All of the Above: Everything We Know So Far about All In

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All In
Credit: @ALL_IN_2018

It’s hard to believe that All In, which has been over a year in the making, is less than a month away as on September 1, 2018, the Sears Centre will play host to one of the most historic and revolutionary events to ever occur within the independent wrestling scene.

And while the card is still shaping up and there could even be more talent announcements to come, there is a lot we already know about the indy mega show, which was born out of a shared desire of Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) to truly produce something special for the fans. Together the three decided to self-finance, self-produce, self-book, self-promote, self-pretty much everything, a 10,000-seat show. As all three have said in various interviews, not even they could have expected the overwhelming fan support All In has been receiving since day one.

So, for those who just like Rhodes and the Bucks, are eagerly anticipating September’s history-making event, here is everything you need to know about All In, from its origins to its roster to its implications and everything in between.

“I’ll Take That Bet Dave”

All In may have been an idea that had been percolating in Cody Rhodes’ mind but on May 16, 2017, that idea seemed to come to life thanks to a simple tweet. In response to a fan asking if Ring of Honor could sell out an arena of 10,000+ fans, Dave Meltzer simply replied, “not any time soon.”

This drew the attention of Rhodes, who took it upon himself to prove Meltzer wrong.

A few months later, on November 28, 2017, the announcement came. While not a Ring of Honor sponsored show, Rhodes and the Young Bucks decided to pull their efforts together to put on the largest independent wrestling show the world had ever seen. They called it All In, which was fitting given the trio had made the decision to, as mentioned above, self-pretty much everything, the entire endeavor.

And not only did they sell 10,000+ tickets, thus proving Meltzer wrong, but they did so in under half an hour. Not to mention, they did it without a full talent roster as well as with just one match which wasn’t even a guaranteed given the conditions attached to it. As all three of All In’s creators have said, they never expected the sell out in the first day or first week, let alone the first hour.

I’m All In

As Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks presumably were getting things in order to produce a show of this magnitude, there wasn’t much chatter on the All In front until January 10, 2018, when the first details, including the September 1st date, were revealed in the form of a brand new Twitter account, @ALL_IN-2018. In a series of tweets, members of the Being the Elite cast, Cody Rhodes, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Marty Scurll, Adam Page and Kenny Omega were all announced to be taking part in the show. This likely didn’t come as a surprise to anyone as it made sense that the backbone of the show would be supported by members of Bullet Club. Also announced on the first day was Stephen Amell, who has worked closely with Rhodes in WWE, ROH and on Amell’s TV show, Arrow.

The rest of the talent announcements began to filter in during the weeks and months to come. Tessa Blanchard was the first non-Bullet Club associated wrestler to be added to the card. One of the top independent female wrestlers on the scene and known in part for her intergender wrestling, Blanchard has since signed a full-time deal with IMPACT Wrestling where she competes as a Knockout.

Following the announcement that the 11,000-seat Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois, would serve as the venue for All In, more talent announcements began to come in and they offered some pretty big names, real heavy hitters on the independent scene. First up on March 22, was the announcement that Penta El 0M and his brother Rey Fenix, were All In. A month later, on April 9, Deonna Purazzo, who is now All Out due to commitments with WWE, and Kazuchika Okada, in a rare U.S. appearance, were announced. A weeks later, the team of Janelope (Joey Janela and Penelope Ford) as well as Chelsea Green, joined the stacked list of talent.

The rest of the talent announcements came as follows:

April 25 – Britt Baker and Jay Lethal

May 9 – Matt Cross (Lucha Underground’s Son of Havoc)

May 13 – Rey Mysterio

May 28 – Nick Aldis and the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship

June 3 – Paul Turner, Rick Knox, Todd Sinclair, Earl Hebner and Jerry Lynn (the officials)

June 8 – MJF and Madison Rayne

June 15 – Kota Ibushi

July 5 – So Cal Uncensored: Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky

July 13 – Alicia Atout, Don Callis, Sean Mooney, Ian Riccaboni, Excalibur, Bobby Cruise, Justin Roberts (broadcast team, ring announcers and interviewers)

July 25 – Bandido

And most recently…

#BookFlip

In baseball, there is a saying which also supports a fundamental rule of the game: Three strikes and you’re out!

Flip Gordon has been trying since day one to get booked for All In, but he’s faced the hurdle of not being Rhodes’ favorite person, at least kayfabe-wise. As a result, Gordon has failed to get the three votes needed to make the card. And while the Bucks have supported his case since day one, Rhodes hasn’t been so supportive and has made Gordon jump through hoops just to get booked.

Gordon’s first chance came against Rhodes himself as the two faced off in ROH at Manhatten Mayhem in February where the stipulation was that if Gordon won, he’d be All In. He lost. Then, in June at WrestlePro for Cody’s Golden Tickets, Gordon had a second chance to earn his way onto the card as he teamed up with Brandi Rhodes against the makeshift duo of MJF and Madison Rayne. Again, he lost. Finally, Flip Gordon had the chance of a lifetime as he was chosen to challenge Nick Aldis for the NWA World Championship in July. If he won, not only would he be All In and ironically, facing Rhodes in the All In main event, but he’d also be world champion for the first time in his short career. Unfortunately for Gordon, all he won was a $25 Cracker Barrel gift card as the match was called due to referee stoppage.

They say if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again, and Gordon has done just that. But he’s yet to have his dream come true with an All In booking. However, as was revealed on a recent episode of Being the Elite, Brandi Rhodes, who accidentally cost Gordon his match at WrestlePro, isn’t done trying to find a way to get her best friend booked. With less than a month left, anything can happen but as of now, Rhodes, speaking seemingly as the booker and not the character who hates Gordon’s guts, has said the card is full and that it took him too late to become a believer in Gordon. So as it would seem, it’s All Out for Flip Gordon. However, he will be in Chicago hosting the official All In pre-game parking lot party…

The Card

When All In sold out 10,000 tickets in under 30 minutes on May 13, they did so with only one match that wasn’t even official as it was contingent on both Nick Aldis and Cody Rhodes being champions. Calling himself the “Dealer,” Aldis suggested he would only defend his championship if Rhodes won the Ring of Honor World Championship and put it on the line in a winner-take-all matchup. Rhodes didn’t fulfill his end of the bargain leaving the match in doubt. It was only as of the end of July where terms were renegotiated and Aldis vs Rhodes for the NWA championship was made official. This will be a first time meeting between the two and Rhodes’ first opportunity at the title his father Dusty Rhodes held on three separate occasions.

In the meantime, All In’s trio began to announce the rest of the card, starting with the first official match on July 5, pitting Marty Scurll against Kazuchika Okada. The Rainmaker against the Villain. And it’s for the first time ever in singles action. Okada and Scurll have met four times in their careers, with Scurll on the winning side in each meeting. Alongside members of Bullet Club, Scurll is perfect against Okada and CHAOS, something that probably no other wrestler can make a claim to. On September 1, he’ll face Okada one vs one for the first time. It may not have been the match fans anticipated seeing for Okada but its one that offers an incredible level of excitement and wow factor nonetheless.

This was followed up by the announcement that Adam Page would be taking on Joey Janela in another first-time-ever matchup.

And finally, the announcement that Rey Mysterio would be teaming up with Fenix and Bandido to take on the Young Bucks and Kota Ibushi, three-quarters of the Golden Elite, in what very well could be Mysterio’s last independent match before returning to WWE. As was reported in The Wrestling Observer Newsletter on Thursday, Mysterio is considered to be very close to making his return to WWE. The two sides have been in ongoing contract negotiations since January when Mysterio returned for the Royal Rumble and both sides seem intent on making the deal happen.

This will be another first as for the first time ever, Ibushi and the Bucks will team up. The three have wrestled against each other three prior times but never as a team. The same can be said for the trio of Mysterio, Fenix and Bandido. Fenix and Mysterio have teamed up on two prior occasions. As for facing the lucha libre legend, this will be the first time Ibushi and Mysterio share a ring and just the second time the Bucks and Mysterio do, as they met in a tag team match in 2015 where Mysterio partnered with Alberto el Patron.

As Rhodes pointed out in episode two of All Us, matches will be announced on a week by week basis, so there will be more to come. That being said, Rhodes has no plans to give away the full card either, which adds all the more excitement for when fans arrive at the Sears Centre or at their computers/streaming platforms (even though a specific streaming service has yet to be announced) on September 1st.

CM Punk’s All In…Adjacent

Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks might as well have broken the indynet when they revealed that CM Punk would be doing a signing at Pro Wrestling Tees on August 31st, in conjunction with All In weekend. Punk has not yet been booked for All In, nor will he if the Best in the World’s own comments mean anything, but just the proximity and this being Punk’s first wrestling-related public appearance since leaving the WWE in 2015 was enough to have people talking.

CM Punk may very well be All In. He could make his return to wrestling for one night only or this could be the beginning of the comeback that would set the independent scene absolutely ablaze. Or he could be telling the truth when he says he’s not booked and doesn’t plan to be. Either way, with tickets already sold out, there is no reason for Rhodes and the Bucks to reveal Punk being All In if that is what ends up happening. His appearance would be the world’s best-kept secret because the pop alone if Cult of Personality played through the Sears Centre, would rival any wrestling reaction in the history of the industry.

If Punk is All In, we’ll find out on September 1st, even if people will pepper him with questions the day before at his signing.

All Us

In July, Cody Rhodes introduced the world to All Us, the All In story as told by himself, Matt and Nick Jackson, and co-produced with David Lagana and Billy Corgan, the creative minds between the 10 Pounds of Gold web series. The show has had three episodes so far, each of which has touched on different aspects of All In. In the first episode, all three talked about their experience as being first-time bookers and producers and the challenges and opportunities it afforded them. Rhodes also mentioned his All In dream matches, all of which featured Burnard the Business Bear. The trio discussed their feelings of joy and overwhelming emotion at the 30-minute sell out as well.

Episode two offered a special look at MJF, who Rhodes considers to be one of the rising stars of the industry and someone who reminds him of himself at that age. In episode three, Rhodes previewed the Janela/Page as well as gave glowing praise to his Bullet Club teammate, while also discussing why Flip Gordon won’t be on the card and why he and the Bucks chose to wrestle at All In and not just produce it.

Downstait is All In

Starrcast

And finally, there is Starrcast, the three-day long wrestling extravaganza which features some of the best past and present wrestlers alongside podcasts, comedians, musical acts and so much more.

When All In was first announced, not even its three creators could have imagined how big of an event it was going to become. All In went from being a one-day thing to a four-day destination. And since Starrcast has taken on such a life of its own, its only fitting it gets an article of its own too. Look for that in the coming weeks.

Make sure to follow the All Us journey on Cody Rhodes’ youtube page, the All In stories on Being the Elite, and the All In Twitter updates @ALL_IN_2018, to stay up-to-date on all things, All In.

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