The Elite is a group in professional wrestling that have a long, storied history. From their days in NJPW and ROH, where they ran rampant throughout the promotions with the Bullet Club, to the formation of All Elite Wrestling, the group of men have been a consistent mainstay on TV for the past several years.
It was Matt and Nick Jackson (the Young Bucks) alongside Kenny Omega that led to the formation of The Elite. The trio formed their own subsection of the Bullet Club upon the departure of AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows. The other members of the bullet club at the time felt like this was disrespectful to the group, and it led to the ‘civil war’ of the group in 2018. The eventual departure of these three, alongside later added stablemates ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Cody Rhodes, is what has given us AEW today.
The Elite had a rocky road in AEW, to say the least. After the Hangman failed to win the inaugural AEW championship against Chris Jericho, and The Young Bucks were knocked out of the Tag Team tournament in the first round, there was small amounts of tension building in the group. Kenny Omega and Adam Page formed a tag team, and much to the surprise of Matt and Nick, became the first pair out of The Elite to win the tag team gold. This led to a now highly revered tag team match between Omega and Page and The Young Bucks, in which the champions retained.
Hangman pulled further and further from the group, and when he cost Matt and Nick in the fateful tag team tournament match, assisting FTR in their journey to the tag belts, Matt kicked Hangman out of The Elite. When Hangman and Omega lost the belts to FTR at All Out 2020, Kenny left Page in the ring, and signalled the end of Adam’s time in The Elite.
The individuals would continue to cross paths over and over again, with Hangman joining forces with the Dark Order to take on the remainder of The Elite (now the “Super Elite”, with the arrival of Adam Cole after All Out 2021) in trios, four-man, and five-man tag matches. It was in this journey that Adam found true friendship with the Dark Order, who accepted him wholly.
It all culminated in November 2021, at the Full Gear PPV. After months of chasing the opportunity, and not being able to solidify his spot as the number contender after the five-man elimination tag match at Fight For The Fallen, Adam Page finally had his chance to fight for the belt. Having taken some time away from the company due to having a baby on the way, Hangman made his glorious return in October to win the Casino Ladder match, guaranteeing him a shot at the belt.
The match with Omega was a hard hitting, emotional affair, and many fans often call back to one fateful moment in the match – Matt Jackson giving Page ‘the nod’ to go ahead and hit the buckshot lariat, and pin Omega for the AEW World Championship.
Following Kenny’s departure from TV in order to heal a mirriad of injuries, Adam Cole took it upon himself to step up as the leader, and fractures began to appear in the group. Many fans speculated a potential split in the Super Elite. However, due to a succession of injuries, the story faded into the background for a period of time.
Now, in the summer of 2022, the Elite are back at the forefront of storytelling in AEW. Ever since Matt and Nick won the AEW Tag Team Championships for a second time, the duo started to suggest that their lack of comradery in the locker room was getting to them. Adam Cole, Kyle O’reilly and Bobby Fish were out with injuries, and upon their returns, turned their back on The Young Bucks. This was the result of Cole being unhappy with Matt and Nick having too began to tentatively reach out to Adam Page.
The last several weeks have had us seeing hints of a potential rekindling of friendship between Page and the Bucks, and it all came to a head on the August 10th episode of Dynamite. After Page came out to rescue the Bucks from Cole’s betrayal the previous week, Matt and Nick took their ‘associate stooge’ Brandon Cutler into the locker room of the Dark Order, and laid their hearts on the line for a chance to have Page reunite with them for one last bid for glory.
Matt Jackson led the interaction, and told Adam “When we’re around you… you bring out the good in us”, and made several references to the former success the trio had, and how good they used to have it as a friendship. The speech was well meaning, and full of passion, but did not elicit the reaction from the Hangman that Matt and Nick were hoping for.
Adam Page made a point in saying that “they’ve been my friends the way that you weren’t”, a sentiment that was directed towards the Dark Order, the group that has supported Adam in his journey from leaving the elite, to winning the title, and to where he is now. For Adam, that’s what it all comes down to – friendship. All he wanted was the support of Matt and Nick, with no hidden motivations, no stipulations. The Dark Order has been that for Page, constantly offering their friendship to him, accepting him when he was broken down, and standing by him throughout the highs and lows of his career – a sentiment that can’t be shared by the Young Bucks.
Page declaring he will have no involvement in the trios tournament holds all the words he didn’t say – it’s not about the titles. Adam is not in it for the gold, the glory (which is a sentiment strengthened by the fact that he’s made no effort to acknowledge his #1 ranking within the company at this time). All he is looking for is friendship that isn’t forged by something like the trios tournament. He may have forgiven Matt and Nick for the past now, but the unspoken words from this segment are the loudest – he doesn’t want an alliance with them to seek gold. Their hearts may be in the right place, but they’re trying to build a bridge with the wrong intentions.
Following Hangman’s devastating denial, the August 15th episode of Being The Elite has left fans buzzing with speculation of the long awaited return of Kenny Omega as Matt and Nick’s potential trios partner. The episode included several teasers of this possibility, including Matt wearing a Backstreet Boys tee, a reference to the concert the brothers attended with Kenny in 2018. Most notably at the end of the episode, whilst watching Gone With the Wind (a perhaps subtle nod to the complicated relationships within The Elite), Matt received a call from an unknown individual. The conversation ended with “Are you sure? Are you ready for this?” and what fans believe to be the opening notes of Omega’s entrance music.
It begs to question, though – where do Matt and Nick go from here? Is it too little, too late for the much wanted in-ring reunion of the Hungbucks? Are we finally looking at the long awaited return of one Kenny Omega? Will the Elite be able to settle all of their differences, and put the past to bed? Or do the Bucks have another friend that will pull through for them in their time of need?