Doubling Down on Legacy: The Young Bucks versus The Lucha Bros
The dream began with a handshake….
Nick and Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks, have taken the pro wrestling world by storm. Conquering tag team competition from all corners of the globe, breaking box office and merchandise sales records, and collecting enough championship gold to fill a Brinks truck, the team’s latest title—executive vice presidents of All Elite Wrestling (AEW)—may come with a price that the Bucks cannot afford: their legacy.
On February 7, 2019, AEW held an official press conference at the MGM Grand in
Las Vegas, NV, to announce the company’s inaugural event, “Double or Nothing.”
Speaking in front of legions of fans in attendance, the press, and streaming live on YouTube, Matt Jackson detailed the brothers’ journey so far: “We shook hands. We made a pact. We made a promise. We said, ‘One day let’s grow up and let’s be professional wrestlers…but not only that, let’s do it together, let’s do it as a team. Let’s travel the world and become one of the best tag teams of all-time.’”
Changing the universe….
In their roles as EVPs for All Elite, Nick and Matt Jackson have been tasked with creating the company’s tag team division from the ground up.
“It feels like tag team wrestling has become something of a lost art. That’s all about to change. Our goal, our main objective, is to give you fans the best tag team division in the world,” said Matt Jackson.
Nick Jackson, the younger of the two brothers, surveyed the passionate crowd, many of whom had lined up hours in advance to witness the event: “I have one question for each and every one of you: Can tag team wrestling be the main event?”
Judging by the rabid response, the answer was a resounding yes!
Never ones to disappoint their devoted fan base or break a vow, the Bucks took this as a challenge—one they would take to heart. To build AEW’s tag ranks, the Bucks began scouting teams, embarking on an exhaustive tour that would zigzag them across North America, and then the globe. They began scouring the Internet, then consulted with regional promoters, to see which fresh teams were generating the most buzz and making the biggest waves on the scene. They would leave no stone unturned, often popping in unannounced on independent wrestling promotions.
Little did the Bucks realize, their next challenge was already waiting in the wings.
The war began with a handshake….
Less than a week before AEW’s “Double or Nothing” Press Conference when they publicly announced their mission statement, the Young Bucks had set things in motion. On February 1, 2019, at independent pro wrestling event “Come Hell or High Water”, in Atlanta, GA, the Young Bucks punched the clock, rolled up their sleeves, and got down to business. In doing so, they may have rubbed one particular set of competitors the wrong way.
The Lucha Bros., the team comprised of Mexican wrestling sensations Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix, defeated SoCal Uncensored’s (SCU) Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian, with the Bucks on hand to witness the match.
The Young Bucks were extremely impressed with what they saw in the ring. Analysts speculated that the Bucks caught a glimpse of something in the Lucha Bros. that they recognized in themselves—that hunger and drive to be the undisputed best and to take tag team wrestling to new heights.
The Bucks never mince their words, and their call-it-like-they-see-it bravado represents much of what Bucks’ fans admire about the duo. Despite their rock star-like following, the Bucks have a long way to go before they win over the Lucha Bros. Regardless of the Bucks’ intentions, Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenixfelt disrespected when the Bucks congratulated them on their victory over SCU and praised them as the second best tag team in the world. Other teams would kill for that compliment from the Bucks, but under their distinctive luchadore masks, Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix were biting their tongues.
In fact, the Young Bucks were so awe-struck by the Lucha Bros., they invited them to join the tag team division at All Elite Wrestling. In hindsight, one could argue that the Bucks were acting on impulse, as they did not have formal contracts to present to Penta and Fenix that night. Instead Nick and Matt Jackson offered the Lucha Bros. a handshake deal, and in the eyes of the Jackson family, their handshake—their word—is an unbreakable bond, worth more than gold.
Brothers versus Brothers….
The Vegas press conference was held outdoors in front of the MGM Grand’s luxurious pool. The temperature began to dip, and you could see your breath in front of your face. Fans were bundled up to witness the spectacle of the “Double or Nothing” press conference. Under those conditions, it wasn’t exactly a pool party, but it was an opportunity to witness and participate in what would surely go down as an historic event in the annals of professional wrestling. For the Young Bucks, it was a realization of a childhood dream, a culmination of years of sacrifice, hard work, and, pardon the pun, bucking the system. Nick and Matt Jackson are mavericks, willing to walk away from the establishment in favor of the road less traveled. They’ve made a career of it. In Vegas, they declared their plans of revitalizing tag team wrestling, and to make it one of AEW’s main focal points, not an afterthought or mere garnishing to the main course.
After Nick and Matt Jackson shocked the crowd with the introduction of their latest talent acquisition as EVPs, the team of Chuck Taylor and Trent Barretta (known as the Best Friends), the Jacksons would be served a surprise of their own: retribution from the Lucha Bros.
Wanting to fulfill their end of the handshake deal agreed upon during the previous week’s encounter with the Bucks in Atlanta, Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix personally delivered a superkick to Nick Jackson, followed up with a package piledriver on the stage to Matt Jackson. Looking down upon a stunned crowd, Fenix added insult to injury: “You guys say we are the second best tag team in the world? We are the best tag team in the universe.”
What goes around, comes around….
After the events unfolded in Las Vegas, the Young Bucks and the Lucha Bros. found themselves playing a very dangerous game of Russian roulette, to see which team would blink first. When you have elite athletes competing at peak levels, so closely matched to one another, oftentimes the sole advantage one can gain over the other is strictly mental. It boils down to which team of competitors can gain the upper hand in mind games.
Not content to sit home and nurse their bruised pride, the Young Bucks paid a surprise visit to the Windy City, seeking out the Lucha Bros. at AAW Pro Wrestling’s “Art of War” event, held on February 24th. This time the Bucks would have the element of surprise on their side, assaulting the Lucha Bros., and costing them the AAW Tag Team titles.
Matt Jackson was all business as usual, but now, he was demanding receipts. “Yo! Penta…Fenix…the Lucha Bros. Why don’t we make something official right here, right now, in Chicago. We’ve got a show on May 25thin Las Vegas called ‘Double or Nothing.’ What do you say we do Lucha Bros. versus Young Bucks?”
With the crowd erupting in chants of “Holy shit!”, Fenix replied: “Hey guys, the best answer is what the people say. The peoplewant to watch Young Bucks versus the best tag team on the planet, the Lucha Bros.!
The Bucks gave their stamp of approval by dishing out superkicks to the Lucha Bros., with Matt Jackson getting the last word in: “I know your schedule. See ya around!”
Have ring gear, will travel….
The thing with the Bucks is, they never know when to quit. Their persistence, their stick-to-it-tiveness, it’s a major asset for major league caliber champions. People with this winning trait are able to see the big picture while not overlooking the tiniest of details. Some experts call it tunnel vision, while others insist it’s nothing short of an obsession. This may come back to haunt the Bucks someday, because they don’t seem to be able to quit at all or let up on the throttle, not even when they’re ahead.
Case in point: March 16, 2019, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide’s annual “Rey de Reyes” event in Puebla, Mexico. In the main event, Penta El Zero M and Rey Fenix defeated Texano Jr. and Rey Escorpion for the AAA World Tag Team championships. It would be a short-lived reign. As the Lucha Bros. were celebrating, the arena went black, and when the lights switched back on, the Young Bucks were standing in the ring. True to their word, the Bucks knew the schedule of the Lucha Bros, and they’d been waiting for their very next move.
But this time emotions got the better of the Lucha Bros., and a match for the titles was made on the spot. After executing their infamous Meltzer driver finisher on Penta El Zero M., the Bucks were victorious over the Lucha Bros., becoming only the 20thteam to win the AAA tag titles. Not only did they beat the Lucha Bros., but the Bucks did it on the home turf of Penta and Fenix. Momentum had clearly shifted in favor of the Young Bucks.
“We spoil everything, don’t we?”
Chicago has always been very good to the Young Bucks. It was the site of “All In”, their instant sell-out, independently promoted event held at the Sears Centre in 2018. “All In” shook the pro wrestling industry to its core, and plays a major role in the origin story of All Elite Wrestling. The Jacksons may have been feeling lady luck on their side with their winning streak, or maybe they were letting their own egos get the better of them, but during an interview with SyFy Wire during the C2E2 convention held in Chicago, the Bucks raised the stakes on their rematch with the Lucha Bros.
During the Q&A, Matt Jackson smirked and said, “Let’s put the AAA titles on the line at “Double or Nothing”! Done.”
Added a calm yet eager Nick Jackson, “It’s booked.”
In their roles as EVPs, Nick and Matt Jackson have the power to make executive decisions pertaining to AEW’s tag team division on a whim. This is beneficial to the company, and to the fans of AEW who crave cutting edge tag team wrestling, but when it comes to their own legacy, will the gamble pay off for the Young Bucks?
The Lucha Bros. are betting fate will deal a different hand this time around at AEW’s “Double or Nothing” on Saturday, May 25th, live on pay per view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.