By Liam Stryker
On September 1st in Chicago Illinois, the most important wrestling show since the purchase of WCW by WWE will take place. All-In, a show that will take place at the Sears Centre Arena will attempt to draw over 10,000 fans for a wrestling show. Since WWE became the sole survivor of the Monday Night Wars, there hasn’t been a true contender to the title of top professional wrestling promotion in North America. With respect paid out to TNA, CMLL, Triple-A, and their respective big shows. None of them have or will have the cultural importance that All-In has the potential to have. With gentlemen at the helm with something to prove to the wrestling world, All-In will be one of the most important dates in Professional wrestling.
Most of the pro wrestling world is made up of WWE fans and casual WWE fans. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but really there is no other way to put that. The majority of WWE fans are exactly that WWE fans. There’s nothing wrong with being a WWE fan, at one point or another we all were, and most still are. However, most of those fans don’t follow anything outside of WWE, which has caused a bit of an arrogance to grow in the mind of WWE fans. That it’s everyone’s dream and pleasure to wrestle for WWE and there is no way to make a living anywhere else in the world of pro wrestling. Cue the Elite, a group of wrestlers who’ve made it a mission to prove otherwise. The group consisting of Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega have decided to prove that WWE being the only place in the world to make money is a complete myth. The Bullet Club has transcended promotions, infecting every promotion in North America, the UK, and Japan in ways that the NWO could only insinuate. They’ve infect pro wrestling and have become the biggest act in the world including WWE. After hinting time and time again for what seemed like years, finally, All-In was announced.
So, why is All-In so important?
All-In is pioneering in the modern landscape of pro wrestling and showing the world how the internet can and should be embraced to help grow the popularity of the sport and individual performers. The youtube series being the elite that follows the lives of Cody, the young buck, and the rest of the members of the bullet club and their friends. This is where all of the actual announcements for All-In have been made, and any subsequent announcements over venue and performers appearing at the event take place primarily on the vlog. This approach has created something unique in the internet landscape of independent wrestling. Gone are the territory days where you only heard about champions from other promotions who would only come into your town for one-off attraction experiences. In the internet age, a fan of independent wrestling knows which stars are wrestling where and who their opponent is, and if the promotion is worth anything will be posting a video of the match in the following weeks. Wrestlers like the young bucks wrestle for a number of different promotions from all over the world. Appearing in countless matches online if you just run a quick search on youtube. So on the surface, another wrestling show that they wrestle on isn’t completely new ground. What is setting All-In apart is that it’s bringing back the lost art of storytelling in independent wrestling.
With a majority of promotions switching to the “dream match” style of promotion, lost is the kayfabe driven storytelling style. The flash and posters drive the ticket sales and lost are the fundamentals of storytelling that keeps audiences returning time and time again. I understand it’s hard, especially in a world where a wrestler will wrestle for three different promotions with their own lore and champions in one weekend. The Elite have developed their own worldwide kayfabe through their show Being the Elite. It’s allowed them to pick and choose what elements of each promotion they wrestle at to dictate the overall story of the bullet club and the elite. Now by creating an event like All-In they are no longer handcuffed by the decision makers at larger promotions to keep cannon specific to one promotion. There is an overall freedom to this that will allow the group to create their own version of what the independent pro wrestling landscape looks like.
It’s fitting that Wrestlemania is only a few weeks away because the more I think about it, it’s the only event that I think can compare to the potential All-In has. Now before you jump in the comments and roast me for comparing a show that hasn’t happened yet to the biggest show in sports. Hear me out. Wrestlemania changes the landscape of pro wrestling by showing that there was enough interest in the sport to make a large enough event that people would pay for it on pay per view. It took the then WWF into further mainstream popularity by creating a spectacle that was a must-see event. All-In has the same opportunity, taking stories from around the quite literal world of pro wrestling and pay them off at an event that doesn’t have ties to any other promotions. Kenny Omega vs. Cody Rhodes is a wrestling storyline being told over Ring of Honor and New Japan events. It belongs to the world of independent wrestling and by capping it off at All-In, it allows the performers to dictate how the story ends.
All-In has the potential to be the independent wrestling world’s version of WrestleMania. A spectacle event that blurs the lines between promotion and instead focuses on the performers and the story that they tell week in and week out over the course of a year. By using vlog style shows to link together multiple global events the Elite have already become a force in pro wrestling. By creating an event for independent performers by independent performers I believe All-In will be looked at as the start of an NWA style link among all the global promotions and create a landscape that will truly give performers an alternative to WWE to make a living wrestling full time.
I want to hear from you, comment below and give me your opinion on how you think All-In will affect the pro wrestling world.
I’m Liam Stryker – I’m out.