The Elite (professional wrestling)

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The Elite
The ELITE (professional wrestling).jpg
Kenny Omega (left), Nick Jackson (kneeling), and Matt Jackson in February 2016. The three were joined by Ibushi in June 2018.
Stable
Members Kenny Omega
Matt Jackson
Nick Jackson

Kota Ibushi
Name(s) The Elite
The Golden Elite (with Ibushi)
Debut January 5, 2016[1]
Years active 2016–present

The Elite (stylized as The ELITE) are a professional wrestling stable which consists of Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) and Kota Ibushi.[2] Though primarily working in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) promotion, the stable has also worked together in the American Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion, as well as several independent promotions in Japan, the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. In NJPW, Omega is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion

The Elite was formed in January 2016 by Omega and The Young Bucks as a subgroup within Bullet Club, a larger faction Omega is the leader of. Together, the trio captured the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship twice later that year, but continued their alliance beyond that point, with the Young Bucks notably acting as managers for Omega in his singles career. Titles won by members of the Elite while the stable was active include the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and IWGP United States Championship for Omega, while The Young Bucks won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship four times and the ROH World Tag Team Championship twice between 2016 and 2017 and the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship two times between Omega and The Young Bucks.

In 2018, Omega reunited with Ibushi as their older tag team Golden☆Lovers, while The Young Bucks moved from IWGP's Junior Heavyweight Tag Team division to the Heavyweight Tag Team division. On June 9 at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, Omega won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship while The Young Bucks won the IWGP Tag Team Championship; at the conclusion of the show, Omega announced that The Elite and the Golden☆Lovers would fuse into a single four-men stable, The Golden Elite.

Background[edit]

Prior to the 2016 formation of The Elite, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) had known each other for years.[1] They originally met in Japan in 2008, when Omega was on his first tour with the Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) promotion and The Young Bucks were on their first tour with the Dragon Gate promotion.[3] They became close friends after later meetings in other promotions, including California promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG).[3] Omega has stated that the three had always thought that they shared the same brain, having the same thoughts about what a wrestling match should be.[4] Matt Jackson has described the creative chemistry between the three as unlike anything they have experienced before, adding "[t]here's magic there".[5]

Omega, who has called The Young Bucks his best friends and closest allies in professional wrestling, has stated that the three have "an open line of communication sending messages all day". The Elite was created as a result of one of these "think-tank sessions", during which, the three came up with the idea of filming their moments away from the ring and sharing them with their fans.[6] These moments, some only loosely tied to professional wrestling, were used the create Being the Elite, a show produced by The Young Bucks and released on both Twitter and YouTube.[4][5][7]

In 2016, the three were affiliated with each other in NJPW as members of the Bullet Club stable, but in Omega's words, they felt that the stable had been watered down and wanted to create something new.[6] Omega claimed that whenever people were saying that Bullet Club had been doing "some really cool stuff", they were in fact always talking about the three of them and not the other members of the stable.[6] Wanting to be together both in the ring and outside of it, the three decided to go full-bore as The Elite.[4] They had come up with the name The Elite as a joke years earlier, when trying to come up with a list of the most elite wrestlers in the world.[1] Omega stated that he and The Young Bucks wanted to push themselves as The Elite, but accepted if NJPW continued calling them Bullet Club "in parentheses" as the stable was their "cash cow" and a "pop-culture phenomenon". Omega has described The Elite as "a place you can go to watch the most ridiculous and entertaining stuff in pro wrestling".[4]

History[edit]

On January 5, 2016, Kenny Omega took over the leadership of Bullet Club, turning its members, including The Young Bucks, on previous leader A.J. Styles and kicking him out of the group.[8][9] According to The Young Bucks, they and Omega created The Elite that night without ever asking permission from NJPW bookers. After the rest of Bullet Club had left the ring after turning on Styles, Omega allegedly asked The Young Bucks if just the three of them should return to the ring to continue the attack on Styles as a "signal to the audience that [they were] the three guys". The three agreed to return to the ring and The Elite was born.[1]

During the first months of The Elite's existence, The Young Bucks, who were the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions when the group was formed,[10] both lost and regained the title,[11][12] while Omega did the same with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.[12][13] The Elite won its first title as a trio on February 20, during the NJPW and Ring of Honor (ROH) co-produced Honor Rising: Japan 2016 show, when they defeated The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe) and Toru Yano for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[14][15] They went on to defend the title in the United States for ROH.[16] The Elite lost the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship to Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin and Yoshitatsu on April 10 at Invasion Attack 2016,[17][18] only to regain it from them on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2016.[19][20] Their second reign ended on July 3, when they were defeated by Matt Sydal, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima.[21]

On August 14, Omega made history by becoming the first non-Japanese wrestler to win NJPW's premier tournament, the G1 Climax, defeating Hirooki Goto in the finals.[22][23] For the rest of the year, The Elite was largely inactive with Omega defending his newly-won status as the number one contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship,[24] while The Young Bucks concentrated on tag team matches, winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship in September.[25] On January 4, 2017, The Elite was involved in two championship matches at NJPW's biggest event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome. Early in the show, The Young Bucks lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero),[26][27] while in the main event of the show, Omega unsuccessfully challenged Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[26][28] The main event match earned acclaim from journalists and industry veterans with some ranking it among the greatest professional wrestling matches ever.[29][30][31][32]

After months of inactivity as a trio, The Elite reunited in April 2017 by embarking on a tour of the United Kingdom, during which they wrestled for Discovery Wrestling, Fight Club: Pro, Over the Top Wrestling and Revolution Pro Wrestling.[33][5] Meanwhile, a storyline had started involving tension between Omega and Bullet Club stablemate Adam Cole, who had formed his own trio named "Superkliq" with The Young Bucks, who were now caught in the middle of Omega and Cole.[34] The storyline culminated on May 12, when The Young Bucks, after teasing dissension with Omega, turned on Cole, who was fired from Bullet Club by Omega.[35][36] On June 11 at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall, The Young Bucks regained the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship from Roppongi Vice.[37] Over the weekend of July 1 and 2 at G1 Special in USA, Omega defeated Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal and finally Tomohiro Ishii to win an eight-man tournament and become the inaugural IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion.[38] On August 13, The Young Bucks lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to Funky Future (Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi).[39] Later that same day, Omega was defeated in the finals of the 2017 G1 Climax by Tetsuya Naito.[39] On September 2, The Elite returned to the United States, making their debut for The Young Bucks' Southern California home promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) and defeating Flamita, Penta 0M and Rey Fenix in a six-man tag team main event.[40]

In October 2017, upon Omega's return to ROH, The Elite started defending the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship, which The Young Bucks officially held with Bullet Club stablemate Adam Page.[41][42]

In January 2018, at The New Beginning in Sapporo, after shoving Matt Jackson, Kenny Omega was betrayed by Bullet Club stablemate Cody, and subsequently reunited with his former Golden☆Lovers partner Kota Ibushi, leaving the future of The Elite in jeopardy.

On March 28, 2018, at Strong Style Evolved, the Young Bucks faced off against the Golden☆Lovers in a losing effort. After the match, Nick Jackson shook hands and embraced with Omega, however Matt Jackson refused and rolled out of the ring.

On April 7, 2018, during Kenny Omega and Cody's bout at Ring of Honor's Supercard of Honor XII, the Young Bucks interfered and attempted to turn on Cody, but instead accidentally superkicked Omega, causing Cody to get the pinfall victory. After the match, Matt and Nick attempted to explain what had happened to Omega, but he shoved Matt and left.

On the 100th episode of Being the Elite, "Finale", in anger over the Young Bucks' involvement in his match, Kenny declared their friendship over, and that "There is no Elite", apparently ending the stable for the time being.

On June 9, 2018, at NJPW's Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, The Young Bucks won the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and in the main event, Omega won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. After the match, the Bucks came out, congratulated and hugged it out with Omega and Kota Ibushi, thus reuniting The Elite as a four-man team now named The Golden Elite.[43][44][45]

Being the Elite[edit]

Being the Elite debuted on YouTube in May 2016 and has since aired, on average, once or twice a week. The show is shot and edited entirely on an iPhone with the members of The Elite holding complete creative control over the content. Originally intended as a promotional vehicle and a video journal of The Elite's life on the road, it has since evolved into a hybrid that also includes skits and storyline developments involving both The Elite and Bullet Club. In early 2017, Being the Elite provided the background for an angle that culminated on the War of the Worlds pay-per-view in May with The Elite turning on Adam Cole and kicking him out of Bullet Club. While ROH had previously shown that there was tension between Cole and The Young Bucks, Being the Elite went deeper into the background for the angle with a storyline that involved tension between Cole and Omega and their fight for The Young Bucks' loyalty, while also introducing Marty Scurll, who would go on to become Cole's replacement in Bullet Club.[46]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1The Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship is a singles championship defended under the 24/7 rule. The Young Bucks pinned previous champion Rick Knox together to be both recognized as champions.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]