On September 1st, Cody and The Young Bucks turned an offhanded comment from Wrestling Observers own and star rating commandant Dave Meltzer into one the most historic nights in wrestling. After Meltzer inferred that Cody and his ragtag group of Indy superstars couldn’t sell 10,000 seats they set out to prove the journalist wrong. Well the 11, 263 in attendance at the Sears Centre Arena on the 1st were a pretty clear statement to the world. Things were changing. “All In” harkened back to wrestling of old, tapping into slapstick antics and celebrity appearances while still looking forward, working in excellent technical wrestling and references to social media based shows and feuds. It was a perfect storm for wrestling fans.
The Bullet Club was smart in their approach to the card, spreading it’s members out wide throughout the night with four of them in singles matches and the groups resident tag team experts, The Young Bucks, fighting in a six-man bout in the main event. That match alone, the Young Bucks coming together with Kota Ibushi to be The Golden Elite, was a monster bout. It played into their strengths as performers and our overbearing sense of nostalgia by facing legend Rey Mysterio. Each BC match before this one told a different story to build one hell of a show.
Hangman Page found himself in a solid Chicago Street Fight that had comedic overtones throughout. It served as service to the fans of the Being The Elite YouTube series as it ended with a group of “Penis Druids” (go watch the match and see…) coming out to show that Joey Ryan, who Page had “murdered” in BTE, had come back to life and intended to get his revenge. After Page was incapacitated by Ryan, Page was carried off by the Penis Druids like he was Jesus Christ (no seriously, you need to go watch this match…)
Both Marty Scurll and Kenny Omega found themselves in dream matches. Scurll took on former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and NJPW superstar Kazuchika Okada in classic David vs. Goliath story. While Omega was pit against Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground mega star Pentagon Junior. While Scurll was unsucessful in his bout, one in which he already has an announced rematch at the sold out MSG show in April, Omega ended up with a win. But it was the events after the stellar match between Pentagon and Omega that proved why All In was the hit of an event it was…
Post Omega vs. Pentagon, the power went out in arena. When the lights came back on, Pentagon was standing again, but at this point began attacking Omega, when he stopped he began to pull off his mask… revealing it had been Chris Jericho in Pentagon’s place when the lights came back on! This was the shining example of why this show was such a sucess. It wasn’t just the fans who wanted to make a statement to the wrestling overlords, the wrestlers themselves were excited and eager to contribute. The list of moments was bountiful. Jericho showing up to his first North American appearance since venturing away from the WWE even though he immediately had to leave the arena, hop on a private jet, and fly to Kansas to play a Fozzy show THAT NIGHT. Jay Lethal reviving “Black Machismo. Stephen Amell wrestling Christopher Daniels and going through a table. THE F#$KING PENIS DRUIDS. These are just some of the stops that the line-up of wresters were willing to pull out. And I must say again, it made for one hell of a show.
The landsacpe of wrestling has truly changed. Yes, WWE is still the “Big Dog” (wink wink) but the entire wrestling community let one thing be emphatically known. They are not the only option, and a lot of people know it now. All In showed that wrestling belongs to the fans and the people who are passionate about it. On September 1st it didn’t matter if you were Bullet Club, Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, or unaffliated… fans and performers came together to create what we all love. A great show and a great night of wrestling. Thank you, Cody and Bucks, for spear heading this, all the wrestlers for helping make this happen, and the world for taking a chance on it. The future is bright for wrestling fans.
For more thoughts tune in to the next episode of Heel, Face, Shoot on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify!