Remember when D’generation X invaded WCW Monday Nitro in the Monday night wars of 90’s wrestling? World Wrestling Entertainment would have you believe it was a pivot point in their favor when Triple H and company threw a WWF pep rally in the parking lot of a WCW Nitro in Virgina. Every WWE Network look back at that moment also tells us how big of mistake WCW made in not letting the so called “invasion” happen that night. Well this past Monday, WWE had a chance to put its money where its mouth is when an independent faction of wrestlers called Bullet Club decided to homage one of WWE’s pieces of history.
The Bullet Club represented by Cody Rhodes (Son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes) and his wife Brandi, Hangman Page, “The Villain” Marty Scurll, and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) gathered a rather large group of their fans at a Hot Topic in Ontario California. Just up the street, WWE was putting on its usual Monday Night Raw which would so happen to culminate from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Bullet Club’s Hot Topic meet-and-greet would be a veil for their ulterior motive. Bullet Club had their following rally in a reenactment of DX’s invasion angle in the 90’s. WWE would have a chance to reenact history in a way they always claim would have been more beneficial to WCW. Ultimately nothing more came of the Bullet Club invasion than a salvo of social media talk and some minor annoyance to WWE’s events team. RAW was its usual two hours of decent TV and one throwaway hour where the audience has checked out and gone to bed or moved over to The Voice.
The very next morning, Matt and Nick Jackson The Young Bucks were slapped with a real life cease and desist order from WWE’s lawyers over the group using the “too sweet” hand gesture. It’s not the first such legal action the Bucks have had placed on them. Earlier this year, the Ring of Honor tag-team champions produced a Rick and Morty parody shirt to which the show’s producers filed an order for them to stop. In this case, WWE’s cease and desist doesn’t hold much water. The company trademarked the phrase in late 2015 after signing original Bullet Club members Finn Balor and Karl Anderson. While most people might think WWE has a right to the claim because the “too sweet” was used by the NWO in WCW which after imploding was acquired by McMahon’s company.
In actuality, wrestlers all over the world were too sweeting each other from Japan to Mexico before the Wolfpack did it in WCW. In Hinduism and Buddhism, however, the “too tweet” gesture is a mudra known as the Apan mudra or the Bharatanatyam, depending on who you ask. A mudra is a ritual hand gesture that invokes traditional iconography and energy manipulation — particularly in yogic practice. WWE can trademark the gesture and stop others from using it but not anyone who can prove they’ve been doing so before being trademarked. The Bucks have pulled merchandise which specifically featured the hand gesture from their online store, but in true rebellious Elite fashion have released a new shirt taunting WWE’s legal move.
Let’s talk about what WWE could have done on Monday. In the 90’s, had WCW simply called Degeneration X’s bluff and let them in the building during Monday Nitro, the same thing would have happened…nothing. None of the five invading superstars would have risked the wrath of Vince McMahon if something detrimentally embarrassing happened during an appearance on a rival broadcast. Instead by WCW flinching first, WWE was allowed to write the narrative history of that day which turned out to be more played up than its actual significance. Even if the DX invasion never happened in any shape or form, wrestling’s landscape would still be exactly the same as it is now with WWE as the Walmart of wrestling.
This past Monday, WWE had a chance to prove the validity of their version of the DX invasion with very little consequence. Bullet Club wasn’t doing what they did during a live broadcast to draw viewers away from RAW. It was basically just a stunt for The Young Bucks YouTube channel “Being The Elite”. WWE could have called the bluff of Bullet Club and invited them in for a segment during RAW’s third hour which always has the most abysmal ratings. Instead, the creative team decided to close their show with America’s least favorite Jersey Shore blooper reel Enzo Amore. In an industry that’s become predictable, WWE could have used Bullet Club in the Amore segment instead of writing the cruiserweight division into a no-win situation. How bonkers would the Internet have gone if Bullet Club’s theme came on at just the right moment in that third hour? You don’t have to even write a long form story or explain what’s going on, just let it happen and let social media do what it was intended to do; tell everyone how cool this is.
It’s hard to see WWE’s course of action as nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to being called out in a public forum. They can’t use the excuse of not knowing the Young Bucks had been merchandising and using the hand gesture when they were the ones who pointed Hot Topic towards Matt and Nick when the retailer asked WWE about all the Bullet Club shirts in the audience during a WrestleMania weekend. If WWE’s intent was to ice the momentum of Bullet Club into the wrestling/pop culture hive then they could not have taken a more opposite effect action. For a company that understands the value of controversy, they have to know that suing someone like The Young Bucks only gives them a bigger forum. Hell, we’re talking about them now and this is a comic book website. If WWE had just turned the other cheek in regards to Monday’s stunt it would have been forgotten by Thursday. Now WWE is risking making a Godzilla out of an Iguana.
Too Sweeting may have been brought back by Finn Balor (Prince Devitt) and the Bullet Club in Japan, but thanks to the growing exposure of Ring of Honor and New Japan it’s becoming as culturally understood as a high-five. It won’t be long till we see pro Baseball or Football players doing it. Hell if we pass each other at a convention or Portillo’s and I don’t “too sweet” you, then you should probably be worried. If WWE expects me to pay them everytime I want someone to know I like them then they can F*#& right off.
The entire Bullet Club which includes my favorite wrestler of 2015-2018, Kenny Omega, have a chance to position themselves creatively in response to WWE. The Young Bucks have already started. Not only have they released new merchandise but they’ll be guests of Stan Lee at his Los Angeles Comic Con at the end of October. The tag team is scheduled for a Q&A panel on the shows main stage in which you can bet they’ll be talking about the cease and desist order. How odd is it that we’ll get to see a picture of Stan Lee and the Young Bucks before I’ve ever seen a picture of Stan Lee and Vince McMahon? If the Bucks don’t “too sweet” Stan Lee then what’s been the point of all this? There’s no dimension where Stan Lee would get sued by Vince McMahon so too sweet away, Stan.