It’s no secret that this writer despises the modern “super indy” era of professional wrestling. All the over the top moves that don’t seem to cause much damage just makes wrestling look foolish. I really tried to adapt to it, and actually managed to support it for a number of years, attending ROH, CZW, NXT, and other shows. At one point in time NJPW was my absolute favorite promotion, especially The Bullet Club. As time went on though, everything I had accepted got bigger, sillier, and wilder. Occasional high spots became constant, and no one was selling them, they’d just jump back up to take, or deliver, another high spot. It became eye-rollingly bad, and nearly impossible for me to take (i.e. suspend my disbelief, as wrestling fans say.) How did all this happen? Why did it happen?
Between Vince McMahon’s killing of kayfabe in federal court, and his WWE’s “Attitude Era,” current day wrestlers got sillier, and sillier, but places like Ring of Honor, and Evolve held out for quite some time, presenting wrestling much like Stardom does today from 2006 to 2010 or so. What changed all that? I believe the arrival, and the eventual success of The Young Bucks changed it all. When the Bucks first arrived on the scene in places like Ring of Honor, and Evolve, they weren’t widely accepted at all. They were presented as faces, but more often received as heels, because of their look, and style. Matt and Nick Jackson were perceived as scrawny, no selling, Hardy Boy wannabe’s. At first I didn’t know how to take them, but when I figured out their gimmick, and what they were doing, I enjoyed them. Yes, I enjoyed the Young Bucks for several years. The Young Bucks used to be a rare thing, fresh, and different. They came in dressed in their Rocker’s style gear, and did all kind of crazy moves, and didn’t give a crap about what anyone thought. I saw them as “frat boy,” types, the kind of rich kids that think their crap doesn’t stink, and are better than anyone they have to “work” with. They came across as entitled, and juvenile. I thought it was the perfect heel shtick to have on the “indy’s,” and a great way to rock the boat.
A funny thing happened on that boat. As time went on the Young Bucks became more, and more accepted. Eventually they became popular, and one day soon extremely “over.” This created a problem that I never saw coming. While I was happy for their success, and owned several of their t-shirts, I never realized just how imitated they would be. Sure, looking back that makes sense, but I never considered just how much influence their style and gimmick would have on the entire world of wrestling. Soon many were copying their moves, and no (or quick) selling in hopes of getting over like the Young Bucks. Guys like Kevin Steen even started dressing like them when he teamed with them! Tough guy, slobby looking, street fighter, Kevin Steen started wearing tassels and teal colored tights… yikes! Soon what was once just the Bucks attitude (gimmick) seemed to be nearly everyone’s gimmick. Screw the traditions of wrestling, we’re “Killing the business!” I never dreamed that when the Young Bucks said that, and printed it on t-shirts, that they meant it.
Maybe you need more examples? I actually liked the Bucks being brought into Bullet Club. Their arrogance fit, and they need to be heels in my opinion. However, the longer the Bucks remained in Bullet Club, the more Bullet Club seemed to reflect the Bucks, it seemed to be “Young Bucks Club.” Kenny Omega came into Bullet Club as the cool looking “Cleaner,” with his trench coat, and sunglasses. Not long after he became sillier, and sillier, with he and The Bucks actually carrying brooms to the ring (cleaner, get it? har, har). Soon after that Kenny also adapted Young Buck style gear for many of his matches. Omega went from the bad ass “Cleaner” to another juvenile, silly, cocky, over the top, frat boy. Kenny Omega became the third Young Buck! Later came Cody Rhodes! Rhodes came into Ring of Honor as the ex-WWE guy that thought he was too good for places like ROH, and wanted to take out guys like Jay Lethal to prove it. I enjoyed that, and thought someone like Rhodes could really pull that off. Soon after though Cody was made the newest member of Bullet Club. His gimmick changed overnight. Now Rhodes was another rebel, a cigar chomping arrogant, silly, leader of the frat boys. The one who decided what pledges to the fraternity had to do for him, as he and his cheerleader wife laughed, and laughed, at their shenanigans. Cody became the fourth Young Buck! Adam “Hangman” Page then came along to the Bullet Club. Page came in a gritty, hardnosed, tough guy with a leather vest, and a noose around his neck. In a short amount of time he became another goofy, silly, wild move performing, frat boy. Page became the fourth Young Buck!
he Young Bucks, once a “different” kind of act in wrestling, that added some fun and levity to serious, hard hitting companies like ROH, Evolve, and NJPW, were taking over. Maybe because all the other wrestlers saw their merch sales and wanted in on the game. Maybe because many wrestlers don’t have the kind of mind it takes to create new and fresh ideas for themselves? I’m not sure what happened exactly, but I do know that Matt and Nick Jackson changed wrestling. Now instead of two Young Bucks, there are about eight of them, after you toss in the fact that they will feature guys like Joey Ryan, and Flip Gordon in their “Elite” videos. I think of wrestling like coffee. Some like their coffee black, other with some crème, and others with a little sugar. That said though, if you take a cup of sugar and just drizzle some coffee into it, you don’t have coffee anymore, you have some sugar sludge with a hint of coffee flavoring. The Young Bucks have caused my coffee to be that sludge, and ironically it is just…..too sweet. That's not "Wrestling Done Right."