Interviewer’s Note: Nick Jackson is a 23-year-old wrestler best known for performing alongside his brother Matt Jackson in the tag team, The Young Bucks. Despite his young age he has already competed for the second biggest promotion in the United States, TNA. During his tenure there he heated up the tag division again alongside his brother with the tag team name of Generation Me. Since leaving the company in 2011 he has returned to the independent scene and regularly wrestles for several companies, most notably ROH. He can be followed on Twitter @nickjacksonyb. In this interview Jackson and I focus on the topic of training for professional wrestling at a young age.
Daniel Johnson: For those unfamiliar with your career how would you describe who you are as a performer in a nutshell?
Nick Jackson: I’d say a very risk taking entertainer who tries to have the most exciting match possible every night.
Daniel Johnson: How old were you when you started training to be a wrestler?
Nick Jackson: I was at the very young age of 12.
Daniel Johnson: How did having an older brother also training to be a wrestler help you early on?
Nick Jackson: It helped big time because he would protect me from a lot of these bullies who would try and hurt me because I was so young.
Daniel Johnson: How did your wrestling promotion High Risk Wrestling (HRW) begin? How, if at all do you feel it helped you develop as a performer?
Nick Jackson: Well we weren’t wrestling on many shows and we thought if we started our own promotion we can work as much as we wanted. So it helped us a lot because we ran it all by ourselves and it taught us every aspect of the business.
Daniel Johnson: Are there any High Risk Wrestling matches that stand out for you as particularly good or particularly bad?
Nick Jackson: There’s plenty of bad and good ones haha. One good one in particular was a six man tag we had with Marty Jannetty. He helped us out tremendously.
Daniel Johnson: Would you describe High Risk Wrestling as “backyard wrestling?” If not, what separated it from “backyard wrestling?” What is your opinion of the phrase “backyard wrestling?”
Nick Jackson: No, not at all. We were all trained professionally. We booked nothing but pros. Backyard wrestling is wrestlers who haven’t gotten the proper training who wrestle in their backyard.
Daniel Johnson: I recently listened to Shane Helms’ Art of Wrestling episode where he talks about training himself initially. Do you feel like you had a similar experience where you learned to work by yourself before getting any formal training. If so, would you suggest this approach? Why or why not?
Nick Jackson: Yes I was pretty much self taught. I went to a few schools but I was already pretty decent by the time that happened. It’s pretty hard to teach yourself but its worth it in the end.
Daniel Johnson: When did you receive your first formal wrestling training. How would you describe the experience?
Nick Jackson: I honestly don’t remember when but I remember getting beaten up pretty badly by this bigger guy and he kept calling me his little sister. What that did to me was motivate me even more and got me wanting to succeed more.
Daniel Johnson: Did you have any friends that trained alongside you? If so did they help at all?
Nick Jackson: Yes, The Cutler Brothers trained alongside us. That helped because its always easier with more people with you.
Daniel Johnson: Do you think you would have still ended up becoming a wrestler if it was just you without a brother or any friends with similar interests?
Nick Jackson: If it wasn’t for my brother I’m not sure if I would. Because tag team wrestling is the reason why we do this.
Daniel Johnson: Did you ever have to balance school work and wrestling? If so how did you manage it?
Nick Jackson: Yes, very much so. I actually started doing home schooling so that way I could train as much as possible.
Daniel Johnson: What was it like being in school and being a wrestler at the same time? Did people know? Anyone ever give you any trouble or praise about it?
Nick Jackson: Everyone at school thought I was a tough kid. So it worked for my advantage.
Daniel Johnson: Some wrestlers such as Colt Cabana went to college and wrestled at the same time. Did you ever do this? If not do you have any plans to go after a college degree? Why or why not?
Nick Jackson: I did a little of it but it wasn’t for me. I hated it. But I’ve been thinking lately a lot more about it.
Daniel Johnson: What was the wrestling scene like in the part of southern California that you lived in while training? Would you describe it as a hotbed for wrestling or not?
Nick Jackson: Not at all a hotbed lol. It’s kind of like being on an island because its so difficult to break out from just being a SoCal guy to a guy who wrestles everywhere.
Daniel Johnson: You began wrestling for PWG in 2007. What, if anything was the most valuable thing you learned there?
Nick Jackson: How to read an audience. Also, how to play a character.
Daniel Johnson: In 2008 you wrestled for Japan for the first time. Had you been abroad before this. If so, when and where? Did you take away any lessons from Japan?
Nick Jackson: This was the first time being that far away from home so I was scared and nervous at the time. But it had to be one of the best experiences of my life. It was the first time having a real wrestling schedule that was hectic.
Daniel Johnson: How much, if any do you learn by just watching footage of wrestling matches? If you do learn this way then what wrestler have you learned the most from just by watching?
Nick Jackson: I learn how to do certain things so yes it does help me out a lot.
Daniel Johnson: Some wrestlers perform for years and still seek out experiences like training and wrestling camps. Do you have any plans to seek out either? If so where?
Nick Jackson: I actually have a wrestling ring in my backyard so whenever I need to polish up on my stuff I just go in my backyard.
Daniel Johnson: You’ve wrestled for some of the bigger United States promotions such as TNA and ROH. Do you feel one or the other treated their younger talent better. If so why?
Nick Jackson: Maybe ROH because their whole roster still is pretty young. TNA has a lot of older guys still.
Daniel Johnson: People who gain too much success too quickly at anything can let it go to their heads or develop bad habits, but you’ve managed to avoid these problems. What advice wold you give to young guys who are finding a lot of success about staying on track?
Nick Jackson: I would have to give credit to having faith in God for keeping me on track as well as a wife who keeps me humble every time I seem to be getting an ego haha. You just have to realize its only wrestling. I’m not changing the world so why have any type of ego about it?
Daniel Johnson: On a lighter subject and kind of off topic, I always like to hear about ribs and road stories. Do you have any that you would be able to share?
Nick Jackson: One that comes off the top of my head is one time Matt and I just got to Barcelona, Spain late in October a few years ago and were walking around the streets of where the show was. We look at the people walking around us and every one is dressed up in strange costumes. We’re flipping out like, ‘What the heck is wrong with people in Spain?’ Why are they all dressed up in costumes. We totally forgot it was Halloween that day. We were traveling and had been on the road a lot and got our days mixed up and had no clue it was Halloween. That stuff happens when you wrestle all the time.
Daniel Johnson: I saw that you recently did an autograph session with Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. Would The Young Bucks vs. The Rockers be your favorite dream match that you could wrestle in? Are there any other similar dream matches?
Nick Jackson: Oh yeah for sure. That’s the all time dream match for me because we loved The Rockers growing up. Another one of course has to be us wrestling The Hardy Boyz.
Daniel Johnson: Speaking of The Rockers what was the experience of training with Marty Jannetty like. Was there anything in particular that your learned from him that sticks out?
Nick Jackson: What he helped us out a lot on was tag team psychology and he always told us to never party like him and Shawn did haha.
Daniel Johnson: As part of my last few questions I like to ask five non-wrestling related questions just to bring a little uniqueness to the interview. If you don’t have an answer or don’t want to answer one of them just feel free to say, “skip.” Outside of wrestling, what television shows do you enjoy watching these days?
Nick Jackson: Those storage war shows always have me hooked as well as the pawn shop ones haha.
Daniel Johnson: What was your favorite movie that came out this year?
Nick Jackson: I just saw Looper that was awesome but I’d have to go with Batman [The Dark Knight Rises].
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite food that you tried for the first time this year?
Nick Jackson: Hmm good question. I honestly don’t think I tried anything new haha.
Daniel Johnson: What is your favorite song to come out this year?
Nick Jackson: Taylor Swift’s newest hit just because my wife likes it.
Daniel Johnson: Did you vote in your last local election? If so would you be willing to say for who?
Nick Jackson: I actually did not but I really should this year. I’d vote for Mitt [Romney] if I do vote.
Daniel Johnson: This is a broad question, but one I try to ask everyone: What is the weirdest part of being a professional wrestler?
Nick Jackson: Everything is weird but the most weird thing about it is probably telling your in laws what you do for a living. Lol.
Daniel Johnson: My last question is just is there anything you would like to add or talk about that we haven’t talked about already?
Nick Jackson: I think you’ve covered everything that is interesting. Thanks buddy!
See Nick Jackson perform at CHIKARA’s 2009 King of Trios! Here he takes on Kota Ibushi, El Generico and Jigsaw in a four way match: