How Vince Russo Failed The Young Bucks In TNA

Matthew and Nicholas Massie, better known as Matthew and Nicholas Jackson are The Young Bucks. They are currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW), where they are also executive vice presidents and co-founders of the company.

Matthew (left) and Nicholas (right) Jackson with Kazuchika Okada (middle) at Double Or Nothing 2024.

Building a reputation as one of the best up and coming tag teams, Matt and Nick quickly adopted the tag team name of The Young Bucks. They would build that name up for 5 years in the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Federation based in California. It was in PWG that they would work with future wrestling stars, Tyler Black, now known as Seth Rollins, Kenny Omega, Chuck Taylor, Bryan Danielson, Roderick Strong, El Generico now known as Sammy Zane, Kevin Steen now known as Kevin Owens, and the Briscoe brothers.

So it was rather odd that when they were signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2010 that the head writer there, Vince Russo, would insist on changing the name and gimmick that they worked so hard to establish.

TNA was secondary to the WWE at the time and a step up for the Bucks both in pay and in exposure since TNA was televised nationally. Not only that, but wrestling legends like Hulk Hogan were signed there. However, there was a serious downside in that TNA would expect them to change their look dramatically. They were asked to cut their long hair and adopt a “Hot Topic” look similar to the Hardy Boys by head writer Vince Russo. Along with this request it was also decided that instead of being called The Young Bucks, they would be known as “Generation Me” or “Gen Me” for short. 

The Bucks did as they were told and literally went to a Hot Topic to get ring gear since there was no time to get proper gear made before they were scheduled for their first match on national television.

To the Bucks surprise they were booked to win their first match in TNA against The Motor City Machine Guns. The TNA live crowds loved The Young Bucks and would chat “Young Bucks” ignoring the new rebranding. This went on so much that TNA decided to give Matthew and Nicholas, (now known as  “Jeremy” and “Max”) the last name of “Buck”. 

It was here in TNA that the Bucks first met Kazuchika Okada who had come to America to learn American-style wrestling. The Bucks took a liking to Okada and would let him use their dressing room. Okada would open up to the Bucks in time and they would end up spending a lot of time together backstage. 

The Bucks and Okada would find that they had the same silly sense of humor and would endlessly prank each other. When they weren’t playing pranks they would build intricate mini golf courses backstage using whatever was lying around for obstacles, a real bond was formed.

It was in TNA where the Bucks would have a series of great matches with the Motor City Machine Guns toward the end of 2010 that saw the Bucks turn heel, grow their hair back out and even return to wearing the ring gear that they were wearing before coming to TNA. 

While the Bucks had a pretty solid initial run as a tag team in TNA, that all went sideways when it was decided that they would break up and feud with each other. They really hated this and eventually ended up asking to be released in part due to having a really good experience doing a dark match for a newly revitalized ROH with Adam Cole and Kyle O’reilly.

Their contract with TNA paid them per appearance, and they struggled to make money when eventually TNA lost interest in them. Matt revealed he couldn’t even afford chicken sandwiches at Popeye’s for dinner when working for TNA at the end.

Russo would state later that he didn’t even know who the Young Bucks were and would insist that they would not be around in five years.

On January 1, 2019, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) was unveiled during a conference in Jacksonville,FL with Matt and Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks revealing that they, along with Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega, would serve as Executive Vice Presidents, as well as on-air talent. Both The Young Bucks and Cody signed five-year contracts with the promotion.

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Frank Hartgrave

ByFrank Hartgrave

Mr. Hartgrave produces daily content for YouTube and Instagram and does a weekly AEW Wrestling Live Stream every Wed. at 6PM that is broadcast on all platforms.

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