Today marks the 4 year anniversary of YouTube series Being The Elite a channel started by brothers Matt & Nick Jackson The Young Bucks. This was a backstage look into the lives of the wrestlers on the road in Japan.
Here's a small excerpt on how Being The Elite was formed:
The YouTube show began in May 2016. It was months before Chris Jericho, then a WWE performer, unveiled “The List,” three years before the letters AEW meant anything in a wrestling context and when the Bucks were still considered junior heavyweights in New Japan. Also featuring Kenny Omega, who was building his case for becoming the best wrestler in the world, Being the Elite brought entertainment to fans craving more from New Japan, which was not as easy to access four years ago, as well as Ring of Honor, whose television programs can still be difficult to find in the United States.
The show, as Matt Jackson noted, has not always been met with enthusiasm from wrestling executives. Ring of Honor could not monetize the product, which would prompt some to ask why even bother with the project. For New Japan, it was seen as a blatant disregard of the fighting spirit and legitimacy of pro wrestling, the defining characteristics of the business in Japan. Even now in AEW, there are some internal discussions about whether the Being the Elite content is a distraction from the weekly programming.
Just like the Bucks’ career, Being the Elite goes against all longstanding pro wrestling traditions. It is filled with satire, which is more prevalent in Mark Twain literature than in the squared circle. Wrestlers want to have a certain mystique and be seen as larger-than-life figures, hoping that perception becomes reality with regard to their on-screen personas. The Bucks have done the exact opposite on their show, highlighting that, if anything, they have more in common with their fans than they do with the biggest names in the business. Undoubtedly, the success of the show has infuriated those who believe its formula should fail.
Throughout the doubt and criticism, Being the Elite has persisted.
“Every week, for 10 to 20 minutes, we’ve been given the ability to speak to our fans,” says Matt. “Sometimes literally, as we talk directly into the lens to them, about our schedule, interests, struggles and triumphs. And sometimes we speak to them through a silly sketch, or a long-term story with complicated characters. Being the Elite has given us the privilege to pull back the curtain, letting fans get to know us on a personal, deeper level. Being the Elite represents our lives’ work, at least in wrestling.”
A blend of reality and story line are two of the ingredients that have allowed the show to resonate, but another key to its success has been the free-flowing forum of ideas that occur when the cameras are not rolling.