As AEW reached it’s one year anniversary, 411 Mania spoke to the Young Bucks about their thoughts on AEW reaching one year on television and the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused them to work shows without a live crowd in attendance.
Firstly, they were asked about their thoughts and feelings as AEW reach their one year anniversary
Matt Jackson: Oh man, it feels just like yesterday that we were in DC and the whole world was buzzing on what this whole show was going to look like and feel like and now we are in a different world but back then we were performing in front of at least 12,000 people. I don’t think I ever felt so nervous in my entire life. My own personal expectations were through the roof and Nick and I never really had experience with running a live television show or being on a live television show. I mean, we had our run at Impact wrestling about ten years ago and did a couple live television shows, but nothing like this and nothing to this magnitude and with the entire wrestling world watching us. I think right out of the gate and we did our first show and got it done, I felt so good. Once we got the first one in, now I was ready for it. And it is crazy that it has been a year and now that we are in a different world. We would have never imagined a year later that we would be in a global pandemic and there would no longer be 12,000 people, but there would be 12 in the audience. It is really strange and not what I would have imagined. But we have done as good as we possibly can and under these circumstances, we have kept a really great wrestling show, a great episodic show every week with great interesting storylines. In the beginning of this, Nick and I proudly said that our goal was to have the best tag team division in the world and we have now displayed that for a year now on TV on what tag team wrestling could look like and I think tag team wrestling is one of the main things that AEW has, and that is in a large part of the amazing talented wrestlers that we have. I am just really happy and I am sure that things could be better but I think everyone could say that with the way things are but I am happy what we have made of the situation.
The two were then asked about how they think AEW would have gone without the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided some insight on the canceled Blood & Guts match.
Nick Jackson spoke on the steel cage structure they had ready for the match, noting they spent a lot of money building it. The match was originally scheduled to take place this past March, but was postponed as the pandemic began to affect events.
Nick Jackson: Man, it is tough to say because a lot of that we have planned for the future is what we are currently doing. I mean, somethings did change. Obviously, the blood and guts steel cage match never happened. And we spent a lot of money building that structure. But the good thing about it is that at least we now have it. So, we can pull the trigger on that at any time. I feel like we are saving that for fans. I think that is the biggest reason we haven’t done it. But that is the biggest thing that changed, not having that match. Because if you look at it, the buildup too it was so strong and our ratings were going up and it was looking we were going to above a million for that show, and we probably would have but we can’t control what is going on around the world so I think that was probably the biggest change, not doing that cage match.
Matt: I was just going to say too, at first we didn’t know what this was and nobody did. And we thought, let’s just put things on pause for a couple of weeks and then we will get back to where we were. And then there comes a point where this thing is not going away, so there is no sense in saving anything and now it is time to put the pedal to the metal and do what you had planned. We can’t wait this thing out, there are fans that are watching our show each week and they want to see great wrestling and we can’t not give it to them. At first, we thought we could stall it out a little bit and then a month or two months into it we all were in a room and we said, nope let’s just give them Dynamite!
The brothers then reflected on the positives aspects of working without a live audience
Nick: I would say right off the bat for our young talent, it is actually helping them get better in the ring because the nerves aren’t there as much. If there is a sold out crowd of six to ten thousand people, these younger wrestlers get scared and nervous and naturally so, but in front of relatively no one it feels like training, it feels like they are back at wrestling school. They have been able to try different things. New things and get comfortable in the ring. So that has been the biggest positive in what is going on right now.
Matt: You got to remember without this pandemic, there may have never been a Stadium Stampede match, there may have never been that crazy tag team brawl match that we had with Butcher and The Blade. We really have had to think outside the box and one big thing that was said, if we are going to do this in front of nobody, let’s do things we have always wanted to do but wouldn’t have worked as well if there were people out there. Because if people were out there, you have to be in front of them as much as possible, you don’t want them to watch a screen for long right, so that is one thing Nick and I, right out of the gate, we always wanted to do this weird stuff. So, we went home and shot this match called BTE 200 almost like a pilot to show Tony to say, ‘Hey this is our vision of what we can do in a cinematic match.” I think once we did that and he saw that, and we pitched the Stadium Stampede match, that helped the cause, got the ball rolling, and convinced him for us to do it. You just have to think outside the box and do things differently and without fans. I think we have really stretched that as far as we can. There are guys with really big ideas, all the EVPs, Tony and even the wrestlers. We all collaborate. I mean we really use the Daily’s Place as well as we can.