What made you decide to get into the Wrestling business? Was there a defining moment?
Nick: We were big fans of wrestling ever since we were little kids so it was something we always wanted to do.
Matt: I just always knew it’s what I wanted to do. I don’t think there was one defining moment, it’s just always been what I was going to do, no matter what. I remember being 9 years old, and chatting with my friends in the playground about how I was going to grow up to be a professional wrestler. I never grew up, but I did become a professional wrestler.
Please tell me more about your start in the wrestling business and the company you started High Risk Wrestling, it seems a lot of good talent over the years have started in the wrestling business kind of the same way…
Matt: We started out wrestling each other and our friends in the backyard. Eventually I went & trained at a professional wrestling school and as soon as I got home, I’d show both of my brothers what I learned that day. Eventually we came up with the money to buy a real ring and ran shows in local high-school gyms, skating rinks and bars. All the meanwhile, we started to work the local independent scene and learned as we went. We’d be in the ring almost every day for hours. We lived and breathed it. Most of the high-flying acrobats we do today, we taught our selves, out back. We ended up running High Risk Wrestling for several years and learned so much about wrestling but most importantly, about the in’s and out’s of the business aspect.
With the same kind of beginnings and the way you guys wrestle, I know a lot of people compare you to the early days of the Hardy Boyz. What do you think of those comparisons and are they justified?
Nick: We think it’s awesome to be compared to guys like them, because they’re probably the most successful tag team of all time. We honestly don’t even try to be like them in the ring. I think, just because we’re brothers and look like them, there will always be comparisons.
What are your personal opinions on the Hardyz, are they a team that you see your career being loosely based upon or at least influenced by? And did you ever idolize them when you were younger?
Nick: We were always big Hardy fans and if we make close to any type of impact in wrestling that they did, than that would be awesome. They’re very nice people in real life and we like them a lot. They split up though, and that’s something we both would like to avoid ever doing.
Matt: The TLC era in WWE largely influenced me as a teenager. The stuff that the Hardys/Edge/Christian/Dudleys did was just magic. I think, seeing average sized guys, who also happened to be brothers, as a team, doing what they were doing, really opened my eyes. I remembered thinking that maybe Nick and I could be like them? So yeah, maybe we were inspired by them because of the obvious similarities. As small children though, from the beginning, our favorites were always The Rockers. We’d rent every single Coliseum Video from Blockbuster and watch Marty and Shawn on loop, all day. Again, I think watching two average sized guys flying around, keeping up with the big guys, was inspiring to us
Skipping to TNA/ Impact Wrestling now. Please describe your feelings, emotion and where you were when you got the call from TNA expressing their interest in signing you to a contract.
Nick: We were thrilled! At that point, we were going through a rough time, professionally, with a couple of different companies. So, when TNA showed interest, we knew right away that this could help us out for a long time.
Matt: It was definitely the answer to our prayers, at that point. We were wrestling EVERYWHERE, every weekend and just damaging our bodies in the process. Both of us were beginning to feel burnt out and felt like we were over-exposed a bit. We also got caught up in the middle of some unwanted drama between two companies we worked for.
The entire thing was actually quite a process. We worked Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin at a PWG show, and right after the match, in the locker room, they asked us if we’d like to come to TNA. They were pretty impressed with us, and thought we could lend a helping hand to the tag division. Of course we wanted to, so we made up a promo tape and shipped it out over-night to Shelley, who would hand it over to Terry Taylor, who was the head of talent relations, at the time. After a few weeks, I contacted Terry myself about the tape. He said he was very impressed with us, but had nothing for us at the time. He insisted we sign with ROH and check back in the near future. About 6 months later, we received a phone call from TNA and the first thing I heard over the phone was, “Please tell me you didn’t sign with ROH!” We hadn’t yet, so we set up a try-out, lucked out by getting booked against the Guns, and were signed on the spot.
When you signed with TNA was anything promised to you or did they make light of any plans they had for you?
Matt: In professional wrestling, there really aren’t any promises or guarantees, unless you’re already an established star. We didn’t really have much of a foot to stand on upon signing, so we basically took the first offer that we got. The only good thing we did have on our deals, was a guaranteed raise every year that we worked there, up to three years. As far as storyline plans, we were told nothing. The only information we received before our debut match, was a forwarded e-mail from Vince Russo that read, “Tell them they’re new name is GenMe. Have them wear something that kind of looks like the Hardys, but different. Peace, Vince.” We didn’t even know we were wrestling the Guns as our debut match until the night before. So, we were going day to day, just doing what we were told and always giving it our best. The plan was, there was no plan. I guess, just played it by ear.
TNA is among the biggest wrestling companies in the world with a tremendous amount of competition for the top spots in the company. When coming into the company was this something that you worried about?
Matt: Not at all. Initially, we were just happy for the opportunity. We were confident in our work and knew that we’d stand out. We were producing a lot of good wrestling matches at the time, with different companies around the world, so we had a lot of confidence going in. Plus, we figured, the better the roster, the more the spotlight is on us and everyone else involved. It’d only be a good thing. Also, at first, we didn’t want to be ‘top’ guys. We just wanted to be a part of the show and to make a living doing it.
Your thoughts in coming into TNA with the name, Generation Me? Did you try and push The Young Bucks name? Or was it that they wanted to brand you separately from what you were already known?
Matt: We hated it at first and didn’t get it, but never questioned why they didn’t use The Young Bucks, because we were obedient employees. Whatever they wanted, we did. They told us that they needed to change our actual names, for legal purposes - another thing we didn’t question, or find out about until watching our debut match, live on television, with everyone else. Of course we were let down that we couldn’t be the Bucks because we already had a following, and put a lot of time and effort into those characters, but now, looking back, it was definitely for the best.
Did the locker room at TNA welcome you when you came in?
Nick: Yeah that’s one thing about TNA we will both definitely miss. All of the talent there is awesome and they show respect to everyone, right away. We love the talent there. They all try their hardest no matter what they’re given.
You came into TNA and within a few months were involved in a Ultimate X Tag team contest for the number one contenderships. There must have been quite a bit of pressure on you guys to perform in a match like this so short into your TNA tenure and how easy it to prepare for a high risk contest like Ultimate X?
Matt: We felt the pressure for sure. A lot of people were looking for that match to steal the show, so we absolutely needed to come through. That was the first time that the company really put stock into us, so we wanted to follow through for them. Going into that match, the impact zone was incredibly busy, so we had about five minutes to jump up onto the cables and practice. Also, during the match, the ring crew forgot to put the outside protective pads on the floor, so there were a few scary bumps for us. The match turned out awesome and no one was hurt!
You then for the next few months split and wrestled singles matches in the X division, were you happy that the company seemed to be pushing singles action more than you two in tags?
Matt: We didn’t want to split up, and for the first time, talked to the office and told them of our concerns. We told them that we were hired as a team, performed best as a team and were both afraid of being lost in the shuffle. After some reassurance, and being the ‘company-men’ that we were, we agreed to it, with the agreement that we’d be given the time to tell the appropriate story, and eventually reunite as a team. Our short singles run was still fun, and our even shorter feud against each other is definitely a highlight of our careers. We had fun, for the time being, but eventually were thrown back together with little explanation.
A few months later you returned to tag team action entering into a feud with The Motor City Machineguns, Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin what were your thoughts on working with these two, the feud with them and the matches you had?
Matt: Working with the Guns was a lot of fun. They’re both so quick and versatile. The four of us just clicked and had such great chemistry. Working with them, didn’t feel like work at all. We had so many matches on the road that people will unfortunately never see. Matches that are my favorites from my entire 8 years as a wrestler.
Despite feuding for a good few months with the team you two never gained tag team gold, were you disappointed to never hold the championship belts?
Matt: Honestly, having great matches and an easy-to-work-with reputation was always more inportant to us. As cool as it is to hold titles, it’s never been on our wrestling bucket lists. If we’re having fun and helping create a more up-beat presence in our locker room, we’re happy men.
You two were meant to be feuding against each otherbut then the angle was dropped for no reason, what actually happened there and from the outside looking in it seems sometimes in TNA, the right hand doesn’t necessarily know what the left is doing?
Matt: I think there are multiple reasons. For one, I know that injuries from other wrestlers played a role in us being hot-shotted back together. Also, maybe there’s just too many chefs in the kitchen? I know that a lot of guys don’t know where to go when they have a question about something, because nobody knows who’s exactly in charge of what. I don’t think everyone’s on the same page.
Just explain the continuity problems that the company has with their storylines, again from the outside lookingin there seems to be some problems there, would you agree?
Matt: Absolutely. One week we’re running with Tara and the next we’re not. One week Nick and I have heat with each-other, and the next we’re in a stable together. Towards the end, people in the office didn’t know if we were heels or faces, so we flip-flopped. We knew then, we had to get out.
What are your thoughts on the recent pushing of the X Division, is it all a work just to gain some interest in what they’re doing?
Nick: I personally think it would help the product if they did push the X division because they are the best wrestlers in the company. But, unfortunately, I don’t think they will be genuine in the push, simply, because they have too many talent that they have to book.
I believe TNA released you, is this correct? If so, did you see this coming seeing as you were recently on the Destination X PPV?
Do you feel TNA dropped the ball with you and do you have any regrets from your time in the company?
Nick: We asked for our release because we were not being used enough to budget money for our families. We simply weren’t making enough money. We asked for help and they didn’t really want to do anything for us. So, it obviously wasn’t going to work out.
Matt: We knew we were going to quit for awhile. The writing was on the wall. Overcrowded locker rooms, we hadn’t been seen on tv regularly in months, not enough fulfilled dated, and no continuity with our characters led us to wanting out. I’m sure TNA could have done more with us, but I’m also not going to stick the blame completely on them. I’m sure there are things that we could of done differently too. All in all, we are proud of our run there though and feel like we did have the capability to show what we could do, at least a couple of times.
Has your TNA experience tarnished your view on thebig leagues or has it driven you to push higher?
Nick: It hasn’t tarnished anything - it’s helped us in so many ways, grow as a wrestler and learn about the business side of things.
Matt: I agree. We have a lot of information attained from TNA that we will take with us forever. Working the cameras, working for a writer, keeping a time, selling, telling a story, amongst many other things. One thing though, I would have never guessed was, how unorganized the ‘big leagues’ were.
What is your standout match from your TNA run?
Matt: Our debut match, Bound For Glory with the Guns and our one on one matches against each other are definitely the highlights. Oh, and our empty arena match also comes to mind.
What do you feel you could have added or brought to the company if given more of a chance?
I’m curious to know about your role in training Malachi,your younger brother, and how you view it as a family business. Could you tell me more?…
Matt: We could of ‘played the game’ a bit more. In professional wrestling, you need to do this to survive. We may have been a little too passive and let things happen to our characters that probably shouldn’t have. Maybe we could of been a little more protective? You live and learn.
At one point, Malachi was actually being considered to being brought in as our third member. We were excited of the possibility, because he was pretty much our little project. We trained him and helped him get booked a lot in the beginning, so bringing him to TNA could of been fun. Wrestling has always been family oriented to us, because from the beginning, we did this as a family. Our parents helped support us and never missed a show. We’ve always been invested in this, as a family.
I believe Nick will also be competing in CHIKARA’s Young Lions Cup tournament this year, what are his thoughts on this and with that do you both see yourselves moving away from the tag team stuff and competing as singles stars?
Nick: Only when the time is right and for certain occasions, we will do singles matches. And for this, I feel like I can prove to Chikara fans and indy-wrestling fans that I can wrestle in singles competition.
Having more control over your own matches and being more creative must be something you look forward to now working the indie scene?
Nick: Yeah, definitely, because now we don’t have to listen to agents. You listen to your opponents and you both have to think more. When you have an agent, it’s easy to rely on their brain and not your own.
Has it been hard to make the adjustment back to the indie circuit and along with getting back into the groove of networking and taking bookings for yourself?
Nick: Not at all really, it’s pretty much second nature to us. Working on the indies is a breath of fresh air and it’s helping us creatively and professionally.
What is next for you?
Matt: We’re still so young, experienced and well traveled, there are a lot of different opportunities for us. I don’t even think we know exactly what’s next for us, we’re kind of just doing our own thing and seeing where it takes us. People have asked us about the possibility of us going to WWE, back to Japan, or ROH.. Truthfully, all of those sound appealing to us in one way or another. I guess, only time will tell where we end up, but either way, you’re going to be hearing and seeing a lot from us.
A bunch of people have asked why we left TNA. There are various reasons, really.
Simply put: If we weren’t wrestling, we weren’t making money…And a guys gotta eat. Obviously, if you’re a fan of the show, you probably hadn’t seen us for quite sometime. Aside from the television program, TNA also runs live events around the country. In 2011, we’d only been on a handful of those, as well. Now, don’t get me wrong. When you’re booked a bunch, you’re making pretty good money, which was the case for us in our first year with the company. Not so much, this year.
Earlier this year, we were moved from the tag division, to the X-Division. This was obviously something we weren’t excited about. We felt we were hired as a team and worked best as a team. Why split us up, and put us in singles matches? “You are two of the best X-Division style wrestlers we have, and we are revamping the division,” was what we were told. We had a feeling we would be lost in the shuffle, but agreed to do it. We just wanted to help as best as we could.
Soon after, we were told we were being split up. Again, we reached out to the creative team, telling them that this may not be the best idea. Being the ‘company-guy’s that we were, and being reassured that we’d soon be back together and be given the time to “tell the right story,” we went along. Of course we were weary, but we were told to put trust into the company, which we tried to do.
After a couple of hot-shot-booked singles matches between my brother and I, both of us sat at home for awhile, not being booked, wondering why we split up in the first place?
Soon after, us and a few other worried X-Division wrestlers staged a meeting with a member of the creative team, telling him of our worries and concerns. After all, Nick and I weren’t the only ones siting at home. We were told that July would be a great month for all of us, as the entire month would be dedicated to the division, and we were even going to get our own pay-per-view. We were told that there are so many people on the roster as it is, so unfortunately, in the meantime, the X-Division wrestlers needed to be rotated in and out. Every one had to take their turn.
A few months later, our main supporter, and man who hired us, Terry Taylor left the company. Right before his departure, we discussed the possibility of a more ‘fair,’ renegotiated contract.
Eventually we were thrown back together as a team, with very little explanation, and flip-flopped from face to heel on a show-to-show basis. I think, at this point, we became very concerned with where this was all headed.
July came. We were sitting at home again, watching, as non-contracted wrestlers filled the usual, single X-Division segment on the show. (That’s no shot at the guys who came in for this opportunity. They’re all friends of mine, and I was happy for them. Obviously, I’d of done the same).
Sometime after that, a 2 minute run in, featuring my brother, myself and a few other X-Division guys was edited off the show.
Our frustration started to come through in many of our tweets. A mistake on our part, as we should of (but eventually did) talked directly to the people in charge about these issues.
After a small reminder in New York City, of what we left behind, and news breaking about MORE X-Division wrestlers being hired and added to an already bloated roster, the writing was on the wall. If they couldn’t fit everyone on the show before, how did they expect to do so now, with even more wrestlers? We felt we’d be doing everyone a favor - so we asked for our release.
Now, I don’t want this to come across as bitter or angry. Only honest. We truly did have a wonderful time with the company, and learned so much, from so many people. As many bad times as there were, there were also good. And, I can’t exactly blame all of this on TNA either. Maybe we could of done something different? Either way, they obviously didn’t see something in us, and that’s unfortunate. But, this is a business based off opinion, and I know we’ll be the right fit, somewhere else, because we know how talented we are. Maybe they let us walk too easily?
I just feel like the fans deserved to hear the truth about why they won’t be seeing us on TV anymore, on Thursday nights.
We’re excited about this next chapter in our lives. We’re both young, already so well traveled, and will have stories to tell for years. This is only the beginning.
“I use my hand as a visor, as I look into the future.”
Book us: Highriskwrestlin@aol.com
“Oh My God! I took a test this morning and it came out positive! Matt, I’m pregnant!” I’ll never forget the excitement in Dana’s voice. My whole world was instantly a different place.
It was really our first time actually trying. I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, that was kinda easy. I’m a stud!” But then later, felt, almost a little guilty, for the couples that can’t get pregnant.
For the first few months, and even at times now, it still doesn’t feel real to me. There’s no way I could possibly help create something so incredible like a human life, right? I’ve been dreaming of our unborn child for months, now. In almost every dream, I’m a bad father. Is this a fear or phobia of mine? In all of my “dad to be” books I’ve been reading, it sounds normal.
The ultra-sound technician typed, “You’re having a girl,” up on the big screen tv during Dana’s 14 week ultra-sound. A sentence that I said in my head, repeatedly all day, and haven’t stopped since. When we first found out, both of us leaned towards wanting a boy. Now, I’m so in love with the idea of having my own baby girl, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
Dana’s parents surprised us with our very own fetal heart monitor, so we can listen to our daughters heart beat anytime. Dana can’t put the thing down. I’ll be in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and will hear a little bit of static, followed by the sound of a quick, young heart pumping blood - which actually sounds more like a tiny washing machine. I hurry, shut the drawer and rush over to our bedroom to find my beautiful wife, lying down in bed with that little device on her tummy and a huge smile on her face, from ear to ear.
Yesterday, we spent over 2 hours registering for baby stuff at Babies R ‘Us. In an embarrassing moment, Dana had me pull down a stroller from the ‘“line-up,” and the two of us attempted to figure out it’s functions. Eventually, we’d get the bulky thing to collapse but couldn’t quite figure out how to uncollapse it (for lack of better word). Another young couple, with son in shopping cart and another, bulging out of moms stomach, watched us and tried not to laugh. I can only imagine they were thinking, “Yep! First time parents over here!” Red-faced, I tried to make room in the aisle for the young family to pass us by. After Dana and I, together, struggled with the complex stroller, and finally figured out how it worked, I wiped the sweat off my brow and placed the frustrating child-mover back into the line-up. “This whole being a father thing is gonna be a lot harder than I thought,” I joked.