By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
CBS Sports Local interview with Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson
Host: Chuck Carroll
Full interview available at CBSlocal.com
Reaching people outside of that is going to be critical to AEW’s success. What are the plans there to get some new eyeballs on the product?
Nick: I still like getting back to the old-school elements of what worked in pro wrestling years ago. I feel like one thing we will focus on more than anyone is not to insult the audience’s intelligence, and we want to do long-term storytelling, which is very rare these days. And Matt likes to say it like this, a lot of people are into binge-watching Netflix series, and they like the storytelling element. So, why can’t we put that into the wrestling world and make it work? So, we’re going to look into things like that.
Matt: [Eventually] we have to get on TV, on a network that supports us. That’s how you get eyeballs on your show. Everybody still watches television, I don’t care what anybody says. It’s very important. Also, you’ll hear wrestling fans [complain about storylines]. Sometimes there’s plot holes… I want to do bits on the show that carry over week, to week, to week, and I want to pay off every single thing. I want to tie up every loose end. I want to really pay off the viewer. I want them to watch and then to feel rewarded by the end of the storyline.
What is the timetable for getting AEW on TV? It’s been reported that you guys were looking at a live two hour show once a week and talking to a couple of networks. What can you tell us as far as when we can expect to see you guys on some network?
Matt: It’s really one of these things that it’s an ongoing thing, and I can’t really comment much more on it. But we’re excited, and we’re expecting something big.
Nick: I can say this, we’re looking into all possibilities of trying to get it somewhere. If we don’t get a TV deal, why can’t we be the first wrestling promotion to successively do something streaming or something like that? We’re looking at all the outlets that are given to us. So, we’re excited about the possibilities of things that we could get. So, it should be something good.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about Kenny Omega. I don’t think his deal is quite up yet, but without getting yourselves in too much hot water, what are the odds that we may see him in AEW?
Nick: Oh man, we hope. Right now it’s still up in the air. I’ll tell you this, just like Matt and I, he has offers from literally every major company in the world. So, he’s got something to think about.
Matt: I think it’s another one of those spaces where we’re not going to know until there’s a signature on a piece of paper. It’s just nuts right now. Obviously, we’re hopeful, but God, we want him.
A lot has been made about the offers you received to go to WWE, or stay in New Japan, or Ring of Honor. I spoke with [ROH GM] Greg Gilleland last year and asked him about plans for you, Cody and [Hangman] Page. He told me that they were going to make an aggressive attempt to re-sign you. How aggressive was that attempt and how difficult was it to turn it down?
Nick: For a company of their size, I guess you could consider it aggressive. But Matt and I felt like we had peaked at that company money wise. And, let’s be honest. If we would stay there, we would never be able to retire and help our families out. So, we were looking at this window we have, which is not long in pro wrestling. And we were like, “I think we need to make a change because we want to retire one day.” Staying there, we honestly wouldn’t be able to.
Matt: And I think that before it could really get really aggressive, we had already made the decision that we were leaving no matter what. We didn’t know where we would end up. We just knew that it was time to leave. I didn’t know if that meant going to WWE. I didn’t know if that meant going and just being competitors again or with this possible new project, that could happen hypothetically. There was just too many choices and we just told them that we have to get to next year so we can at least look and see what the landscape truly looks like. Also, we wanted to gauge our street value, because we had never really even looked before. We just didn’t know what we were worth. We knew in our hearts what we were worth, but until someone actually tells you this is the number that I think you are worth, you just don’t know.
Powell’s POV: I love the talk about long term storylines and tying up loose ends. There are too many storylines in pro wrestling that feel far beneath the quality we see in other genres on television. Of course, it’s one thing to talk about it and another thing to deliver, but if the Bucks can raise the bar in pro wrestling storytelling then it would benefit not only AEW but the entire industry, as others companies would likely feel pressure to do the same. By the way, it’s worth checking out the full interview, as the Bucks spoke about their discussions with WWE and how close they came to singing.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and WOW head writer and lead voice Stephen Dickey discussing his career and the launch of the weekly WOW television series that airs Fridays at 8CT/9ET on AXS TV.