The Young Bucks, real names Matt and Nick Massie, known as Matt and Nick Jackson, are a professional wrestling tag team and executive vice presidents for All Elite Wrestling. Their book, Killing the Business: From Backyards to the Big Leagues, tells the story of their journey to become professional wrestlers from the stories of their birth, their childhood, to all over the world, to the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic where they were performing on AEW Dynamite without people in attendance. Just as they do in the rings, the brothers tag back and forth between chapters from Matt’s perspective to Nick’s all without backtracking.
Killing the Business has everything you want from a wrestling book about specific wrestlers. You don’t want their entire life story, but how they got into wrestling and how their career led to where they are now. The opening chapters talk about their background, where they were born, their family, and what about their upbringing made them who they are today. Then it wastes no time getting into the wrestling, which they started in their very own yard. When it comes to the past, there are no wasted words. They’re not telling anecdotes that have nothing to do with their path to All Elite Wrestling; each story that takes place before becoming pros is a stepping stone on their journey.
Overall, the book stands out as a heartfelt story of two brothers who wanted to become professional wrestlers and the roads they walked and the sacrifices they made to find success. It doesn’t shy away from the mistakes they made in their career, but it does not speak poorly of others. If the Bucks had any issues with a wrestler or a promotion, they give their point-of-view without insults or petty backstage gossip. That doesn’t mean it is without drama, as pro wrestling has a long history of traditions for how you’re supposed to behave when coming up in the industry, and part of the appeal of the Young Bucks’ story is how they shirked those to both their detriment and their benefit.
The book is approachable for all audiences. Those not familiar with wrestling jargon, either because they’re more of a casual fan or just picking it up because it looked interesting, don’t have to worry. The Massie brothers make sure to explain the terminology without slowing down their memoir’s pace. So any person, promotion, or place of significance is given enough context to understand why they’re a big deal without bogging down the book with unnecessary backstory. The two never stray from their story, though, about how two brothers took a different path in professional wrestling to become successful self-made stars.
If you’re a wrestling fan, especially of the Young Bucks, you get a new perspective on what it’s like to work for the promotions Ring of Honor, TNA (now Impact Wrestling), New Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as trying out for the WWE, and the what led to the creation of All Elite Wrestling. The origin of the Bucks involvement with the creation of AEW is by far the most thrilling section from how the event All In came out about to the phone calls with Tony Khan, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars looking to start a new promotion, and Triple H, wrestler and Executive Vice President of Talent for WWE looking to sign the Bucks and fellow wrestler Kenny Omega.
These chapters crescendo into a moving passage of Matt and Nick in the Tokyo Dome in Japan, counting down the minutes to midnight in the United States on New Year’s Eve. At the start of 2019, they finally upload the episode of their YouTube show Being the Elite, where they officially announced All Elite Wrestling for the first time. In it, Nick Jackson looks back on all the what ifs? that led them here and how different their lives and careers would be with even the smallest change . The epilogue breaks down what happened next in both the Young Bucks’ lives and the success of All Elite Wrestling. The book ends with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the two are finding a silver lining by getting time with their families after years of being on the road. The book begins with their family helping to make their dreams come true and ends with time with their family now that those dreams have finally been achieved.
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