It has been no secret for the past couple months that The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes and Hangman Page, better known as The Elite, were set to become the hottest free agents in pro wrestling when their ROH and NJPW deals expired. Their value became even more apparent when it was reported that WWE made giant money offers to all the faction members, but in the end, the deals were rejected in favor of the launch of All Elite Wrestling.
Towards the end of 2018, Hangman Page was the first to reject an offer from WWE, then Cody Rhodes followed suit when he revealed publicly that he turned down a huge money offer from his former employer.
According to a new report from The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the deal offered to Nick and Matt Jackson, The Young Bucks, was another blockbuster offer which included several perks.
“The Bucks deal was for money roughly the same as WWE champion A.J. Styles, which would have also included BTE being made a regular weekly show on the WWE Network, as well as something I’ve never heard WWE concede on, which was a six-month window where they could have left their three-year contract if they wanted and weren’t happy with their push,” notes The Observer report.
The report adds WWE was fully aware that Tony and Shad Khan were launching All Elite Wrestling, and knew there was no way the promotion would happen without The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes, which is one of the reasons why WWE made such lucrative and unique offers to the group. WWE likely hoped that if The Bucks and Rhodes accepted the company’s offers, AEW would have a difficult time signing top stars and land a TV deal, effectively killing the promotion before it even began.
The Observer report also noted that most officials in WWE believed The Elite would accept the offers made by WWE, and there were even plans in place for the group to debut at the Royal Rumble PPV this month, and begin a major storyline which would take them into WrestleMania 35.