Oh does time fly! In just a few days, the largest independent show ever, not to mention a comprehensive wrestling experience that does indeed rival Wrestlemania Week, will finally be here. All In has been over a year in the making and it truly is the culmination of not just a dream, but the blood, sweat, and tears of three individuals with an eye on changing the wrestling industry as we know it. With All In and Starrcast, Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) have done just that. It has been a real labor of love and fans will get to experience that either in person, through an online stream, or best yet, a free pre-show on WGN America, All In: Zero Hour.
WGN America, a Chicago-based channel that is offered most places nationwide, will be the exclusive TV partner for All In’s pre-show, Zero Hour. You can find if you get WGN America as well as what channel it would be based on your cable provider, by using the channel finder on their website.
The show, which begins at 6 PM ET, is set to feature a match of So Cal Uncensored‘s Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky, taking on the Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe), as well as the Over Budget Battle Royal, where the winner gets a shot at Jay Lethal‘s Ring of Honor World Championship later in the night.
.@all_in_2018’s #ZeroHour is coming to @WGNAmerica! Watch the biggest independent wresting event ever produced right here on September 1st at 6p east/3p west. Find WGN America in your area https://t.co/lU5SDbgQFZ. pic.twitter.com/j3GGTnoCF9
— WGN America (@wgnamerica) August 23, 2018
SCU vs the Briscoes
Frankie Kazarian is no stranger to Jay and Mark Briscoe. As one-half of the Addiction (Kazarian and Christopher Daniels), Kazarian and the Briscoe Brothers have done battle in the past. Although, maybe not as much as you would think for a trio of guys that have been in the same division of Ring of Honor for quite some time. Alongside Daniels, Kazarian first faced the Briscoes in 2014 in a four corners survival match for the #1 contendership of the ROH tag team titles. He would face them again 10 other times, all but one of which was with Daniels as his partner and all but four of which were multi-team matches.
Alongside Scorpio Sky, the third member of SCU, Kazarian has only faced the Briscoes once, at ROH’s most recent television tapings that took place a few days ago. That saw the Briscoes team with Punishment Martinez against the full SCU trio. At Zero Hour, it will be the first time ever that Kazarian and Sky team up alone to face the Briscoes and just the second time they’ll team up just the two of them since SCU formed last year. As a team, SCU are former ROH World Six Man Tag Team Champions.
Current ROH tag team champions in their record-extending ninth reign [The Young Bucks and ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) are tied for second with three reigns apiece], the Briscoes have enjoyed incredible success through their ROH careers. The brothers have been involved with the promotion since its first year in 2002 with Jay having taken part in the inaugural event. In that span, and in addition to the nine ROH tag team titles and one six-man championship (alongside Bully Ray), the brothers have won championships in Combat Zone Wrestling, NWA Wildside, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Full Impact Pro and New Japan Pro Wrestling, where they are former tag team and NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team champions (alongside Toru Yano).
Over Budget Battle Royal
On episode five of All Us “Over the Budget,” Cody Rhodes explains that the name of this battle royal is not just meant to be comical. In reality, it’s accurate, as the money spent on the battle royal put All In’s founding trio over their budget. Hence the name.
But it was important to Rhodes and the Bucks that this battle royal, this showcase of some of the best past, present, and future talents on the indy scene, got their opportunity. So like anything else where there’s not enough money to go around, Rhodes came up with an idea for alternate revenue.
“When you look at the ring for the entire show – you look at the canvas, you look at the aprons, the buckles, all the soft goods that make up a professional wrestling ring – know that I sold each and every one of them to various collectors so that I could afford the Over Budget Battle Royal,” he said on All Us.
In all, 15 competitors will take part in the match, the winner of which will go on to face Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship during All In’s main card. The list of competitors is diverse, with each representing different backgrounds and companies. In all though, its a great collection of indy talent. Here’s a quick primer on the 11 names that have been announced so far.
Just 22, Jordynne Grace, the current Pro Wrestling Magic and Women Superstars Uncensored Spirit Champion, is already a name to watch in professional wrestling and has been for some time. A former Black Label Pro ICONS Champion and Lancaster Championship Wrestling Vixen Champion, Grace is the only female to be announced for the battle royal. Of course, that doesn’t make her out of place as Grace is known and well regarded for mixing it up with the boys in intergender matches. That includes when Ethan Page, another battle royal participant, challenged her for the BLP Heavyweight Championship unsuccessfully.
A professional wrestler for 11 years, “All Ego” Ethan Page is just 28 years old himself. In his career, he’s wrestled for top promotions both at home in Canada and North America, and abroad. A staple of EVOLVE and World Wrestling Network, Page has won 18 titles including most recently in Southside Wrestling Entertainment, where he held the world title for 246 days. Additionally, Page is a former tag team champion in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (with Josh Alexander), EVOLVE (with ACH), AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined (with Michael Elgin) and A1 (with Cody Rhodes).
A childhood friend and trainee of the Young Bucks, Brandon Cutler has returned to wrestling in 2018 after taking seven years off to start a family. In his early career, the native of California worked primarily for PWG and National Wrestling Alliance. He also won two tag team championships with his brother Dustin Cutler, the latter of which came in Insane Wrestling League when the Cutler Brothers defeated defending champions, Matt and Nick Jackson. Cutler has worked just a handful of matches this year but he did take part in the inaugural season of Dojo Pro alongside some of the top independent names in the industry. He’ll be in similar company on Saturday, as he competes to win a chance to wrestle for ROH’s most coveted prize.
Whether you call him a man or a machine, there is no denying that Brian Cage is a superfreak, and that’s meant in the best possible way. The 34-year-old has been wrestling for 13 years, where he is known from his time in PWG and NWA, as well as a two-year stint in WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. Now, Cage is known for much more as he is considered one of the best pure, athletic big men on the scene. Cage, who now primarily works for Lucha Underground and IMPACT Wrestling, has won 22 titles in his career including for IMPACT, where he is the current X-Division champion and WrestlecCircus, where he is currently both the Sideshow and Ringmaster champion.
Hailing from New York and trained by Monster Factory, Punishment Martinez enters the battle royal with a unique opportunity. As the current holder of the ROH World Television Championship, Martinez could walk away at the end of All In with both that title and the ROH world title, a feat that hasn’t been done since the current world champion, Jay Lethal, held both belts for a few months in 2015. Primarily an ROH wrestler, Martinez has also worked for NJPW through the partnership of the two promotions. He has won seven titles in his career, the most notable of which is the one he holds now.
The 34-year-old “Zombie Princess,” a trainee of El Tejano and Truth Martini, has been a writer, a producer, a manager and a wrestler in his career, and he’s been many of these roles at the same time. Currently, Jimmy Jacobs works for IMPACT Wrestling after having a falling out with WWE, where he worked as a writer for about a year. Back on the indy scene, Jacobs picked up right where he left off and continues to be an attraction for fans who have followed him since his career beginnings, back in 1999. In his 19 years as a professional wrestler, Jacobs has won 51 titles, including the Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling Midwest Heavyweight Championship, which he holds today. Jacobs has also won titles in ROH, where he is a five-time tag team champion alongside Tyler Black (2x; WWE’s Seth Rollins), BJ Whitmer (2x) and Steve Corino, as well as PWG, IWA Mid South, NWA, AAW, AIW and more.
A new name to the national scene, Marko Stunt made headlines following an impromptu match he had with KTB at Joey Janela’s Lost in New York, presented by Game Changer Wrestling. Having been wrestling for almost four years, the 22-year-old Stunt spent his early career wrestling for his home state of Mississippi as well as the Memphis and Nashville area. Stunt’s breakout came at the Scenic City Invitational as the 5’2 “Mr. Fun Size” began to turn heads. The chance to wrestle in the All In battle royal wasn’t long to follow. A chance at the ROH world championship is the biggest match in Stunt’s career, but it won’t be the last the way he is emerging onto the scene.
Representing Cuba, Rocky Romero is a legend of the independent wrestling scene, having been on it for 20 years. Trained by Antonio Inoki, Bill Anderson, Jesse Hernandez, Kevin Quinn, Negro Casas and Togi Makabe, Romero made his debut in 1997 and has been going strong ever since. “Azucar” has found success everywhere he’s gone be it in Mexico with Consejo Mundial De Lucha Libre, Japan with NJPW or the U.S. with ROH and NWA to name just a few. Romero is best known for his time in those companies, which is where he has won 16 of his 24 titles. With a few singles titles to his name, Romero’s best has come in tag team matches. Alongside several different partners including Davey Richards, Ricky Reyes, Alex Koslov and most recently, Beretta, Romero is an eight-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and three-time ROH tag team champion.
Trained in the ROH Dojo, Moose is a former football player turned professional wrestler. Having had success on the gridiron, Moose has taken to wrestling just as well as in just six years, the 34-year-old has already worked for some of the top companies in the world including IMPACT, ROH and NOAH. Known as “Mr. Impact Wrestling,” Moose is a former two-time champion in the promotion, two of his six titles overall. Despite working for ROH from 2014-16, Moose only had one prior #1 contender’s match for the world title, which he lost. He’s one of the top names on IMPACT, but this is a great opportunity for Moose in his still burgeoning career.
The 38-year-old Colt Cabana has been everywhere and done just about everything in his 19-year career. Breaking onto the scene in 1999 alongside fellow Chicagoan, CM Punk, Cabana primarily wrestled for IWA-MS until getting his first top billing with ROH in 2002. From there, Cabana has worked for all of the top companies including PWG, IMPACT, NWA, NJPW, and WWE, where he was a developmental wrestler for two years in Ohio Valley Wrestling. WWE didn’t work out but that hasn’t stopped Cabana from having a phenomenal career on the indies. Overall, Cabana has won 27 titles, including two reigns with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and two as the ROH tag team champion, alongside Punk.
Wrestling since 1989, “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn needs no introduction, at least as far as his WWE career goes. Gunn was with WWE from 1993-2004 and again from 2013-15 where he worked as a wrestler, trainer and road agent for the company. During his tenure with WWE, Gunn won 11 tag team championships, nine of which came with longtime partner Road Dogg as The New Age Outlaws. Gunn is also a former two-time Hardcore Champion and one-time Intercontinental Champion. Upon leaving WWE in 2004, Gunn began to work for IMPACT, where he stayed until 2009. Upon leaving WWE the second time in 2015, Gunn dipped his toe back into the independent scene where he has now wrestled for NJPW, House of Hardcore, SWE and more.