Too Sweet Me.. Errr– Or Not.
I first saw The Young Bucks in June 2013 at an event in Queens, New York. It was during their matches, a Battle Royal and Six Man Tag respectively, that I began to form my opinion of independent Pro Wrestling. I had so much fun watching them live. I had never been so wowed by athleticism or just had such an enjoyable time watching that style of wrestling through a screen. At the time, they weren’t doing much, if any, of the ode to the nineties type of gestures that they’ve become known for in recent years, and have now been told they can no longer use. Ironically, that show ended with Tommy Dreamer and Jay Lethal doing an impeccable, idiosyncratic Hogan vs. Savage parody. I never thought that they needed that, they were really good at providing entertaining, spot monkey style Pro Wrestling. I say that as a compliment. The Young Bucks, to me, is the exception to almost the rule. Yes, I believe that pro wrestling is more fun when the athletes are selling the damage and applying old-school psychology. Except for them. I think they should be allowed to do as many flips as they damn well, please. Mostly, because it really works for them. Also, it’s a good showing of the evolution of the high-flying tag team specialists type of teams.
The second time I saw them, it was December of the very same year. Prior to the show, which took place in the same venue, I had the opportunity for a photo-op with them as well as TRENT? I asked for one with the three of them together and Matt said, “throw it up. I’m sure if they had a hand gesture, I looked around to see them throw up the legendary “Too Sweet” hand gesture made famous in the mid-1990s by The Kliq, an off-screen brotherhood including Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, X-Pac, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels. That group of guys are literally all in my top ten favorite wrestlers of all time so, of course, I was delighted to throw up their legendary gesture with three guys who are killing it in the ring currently.
SIDENOTE: I tried to be the stereotypical indy nerd douche and I called them Shawn and Marty and in a hasty moment to continue my random name mixup, I looked at the former Trent Beretta and tried to think of somebody from the past that I could call him. “Uh… Hey, Droz.” Immediately, I just wondered to myself: “why am I like this?” It was an awkward moment. One of those moments where somebody says goodbye and your response is “you too.”
Back to the main point of this blog…
Beyond that, I didn’t think much of it outside of it being a cool moment for myself. Fast-forward to AJ Styles joining Bullet Club, a dominant faction in New Japan Pro Wrestling that is mostly made up of American wrestlers. AJ, The Young Bucks, and the rest of the crew made the hand signal a regular part of their act, both in and outside of the squared circle. They may have been doing this prior to AJ becoming a staple member of the group, but I really began to pay attention once AJ was a part of it. In addition to the Too Sweet, they also incorporated D-Generation X’s signature crotch chop Into their repertoire. Really, this was all in good fun. I will admit however that I had initially wanted them to be more original.
VIDEO COURTESY OF RING OF HONOR ON FACEBOOK.
That all changed for me when I watched a video of The Young Bucks, Anderson and Gallows, and AJ Styles cutting a promo prior to a 10-Man Tag Team Match for Ring of Honor. These guys hit every nineties faction nostalgia point, and you could just see that they were having the time of their life just being goofy with their buds. Something about that hit home for me. “They’re having so much fun,“ I thought to myself. From that moment on, I was all in because I know I would want to be doing the same thing if I was in their shoes. In the middle of all this, The Young Bucks were making a killing in merchandise sales and were becoming huge names in the industry for their ability to make wrestling fun while making a living in spite of not working for WWE. The best example of this being their web show, Being The Elite.
The Elite is The Bucks’ sub-group inside Bullet Club. Over the years, bullet club has faced many facelifts over the years, due to members being signed to WWE contracts and other wrestlers getting opportunities in either ROH or NJPW. The Bucks highlight these changes throughout their show, with playful skits from a revolving cast. Currently, the main players alongside Matt and Nick are Marty Scrull, Adam Page, and Cody Rhodes, Who is forced to wrestle as simply Cody because the WWE owns the rights to his family’s on-screen last name. This past Monday, they all did a skit where they “invaded” Monday Night Raw, much like D-Generation X invaded WCW Nitro almost two decades ago. The group had fun with the audience outside, saying they wanted Cody’s name back and the right to be able to freely use the crotch chop since WWE had to recently hand down a cease-and-desist order in regards to DX’s legendary gesture. It was a fun night for those involved, but what happened afterward is the reason I’m writing.
Another cease-and-desist order was handed down, but this time it was in regards to the Too Sweet. Immediately, all merchandise with the gesture had to be removed and they were told can no longer use the gesture. I find this unfortunate for several reasons. First and foremost, in spite of how much WWE has grown to accept and work with independent companies, this incident will further the old belief that WWE exists to be a tyrant and stop anything that’s fun. Secondly, I truly believe that The Bucks deserve their time in WWE, and although I believe strongly that they will have that time, I know that this is probably going to prolong that. Lastly, I think all that nineties nostalgia was really just an easy way to have fun with the audience, and while I believe that a good chunk of it is annoying, I think The Young Bucks were really just having a good time. Who wouldn’t want to do the same? Moving forward, I’m sure they will continue to innovate and probably even create a new hand gesture that will reach legendary status, but it sucks when these petty things take the place of something that’s supposed to be fun.
What do you think? We can discuss further in the commons or you can write to me on Twitter @PandemoniuMania.