10 Insane Stories From WWE Tryouts

9. The Young Bucks Learn A Lesson That One Day Changes The Course Of History

WWE Eddie Kingston

Before the Performance Center was erected, and the system of recruiting and developing talent was conducted exclusively in-house, what often (but not always) happened was thus: if a wrestler plied their trade on the independent circuit, and made a WWE connection of some kind, they'd work an unofficial tryout match before a TV taping or do "extra" work at the taping itself.

If WWE deemed the talent promising, and they didn't show their arse under the lights, they'd extend a developmental offer their way. The talent, if successful, would then - depending on the timeline - shore up in Ohio or Florida. Or, if they were unlucky or had committed an atrocity in a previous life, Deep South Wrestling in Georgia.

This is how the Bucks first appeared in WWE's peripheral: they made a contact in Marty Jannetty, who then suggested that Shawn Michaels take a look at them. Shawn was nice to them and had heard raves over their work secondhand. The Bucks thought they were in - but Michaels, a Raw talent, wasn't at SmackDown. Before a wardrobe snafu ruined Matt Jackson's TV match with Chuck Palumbo - he was too busy adjusting his gear to sell - then developmental head honcho John Laurinaitis couldn't even be bothered to make small talk with the Bucks, wandering off before the word "Hi" had even left Matt's mouth.

Worse, Matt revealed in In the Bucks' autobiography 'Killing The Business' that the backstage WWE environment gave him anxiety - which had rather a lot to do with the fact that various unnamed top stars called he and Nick smaller than their two-year-old sons and homophobic slurs. WWE wasn't for the Young Bucks.

If the culture in WWE wasn't so toxic, perhaps there might not even be an All Elite Wrestling.


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and current Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!