WWE News: AJ Styles Nearly Brought The Young Bucks With Him To The WWE In January
AJ Styles was the WWE’s hottest free agent signing to begin the year, and The Young Bucks were the company’s top target to close out 2016. Last month we reported that Triple H was leading the efforts to raid the Ring of Honor roster to help fortify NXT, with Nick and Matt Jackson of The Young Bucks at the very top of the list.
As it turns out, The Young Bucks passed on the opportunity to re-sign with Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling on a two-year deal that will see them wrestle less and make more. When the Young Bucks’ goal was to make it to the WWE, the WWE wasn’t interested. And when the WWE finally came calling, they opted for the road less traveled. The same nearly could have been said about AJ Styles until 11 months ago.
On January 4, Styles wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at Wrestle Kingdom X. 20 days later, AJ showed up at the Royal Rumble as a surprise entrant and Nakamura wasn’t far behind. As a matter of fact, neither were Karl Anderson or Luke Gallows, AJ’s former running buddies with the Bullet Club in New Japan. Gallows and Anderson made their WWE debut in April.
When Styles, Anderson, and Gallows reunited on WWE programming, they referred to themselves as The Club in an homage to their Japanese roots. But according to Nick and Matt Jackson, The Young Bucks were nearly part of that Bullet Club invasion on WWE soil as well.
In a new report from Vice Sports (the same publication that recently revealed that Shane McMahon attempted to take over WWE creative back in 2012), The Young Bucks admitted that the timing just didn’t quite work out when AJ Styles was jumping ship.
“When A.J. was about to leave, he pulled us aside before anybody knew anything and he asked us about our contracts. At that point, it was December and we had just signed (with NJPW) —we signed in November. He’s like, ‘You did? Ughhh.’ The idea was he was going to try and get us to walk out with him and be the guys with him… If we never signed, there’s a great chance we could have been walking out on Raw with those guys, I feel.”
How the Young Bucks @MattJackson13 and @NickJacksonYB revolutionized professional wrestling: https://t.co/hkeGpWy0B5 pic.twitter.com/fnuWuesKEL
— VICE Sports (@VICESports) December 14, 2016
As noted, The Young Bucks re-upped with ROH and NJPW, but the contract only lasts two years. Whether WWE will be interested again remains to be seen, but the brothers will only be 33 and 29 by the time they hit the free agent market again. They’re sincerely trying to become the greatest tag team ever, but for that notoriety (and the money that goes along with it) they realize what they’d have to do.
“Maybe that’s our claim to fame, that we’re the only guys that didn’t go when everyone else did… If we ever wanted to become wealthy—like, wealthy wealthy—we need to go there. We’ll never, ever have the potential to make a million dollars on the indies, that’s for sure. That’s just not going to happen… You have to go there to be the greatest of all time. That’s in the eyes of the fans. Unless you’re a WWE Hall of Famer eventually, you almost have a wasted career in their eyes. It’s sad that it’s like that.”
Like The Young Bucks have done and are doing, AJ Styles did just about everything you can do in wrestling outside of the WWE. He’s now the WWE Champion on SmackDown, boasting one of the best first-year resumes ever with a legitimate chance at a significant main event at WrestleMania. We’ll have to wait at least two more years to find out if the same could be said for The Young Bucks, but AJ nearly played a part in speeding that whole process up.
[Featured Image by WWE]