I’m a fan of Christopher Daniels, so when I saw this pop up on his Twitter feed last Friday I wasn’t sure how to take it…
Here are my thoughts on the Young Bucks, because I guess it all boils down to how you define the term “work”…
On one hand, the Young Bucks are one of the most exciting tag teams I’ve ever seen. They remind me of other innovative tag teams like the Rock’n’Roll Express, the Hardy Boyz, and even London & Kendrick. Some of the things they do in the ring are absolutely spectacular. They’ve been working together for years and have perfected the fine art of “double-team maneuvers”. Indy crowds are going crazy for them all over the U.S. and abroad in Japan. You can’t deny that they’re “over”.
On the other hand, the Young Bucks are all flash and no substance. Don’t get me wrong; they can string together 50 moves in a row seamlessly, but do they know how to actually wrestle? Can they tell a story inside the squared circle? I have yet to see a Young Buck match that told a story other than, “How can I pop this crowd?” Again…there’s nothing wrong with that because there are fans who want that style of wrestling, but if you’re looking for teams who WORK (ex: Anderson/Blanchard, the Dudley Boyz, the Midnight Express, Edge & Christian), you’re not going to find that with the Bucks.
I understand that the guys who wrestle them on the indies are not only fans of the team, but get quite defensive about the criticisms they receive. I’ve heard on more than one occasion that guys like Matt Hardy and Christopher Daniels praise the Bucks because the matches are so fast and difficult to keep up with. To me, though, the criticisms that are levied against the Bucks are justified.
Recently Jim Cornette went off on the opening match to NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9, where the Bucks were part of a 4-way tag team match that was exciting, but ridiculously over-booked. Cornette’s main problem was as follows:
“And the Bucks also did this move to this guy where one picks him up like he’s going to give him a tombstone piledriver and the other one leaps to the top rope, leaps off the top rope, does a front forward somersault, grabs the guy’s legs, and they give him a spike piledriver. Boom! Cover him 1-2-somebody breaks up the pin, and they all continue the match and the Bucks didn’t even win. And so I made the comment that if somehow two guys had given that move to another guy on a show I was responsible for, and that guy left the arena under his own power, I would fire all three of them…I just gave an opinion, the Bucks got mad. I’m sorry, but it’s true and a lot of people in the business think so. It’s just that they look visually like small children, and they have to make up for it (they think) by doing all this devastating stuff, but the stuff isn’t devastating if you don’t beat people with it. Then you’re just going out there exposing the business because you can do a bunch of moves but you can’t ever actually whip somebody. It’s skewed thinking in my opinion.”
Regardless of your thoughts on Jim Cornette, can you actually argue against this point?
My problem with wrestling on the indies is that everybody and their dog is doing whatever they can to try and “get over” with the smart fans. That means kicking out of every finisher under the sun. It’s ridiculous. It makes for an exciting match, but eventually it goes the way of ECW with their hardcore stuff…it kills the business.
Say what you want about the WWE style, but it’s watered-down for a few reasons…one of which is protecting the performers from injury and the other protecting the business. When you get a main-event match and guys are kicking out of each other’s finishers, it MEANS something because most of the performers don’t do that. If every match had people kicking out of finishers, then what would you be left with? How do you go on from there?
I’m not here saying that the Young Bucks aren’t talented, because they totally are. They know how to work in terms of doing a shit-ton of moves to make for an exciting match. But there’s a reason people complain about what they do and, despite Christopher Daniels wanting to think otherwise, it’s a valid argument.
MARCH EDIT: After having watched more Young Bucks tag matches, they are beginning to grow on me as a team. Sure, their Japanese stuff is full of spots and their PWG matches are still spotfests, but their ROH work and even matches in smaller indies have shown that yes…they can actually tell a story in the ring. Am I a massive fan? Meh…but I’m not a hater anymore.