like we’re that old-school wrestler. And again, it’s the blurring of the lines. “Are these guys for real? Do they really mean this?” Sometimes we’re like, “Come on, of course we don’t!” Some other times, we’re like, “Well, we kind of do.”

Nick: “These guys are so arrogant.” We hear all of that.

Matt: And trust me, we’re gonna play into it because the more you talk about us, the more it’s best for us.

Nick: We want people to think that.

Matt: Keep talking about us because when they stop talking, you’re in trouble.

Alex Obert: How do you handle trolls on Twitter?

Matt: It’s all part of the gimmick now. We ask for it, we bait ’em almost now.

Nick: I ignore probably seventy five percent of ’em. But like Mark Madden for instance, he’s obviously doing it to get a reaction out of us because he’s not relevant anymore.

Matt: But you know what though, Mark Madden’s also doing what we do. Effectively, he’s kind of working. And I tell him that. “He’s just working you like he’s working everyone else. You can’t really get mad at him about it.” But he does say some offensive stuff, like come on, man.

Nick: You can’t really get mad at it.

Matt: It’s hard not to.

Nick: Says the guy that can’t stand Jim Cornette.

Matt: (laughs) That’s a whole different thing.

Nick: No it isn’t, he’s trolling Matt as well by going on his podcast and burying him.

Matt: I don’t care about that. The Jim Cornette thing is more personal.

Nick: That’s called a troll.

Matt: But I don’t like Jim Cornette because he took money and food out of my daughter’s mouth.

Nick: Mark Madden never did that. But now he’s trolling you. He’s doing the same exact thing.

Matt: Sure, you’re right.

Alex Obert: I saw on Twitter that you guys are aware of /r/SquaredCircle on Reddit.

Nick: Oh yeah!

Matt: Of course!

Alex Obert: What do you know of that?

Matt: Nick got me into it.

Nick: I have the Reddit app on my phone, so I am on it all the time. Before I go to sleep, I’m just gonna go through photos and funny things like that. I think I saw some wrestling ones. “What the heck is this?” And then I think it led me to that. From there, it’s me just going through all that. Every time I see our name on it, I’ll click it and I’ll show Matt. “Hey, this is funny!”

Matt: At first, it was just “Oh what are they saying about me?” Now I’m just a fan of the forum. I like it because I’m a wrestling fan. I like reading about wrestling. The thing that’s funny though is that I’d rather go to a place like Reddit and read their comments and opinions and see what they like, it’s like surveying. It’s like “what do people like now?” And the Reddit people are the t-shirt buying people. They’re the ones that are gonna put money in my pocket.

Nick: That’s our demographic.

Matt: I’d rather read Reddit than a dirtsheet or something. Their opinions are more valuable to me.

Alex Obert: What are your thoughts on Botchamania?

Matt: I love it! We had dinner with Maffew the other day when we were in England. We were coming from a show and he happened to be eating at a sports grill or something. So we talked with him for a little bit, he’s a really cool guy. I love what he does, I think it’s fun.

Nick: This guy watches it while he does cardio.

Matt: Yeah, all the time. It pops me.

Alex Obert: What do other wrestlers think of it?

Nick: I think every wrestling you see on TV watches it.

Matt: Everyone watches it. It’s fun. Everyone watches it and wants to know if they’re on it. I watch it for a whole different reason, I’m just entertained by it. He’s doing it out of fun, he’s not doing it out of hate or negativity.

Nick: It’s like what Shaq does with basketball bloopers. He has his own show called Shaqtin’ a Fool and everyone loves that. I doubt that the basketball players are offended by it.

Matt: They’re all laughing like everyone else. And with Botchamania, we’re all laughing along and not laughing at the people.

Alex Obert: So you two grow up watching your favorites such as Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and the Steiner Brothers. It’s no secret that Scott Steiner has become a very memorable character both on and off television throughout the years. Do you have any stories of him from your time in TNA?

Nick: We have a story from after TNA. We were doing one show and he was doing an autograph signing with us. A fan comes up to us and Steiner’s right by us. The fan’s like, “Hey Jeremy, why aren’t you guys in TNA anymore? What’s up with that? You guys should come back.”

Matt: Before we can even answer, Steiner who’s like busy doing his own thing says “F TNA! THESE GUYS, THEY AIN’T GOING BACK TO TNA! TNA’S GARBAGE!” We’re just like signing our autographs.

Nick: “THESE GUYS ARE DOING GOOD! THEY DON’T NEED TNA!”

Matt: “TNA’S AN INDY!” He’s just going off , he’s getting angrier and angrier.

Nick: It was hilarious.

Matt: Scotty was always cool. He was the only other guy that wasn’t a junior-type wrestler that dressed with the X-Division.

Nick: He was very approachable.

Matt: He dressed in our locker room, he was super cool. Super cool.

Alex Obert: Were you in attendance for the original Impact show that went against RAW?

Matt: We were at the hotel. We were supposed to be used originally against the Motor City Machine Guns. It got cut and they saved it for the following day, Tuesday. So we were in town when all that craziness was going on. We knew we were a part of something special. This is like wrestling history, it could be something huge.

Nick: It could’ve been.

Matt: I mean it still is, it’s one of those things that people will talk about. The Monday night thing started for second.

Nick: It could have been big.

Matt: It could have been big, it never really was. It felt weird.

Nick: It never panned out.

Alex Obert: What do you think contributed to that?

Matt: I think people had seen the act. It was something that they had already seen before, it was like a reunion show. “Oh that was fun!” But then you want a new thing, you don’t want to keep watching the reunion show. The reunion show is cool one time.

Nick: They brought the nWo back.

Matt: All the old faces. You gotta have old faces, but you have to have new faces too. And new storylines. And new ideas. They pretty much did the nWo again. People had already seen that. But they had Eric Young in there at least, something a little different. But it’s like the same faces, the same guys. Russo was part of the writing, Bischoff was back, it was WCW. I think people were like “We saw this in the nineties. Why are we seeing this again?”

Alex Obert: My opinion is that they blew it right off the start because they started the night with the X-Division Steel Asylum match. No disrespect to those wrestlers, but if a familiar face like Jeff Hardy was going to come out around that time anyways, then he should have kicked off the show to cut a promo. He had just left WWE a couple months earlier and if that’s the first image that potential new fans see, they will immediately be intrigued.

Matt: But it was big news, just him being there.

Alex Obert: So you originally think that you’re going to compete in a six-sided ring, then they go back to four sides shortly after your debut.

Nick: I was happy.

Matt: I didn’t like the six sides. It was stiff, the ropes were rough.

Nick: The ring sucked.

Matt: It was complicated and we never knew where we were running. We only did it a few times and we didn’t like it.

Nick: It was terrible.

Matt: Once they said they were going to use a regular ring, we were like, “Cool!” That’s what we’re used to.

Nick: The matches were always weirder.

Matt: When they got the regular ring, it was one of the best rings that I’ve ever been in. Great bump. I enjoyed it. I felt like yeah, maybe they lost a little bit of their identity with it, but being there as a wrestler, a six-sided ring is the worst.

Alex Obert: Were the two of you a part of some really low attendance house shows?

Matt: We did small ones.

Nick: I think the smallest one was probably 750 though.

Matt: When you saw those pictures online, that was after our time.

Nick: Some were pretty good.

Matt: Some were in the thousands. But sometimes you’re in a big arena in there’s only eight hundred people there. It was bad. You know, I was talking about this with someone yesterday, TNA house shows were the best part of TNA. They were a blast, it was a party. You show up two hours before bell, you go out there and have a fun match. It’s like being on an indy show, you get ten minutes and they let you do whatever you want. You get to meet the fans and sign autographs. That was the best part of TNA. TV is what sucked.

Nick: Now they don’t even have them, which is very surprising.

Alex Obert: Why did TV suck?

Matt: It was stressful. You’d be there all day and you’re just exhausted.

Alex Obert: Did you ever try to escape to the park?

Matt: Yeah, we like…we would always do that. Nick and I and Spanky and Amazing Red and Shelley and Sabin, we would just ride the rides.

Alex Obert: Which one was your favorite?

Matt: I like the old-school Jaws and E.T.

Nick: And Spider-Man.

Matt: They had a really cool roller coaster with music.

Alex Obert: I would love to learn about your experiences in Japan. First of all, are you two initiated into Ribera Steakhouse?

Matt: Oh yeah. A few times.

Nick: It’s a good little steakhouse. It’s cool because you see all the photos of all the wrestlers that have been through and every top guy is on the wall.

Matt: It’s history on that wall.

Nick: You see the photos of Hulk Hogan on there, it’s pretty cool. Even we did a photo, but I doubt we got on the wall. The Bullet Club got on it, a few of them went without us for some reason. And now they’re on the wall. Every wrestler wants to go eat at Ribera.

Matt: It’s a good notch on the belt. It’s saying “Hey, went to Japan. This is proof of it. This is my jacket.”

Alex Obert: And how about fast food there?

Matt: We’ve eaten at McDonald’s all over the world, but they’ve always got these different things on the menu.

Nick: There’s a hamburger place called Lotteria, which is awesome. There’s also Yoshinoya, a beef bowl place that the US also has. We always go there.

Matt: You know what’s funny, they have this place in Tokyo that the boys love. It’s an Indian restaurant and we called the best Indian food in the world. We go to Japan to eat Indian food. We’re not big on seafood, but we will try it. We don’t enjoy it though.

Nick: At this point, we’ve been to Japan so many times that we go out of our way now to try and find something that tastes like home. We’re not home ever. If I can have TGIF, I’m gonna spend an extra thirty dollars.

Matt: And we’re gonna spend an extra thirty minutes on a train to go to El Torito, a Mexican restaurant, just to feel good about ourselves.

Alex Obert: In what ways do feel that Japanese culture is better than America?

Matt: People are the best. They’re polite, they’re just so nice. They’ll go out of their way to help you. We’ll go into a store and Nick will be sick or need a pain med or something because his tooth aches, this happened the last tour. Nick’s explaining to them and people are just running back and forth trying to help you. In the states, forget it. Just very super nice and polite.

Nick: Even with that being said though, I love America! (laughs) I’d much rather live here than there because the culture’s totally different.

Matt: This is what we’re used to. We’re born this way.

Nick: If you screw up out there, and you’re gonna be disciplined to the biggest possibilities possible.

Matt: We would probably have never been able to get into the business if we were the young boys.

Nick: Everything is so much stricter.

Matt: It’s crazy.

Nick: I see what they go through and I’m like, “Oh my god!” I don’t think I would’ve been able to do this. It’s nuts.

Alex Obert: You have worked with many different wrestlers around the world, who are some of the most painful choppers?

Matt: Roderick Strong. Eddie Edwards.

Nick: Kevin Steen.

Matt: Bubba Ray Dudley has a rough overhead.

Nick: Generico’s overhead one always killed me.

Matt: The stiffest though, Eddie or Roddy. I don’t know if I ever really received it, but Jay Lethal’s got a real heavy hand. I watch the way he does it and I go “holy crap”.

Nick: Shelley!

Matt: Shelley’s got a stiff one.

Nick: Oh my god.

Matt: He’ll give me a chop on the first day of the tour, twenty six days later and it’s still there. I got a mark on my chest from a month ago.

Nick: He’s got an underrated stiff chop that no one really talks about. (laughs)

Alex Obert: So what music do you guys listen to?

Nick: I’m pretty much rock n’ roll.

Matt: I listen to everything. You know, it’s so funny though, I have a three and a half year old daughter and so it’s like I don’t even know what music is anymore. When I think of music, I think of anything on Disney Junior and Disney soundtracks. I’m always in the car riding with my little girl and I’m singing Everything is Awesome. Anything you would ever expect me not to know, I know. I don’t even know current music except for like what my wife listens to. My wife likes country and pop. I like everything. If it motivates me and it makes me feel good or tells a story, I listen to it.

Nick: I know all the lullabies. (laughs)

Matt: It’s funny man, it all changes. Music was never really a huge priority to me, but I would definitely listen to it. Now I don’t even know what’s current, I just don’t.

Alex Obert: Regarding your entrance theme, did you originally discover MMMBop when it came out in the nineties?

Matt: Oh yeah!

Nick: For sure.

Matt: I always liked it. But I never would have admitted it back then.

Nick: A few years in while we were wrestling, some fans were heckling us and saying that we look like the Hanson brothers. And I remember saying, “Hey Matt, we should come out to MMMBop.” And we did it. (laughs) That was probably like ten years ago.

Matt: We have a younger brother who used to wrestle, so we were the three Hanson Brothers.

Nick: We started doing it ever since. We don’t do it often now, it’s only for smarter fans.

Matt: Sometimes we come out to it and I feel like it sucks the air out of the crowd. You have to really be in on it. Tonight’s crowd was in on it. But sometimes we go out into the people are like “What?”

Nick: Yeah, it only works in Reseda.

Matt: You can only get away with it in certain cities.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite entrance themes from over the years?

Nick: Edge’s song because Matt always says it when he does his spear to someone.

Matt: Yeah, there was a tradition. I haven’t done in a while, well I mean I guess I have, I do it all the time. Every time I hit a spear, I sing “On this day!”

Alex Obert: I saw somebody else do that at a show recently!

Matt: It was Mike Bennett, he stole it from me. He saw me do it at the King of Trios 2012 and he started doing it. It was cool.

Alex Obert: Did you two meet Edge when you made appearances for WWE?

Matt: Yeah, we met him a few times when we were in WWE as extras. And we recently did House of Hardcore and he said he’s a big fan of our work and put us over. We were really flattered. He’s one of my all-time favorites, actually.

Alex Obert: Who did you meet in WWE that really went the extra mile?

Matt: Edge was one of ’em. Mick Foley was cool, I remember. We sat down with Shawn Michaels one day and had lunch with him for twenty minutes in catering and he gave us advice.

Nick: CM Punk.

Matt: Punk was cool because at that point, I think he knew us from Cabana.

Nick: It would be different now because we know almost everyone.

Matt: The whole roster, the world champ’s my buddy.

Alex Obert: On that note, what are your thoughts on Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens as the World Champions in WWE right now?

Matt: It’s great. They’re two of my best buds in the business. I remember one of the first times he talked to Seth, I know him as Colby or Tyler Black, I just knew there was something special about him. I knew he was gonna go far and I knew he always had the confidence. You know it in certain people. You see a guy and you know he just gets it.

Nick: Same thing with Kevin. Just so much passion for wrestling that I never will have, they have it more than me and Matt.

Matt: They eat, breathe and sleep it. And another guy is Sami Zayn.

Nick: Those guys will go far.

Matt: When you’re at a show, no matter where you are in the world, and they’re always the most over act on the show, it makes you go “How could they not be a star?” They’re over everywhere they work. Same with Danielson, we did shows with him and everywhere in the US, he was the most over guy. So of course if they get to the WWE, they’re gonna become famous.

Nick: Wrestling is in good hands with those guys because they just have so much passion.

Matt: They love this industry.

Alex Obert: So let’s look at it like this, NXT is huge right now and so are the key independent companies. What’s contributing to all that and causing this boom right now?

Nick: I think it’s the indy movement.

Matt: Those guys, the guys you just talked about. They represent all that.

Nick: They were on the independents before.

Matt: You know who started this whole chain is CM Punk. He’s responsible for it because he was the first indy guy.

Nick: The Punks, the Samoa Joes, the Bryan Danielsons.

Matt: They’re the ones who got into the big places and said, “Hey, we’re not all just these indy guys, we’re good. And we love wrestling.” You have to be a wrestler’s wrestler to be successful now, as opposed to back in the early 2000s where you were a football player or model. It’s changing. The business is changing.

Nick: You have to be a talented wrestler and you have to know how to work.

Matt: You have to know how to go.

Alex Obert: Who do you feel will be the next breakout star from the indies?

Nick: Probably Kevin, if they call him up soon.

Matt: I could see Sami Zayn being a big babyface. Neville’s gonna do big things, he’ll be the Intercontinental Champion by the end of the year.

Nick: He’s the best high flyer in the world, by far.

Alex Obert: Do you guys think we’ll see Samoa Joe in the WWE?

Matt: Yeah, eventually.

Nick: I hope so. He deserves it.

Matt: I don’t know for a fact, but I expect it. I do. I mean why wouldn’t he? He’s so good, he so talented and he’d be perfect for it. He should be on RAW right now. He has the it factor.

Nick: He’s a guy that shouldn’t have to go to NXT. He not only has the it factor, but he has the fanbase. But I don’t think WWE wants to acknowledge that though.

Alex Obert: What was the first WWE event that you two attended together?

Matt: A house show in 1995 in Rancho Cucamonga at the Quakes minor league baseball stadium in front of probably two thousand people. I loved it. I remember thinking, “Why isn’t there any announcing? I can’t hear the announcers, this is weird.” But I enjoyed it.

Nick: And as wrestlers, we went to Wrestlemania 21.

Matt: We didn’t go to a whole lot of events. Couple live events. But then when we got older, we’d go to RAWs and Smackdowns and we’d enjoy those. But the only Wrestlemania we ever went to was 21.

Alex Obert: So we’re seeing the indy movement, but we’re also seeing the movement of second and third generation wrestlers. Now that you two are in the Bullet Club with Cody Hall, what are your thoughts on him?

Matt: I didn’t know what to expect of him. I heard stories about him, but I don’t like to base my opinions on people I’ve never had personal experiences with. I wanted to wait and give him the benefit of the doubt, I do that with everybody. But I met him and I like him. I think he’s working really hard and he’s trying hard. He seems like he’s been humbled through his experience. Being in a dojo is no joke and he’s working his butt off, man.

Nick: He’s been there since January 1st.

Matt: We told him, “We’re proud of you, man. Seriously dude, I don’t think I could do this and you’re doing it.”

Nick: “Keep it up!”

Matt: I think I may have told him this, “Dude, if you keep this up, you stay out here and you create a buzz for yourself and you do good, WWE’s gonna be knocking on your door. Of course. You’re huge and you’re a second generation guy.”

Nick: Not just that, but he could be a star in Japan with his size and athleticism.

Matt: He could be a star in wrestling period. Wherever he chooses to be, he’s gonna be a star one day. Just as long as he continues to do what he’s doing, he’s doing great.

Alex Obert: One guy who should have made it in the WWE, but it ultimately didn’t work out, is Chris Hero.

Nick: That’s terrible that he’s not there anymore.

Matt: It’s not over yet, he’s in his thirties. Back in the day, you didn’t get a break until you were thirty.

Nick: He’s one of the best in the world.

Matt: He truly is. He’s probably mine and Nick’s favorite wrestler. Every time we watch a DVD, when Chris Hero pops up, it’s like “Yes!” His matches are the best. His strikes are the best.

Nick: He’s so tall and he’s doing all these crazy athletic moves that no one’s doing.

Matt: He’s so unique, there’s no one else like him on a show. It’s all these other guys and it’s Chris Hero.

Nick: He shouldn’t be diving at six foot five, it’s nuts!

Matt: He’s so fun to watch, so good. So much better than I’ll ever dream of being, as far as the mechanics and the technicality. I would never know half the holds he’s forgotten.

Alex Obert: Before we wrap up, what would you say is the biggest life lesson that you have taken out of wrestling?

Matt: For me, I didn’t realize how big the world truly was. I was just this kid from a smaller town in Southern California. I finally left that town and I realized, “My gosh, this world is so big! There’s people everywhere.” This wrestling business is bigger than you think. Even though it’s a tight community, there’s wrestling companies all over the world. This sport, this business is humongous. You can go to Japan and there’s wrestling out there, you can go to Europe and there’s wrestling out there. We were just small town Cali boys and we got to see the world. Our parents never got to see these places. We come home and we’d tell them about these life lessons and these people we met.

Nick: It’s grown us up quick. I started really early, I’m only twenty five now, but I’ve learned and I’ve lived so much life. It’s unbelievable. I just want to get out as harmless as possible and try to have as much money as possible for my family, that’s really what matters to me. Wrestling is really a job. I have passion for it and I love it, but it’s a job. I love my family first and that’s my first priority.

Matt: We love wrestling, but we love our families more.

Alex Obert: In closing, what are some key dates for you over the next couple of months?

Matt: The ROH joint shows in May.

Nick: Ring of Honor/New Japan.

Matt: Lots of big shows with ROH and New Japan.

Nick: Global Wars in Toronto.

Matt: War of the Worlds in Philly. Those will be huge. I’m doing the Super Juniors by myself.

Nick: I’ll be home, I have baby two coming.

Matt: I’ll be in Japan by myself, so that’s gonna be hard mentally for me. And physically because I’m used to having my brother with me. We’ll see how I do.

Alex Obert: I’d love to thank you two so much for your time.

Nick: No problem, man.

Matt: Thanks for having us!

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