Since Vince McMahon purchased WCW in March of 2001 (and maybe about two years before then), the WWE Universe has pretty much been the only real game in town when it comes to mainstream American wrestling. Yes, there have been dozens if not hundreds of small independent promotions attempting to stake their claim in the sports entertainment landscape, yet very few have been able to come anywhere near the McMahon family empire’s fortunes — until now.
After a seemingly random tweet from a high ranking figure in the wrestling press, Ring of Honor superstars Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson, have banded together to create the “biggest independent wrestling event ever.” Appropriately called All In, the event is scheduled for September 1, 2018 at the Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois. Unfortunately, getting tickets will almost be impossible, because the show sold out in mere minutes, showing how intensely interested many wrestling fans are in the idea.
Of course, this could just be a reaction to the fact people have been wanting an alternative to the WWE Universe for a long time now. Intrigued as audiences are, many fans may not know the full story behind Cody Rhodes and the other wrestlers putting this major event together. Since they’ll also all be starring on the show, this is going to have to change for people to fully enjoy what they create. To get a head start on understanding the latest batch of wrestlers to take on WWE, keep reading to learn 15 facts all wrestling fans need to know about the superstars behind All In.
15 It Started With A “Bet” From A Journalist
Social media is truly changing the world. Not only has it dramatically altered how humans connect with one another, but these new forms of communication can also be given the blame for All In coming to existence. It all began when a WWE fan Tweeted a question to Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, asking if Ring of Honor could ever sell out a 10,000+ seat arena in the near future. Curtly but honestly, Meltzer answered, “Not any time soon.”
Eleven short minutes later, Cody Rhodes saw the tweets and replied, “I’ll take that bet, Dave.”
Pointing out he was in the main event of ROH’s biggest show up to that point, Rhodes further stated his belief that the combination of himself and The Young Bucks was all they needed to change Meltzer’s mind. Of course, it’s not like Meltzer didn’t want a show like this to succeed; he just didn’t think it was possible, and in that sense, he’s already been proven wrong. If anything, Meltzer is probably one of the people most interested in the results, as a noted fan of both The Young Bucks and several other wrestlers already announced for the card. In turn, the Bucks named one of their finishing moves the Meltzer Driver, showing how important wrestling journalism has been to their careers thus far.
14 Music And TV Stars Will Be In Attendance
Showing just how big All In has already become, not only are many major wrestlers announced for the show, but a couple mainstream celebrities outside of the industry have also expressed interest. One of the first major names to sign on was Stephen Amell, star of TV’s Arrow and a noted friend of Cody Rhodes. It was only three years ago at SummerSlam 2015 that Amell teamed with Neville to defeat Rhodes and King Barrett, and it looks like he’s ready to get back in the ring. Well, technically, this would be his third dance, having already competed his second match for Ring of Honor as Cody and The Young Bucks partner. Point is, match number three could well be right around the corner. The music world is also interested, by way of Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan, who spoke at the press conference announcing the event to explain his involvement.
Of course, his music career isn’t really relevant to the decision, as Corgan also recently became the owner of the National Wrestling Alliance and by extension all of its championships.
This means plenty of NWA regulars could be on board for the show, and World Champion Nick Aldis is already a definite. Corgan or Amell could well bring other famous faces along with them, though at this point, that’s entirely speculation.
13 It’s The Biggest Indy Show In History
Still several months away and without much mentioned in terms of what the show will actually contain, it might be fair to suggest discussion of All In is still largely based on hype. Sometimes, though, it’s entirely reasonable to be excited about a concept in and of itself. Regardless of what actually happens during the show, All In has already made history by living up to it’s tag line as “the biggest independent wrestling show ever.” In less than a half hour, all 10,000 tickets were sold, making All In the first non-WWE wrestling event in America to reach that pinnacle since 1999 — including WCW.
This accomplishment is especially impressive for the fact no matches were officially announced at the time tickets sold out, meaning 10,000 fans rushed to purchase seats solely on the idea there was finally a major alternative to WWE. Of course, that’s not to say Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks being attached didn’t influence the numbers in some way, as their energy and marketing strategies is making it all seem possible. Now, it’s up to them to make sure the spotlight is utilized properly, as this is their one shot at entertaining their record audience.
12 Vince Russo Is Banned From Attendance
From the moment All In was announced, just about every notable indy wrestler in the world wanted to get involved. For the most part, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks have appeared very accepting about any offer, but at least one name in particular has specifically been told he’s not welcome. Despite repeatedly expressing his interest on Twitter, it’s now clear that former WWE and WCW writer Vince Russo will not be involved with the event in any capacity. While many fans might assume it was Russo’s controversial WCW tenure that lead to this decision, his time in the ring actually had nothing to do with it.
The real reason was clear from the minute Russo first tweeted about getting involved, and Rhodes responded, “We don’t reward bad behavior. Stay away from our event.”
During a later interview after the All In press conference, Cody further explained that Russo has sparked serious controversy through comments on his podcast that many fans deemed seriously offensive. Feeling “the wrestling world is being open to everybody,” Rhodes decided Russo’s views were contrary to the nature of his event. It also looked like Russo only wanted to attend so he could cut a promo on the fans, which doesn’t quite jive with the idea of putting on a show that makes everybody happy, either.
11 Paul Heyman Approves
By and large, the WWE Universe has not responded to All In whatsoever. However, there are already people within the company expressing their interest. For one, it’s clear that Brock Lesnar’s controversial advocate and former Vince McMahon rival as the owner of ECW, Paul Heyman, is extremely supportive of what Cody Rhodes is doing. Though he probably won’t ever get to say it on WWE television, Heyman made his feelings known on Twitter shortly after the event sold out, offering several tweets of praise and congratulations to Rhodes and the Young Bucks personally.
According to Heyman, “It goes without saying that Dusty would be so very, very proud and I hope everyone involved is proud of themselves, because this particular accomplishment cannot and should not be understated.”
In many respects, Rhodes and the Bucks are succeeding where Heyman once failed, as his hardcore company was never able to break the 10,000 ticket barrier even at it’s peak, while they’ve achieved it in their very first show. It’s no wonder Heyman is so impressed by what they’ve done, knowing how difficult it is to even come close. Unfortunately, due to his status in WWE, there’s really no chance Heyman will attend, but with his gift of gab, fans will probably be entertained simply by his response to the show on Twitter.
10 Dusty’s Childhood Advice To Cody
Depending on how one chooses to look at things, it could be argued the most important person in the creation of All In actually passed away three years ago. In June of 2015, the wrestling world lost a legend in “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. For Cody, the loss was extremely personal, as he was also losing his father, mentor, and biggest supporter. Explaining his father’s influence during an interview with The Ringer, Cody claimed the moment he announced he wanted to be a wrestler, Dusty imparted advice that still inspires his every move to this day.
Considering the idea of another son following in his footsteps, Dusty told Cody, “If you’re going to do it, then be the best.” Not only did this straightforward wisdom inspire Cody to strive for greatness each time he stepped into the wrestling ring, but later conversations also directly led to his decision to leave WWE.
Always wanting his son to be happy, Dusty noticed Cody wasn’t content with the Stardust role, again very plainly telling him, “You can take the money or you can do something else. Only you can decide what you want to do.” Taking these words seriously, Cody decided he wanted to write his own destiny, hence his leadership role in regards to All In.
9 Cody Had Serious Problems With WWE Writers
Ultimately, the goal of All In is to put on a great wrestling show for fans of all styles to enjoy. However, for Cody Rhodes personally, there’s a deeper layer to the event where he’s also attempting to vindicate himself after years of complaining about his former employer. Because of his father’s advice, Cody was never content being just some guy who played the role a random writer decided he should be playing. At times, it looked like WWE was respecting this, giving him an early push and several chances to stand out, but eventually, his upward mobility came crashing to a halt, and without any clear reason.
Instead of continuing to push Cody to the top, WWE decided he should mimic his brother with the goofy and interstellar Stardust persona. Initially, Cody tried giving it his all, but before long, he was extremely dissatisfied creatively and did whatever he could to make a change.
Unfortunately, whenever he complained to WWE writers about his character, they would completely ignore him. In one instance, Cody claims they even pretended typing down what he was saying just to humor him, without actually listening to a word he said. Gradually, this process made Cody exhibit signs of depression, and played a huge role in his decision to leave the company.
8 New Japan’s Biggest Wrestlers Are On Board
Part of what has already made All In such a massive success is that despite very little being announce in way of matches, wrestlers from all over the world are jumping on board. In addition to the Ring of Honor superstars promoting the event and Billy Corgan’s NWA champions, multiple athletes from New Japan Pro Wrestling will also be flying to American and joining in on the action. Most notably, the extremely popular and successful IWGP World Champion Kazuchika Okada has announced his involvement, as has Okada’s top rival of late, Kenny Omega.
It’s also worth noting that Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks make up three of the most important members of NJPW’s iconic Bullet Club, suggesting any other wrestler in the group could potentially make an appearance.
In fact, Marty Scurll and Hangman Page are just two members who have already confirmed they’ll be there. Omega’s current tag team partner in Golden Lovers, Kota Ibushi, likewise feels like a very strong maybe, as he almost always gets involved when Omega and the rest of Bullet Club are back in close quarters. Nonetheless, Okada remains the most important name attached, since his appearance could mean the Ring of Honor, NWA, and IWGP World Champions will all be in the same building, perhaps for the first time.
7 Multiple Ex-WWE Superstars Have Expressed Interest
Okay, so just about everyone in independent wrestling will be at All In. With so many names already attached, who else could Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks need to entice fans? How about a few former WWE superstars who much like Cody decided they had better things to do than work for Vince McMahon. During the All In press conference, Rhodes announced at least one such competitor would definitely be there in former World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio. The cruiserweight sensation’s latest match in WWE was the 2018 Royal Rumble, and there had been talk about him making a full-time return to the company, but now it looks like he’s happier sticking with his friends on the indies.
In addition to Mysterio, several other ex-WWE superstars have suggested they have interest.
For three full days before All In, the same area will also be hosting a fan convention called Starrcast, and some names already announced include X-Pac, Eric Bischoff, Jerry Lawler, “Diamond” Dallas Page, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash. Technically, none of these superstars are confirmed to appear at All In proper, but they’ll clearly be in the neighborhood and are aware of the event, so anything is possible. The wide selection of names already announced also lends to the suggestion there could be huge surprises fans would never expect.
6 It’s Unclear If The Revolution Will Be Televised
Considering how quickly tickets to All In sold out, it should go without saying that wrestling fans are seriously interested in watching the event. Unfortunately, it currently looks like only about 10,000 people will get the honor of seeing it. Despite all the attention All In has received, according to Cody Rhodes, there are still no real plans to air or stream the show in any capacity. Promotion for the live show has been extremely strong, but the idea of broadcasting it barely passed their minds until they realized how big it had already become. In Cody’s mind, the show would gradually grow and broadcasting might along later, but he had no idea interest was already strong enough they might want to air this. Because of Rhodes’s inexperience in promotion, this really isn’t a surprise. He himself admitted as much at the All In press conference, explaining,
In other words, if a TV promoter or online broadcaster came along with the money and capability to air the show, they would talk. But until that happens, Cody doesn’t quite know how to get the show broadcast, so it might not be.
5 Only One Match Has Been Announced
Given the incredible amount of hype All In has received, fans just hearing about it might expect Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks put together one heck of a card to garner all this interest. Much to the contrary, they’ve barely announced anything at all. In fact, when tickets sold out, all fans knew for sure was a handful of names that would be at the event. In a recent interview with ESPN, the Bucks admitted they still don’t know who they’ll be wrestling at the show, and even Cody wasn’t entirely sure until after the tickets went on sale.
Once it was clear the show was a success, the only thing left was to book a main event that deserved the attention, and All In just may have one. The first and, thus far, only match announced for the show will pit NWA World Champion Nick Aldis against the event’s promoter, Cody Rhodes.
Should Rhodes win the ROH World Championship before the event, which many predict he’ll do, both titles will be on the line. Aside from this one encounter, all that’s certain is that Rhodes and the Bucks are putting a whole lot of thought into what else should take place. Apparently, they’ve already dramatically altered their plans a few times, so fans may not know exactly what to expect until the show begins.
4 The Young Bucks Have Repeatedly Turned Down WWE
All In is more than simply “the biggest independent wrestling show ever”— it’s also the strongest shot fired against the status quo of WWE in a solid decade. This makes Cody Rhodes the perfect poster child for the event, and his cohorts in The Young Bucks might fit the role even better. While Cody worked for WWE many years before leaving the company, Matt and Nick Jackson have intentionally avoided Vince McMahon’s sphere of influence altogether. The duo has been offered WWE tryouts and other deals on more than one occasion, only to politely turn them down and suggest they’d be happier elsewhere.
In this day and age, WWE likes promoting the mindset that wrestlers have virtually no other option when looking for work, which they often use to convince superstars into performing questionable angles.
The Bucks were living proof this isn’t true, and as if they hadn’t proved it already, All In should be the nail in that particular coffin. Not only can talented enough wrestlers survive without WWE, they can create the biggest wrestling event outside of their umbrella in decades. Whether this will make Vince mad or simply lead to him offering them even better contracts down the line remains to be seen. Chances are, though, if it’s the latter, they’ll just turn them down again.
3 Nick Aldis Is Married To A WWE Superstar
For the most part, there’s little reason to single out the marital status of any performer involved with All In. That said, Nick Aldis’s other half is noteworthy for the fact she’s currently employed by the WWE Universe. Aldis met Mickie James when both were working for Impact Wrestling, getting married in 2015 and sticking together after both left that company for outside prospects. Due to Mickie’s contractual status, it’s virtually impossible to imagine her making an actual appearance at All In, but her marital status suggests she’ll nonetheless be watching the event and paying close attention to the main event.
It may seem like a minor detail, but how Mickie James gets to experience All In may actually speak volumes about WWE’s feelings on the event.
If she shows up backstage without any problems, it may not even be on Vince McMahon’s radar. On the contrary, should reports come out that McMahon doesn’t want Mickie or the rest of his talent anywhere near Chicago that week, it’s a sign he’s panicking. Granted, this may not be an issue at all, since Mickie is generally far too busy to travel around the world to her husband’s matches. This might be the most important one he ever wrestles, though, so she pretty much has to react to it.
2 Cody Rhodes Could Make History
Believe it or not, there are still certain accolades in wrestling that have never been met. For one, no father-son duo has ever managed to both become the World Heavyweight Champion of a given wrestling promotion. While All In is not an NWA event, the NWA World title is on the line in the main event, meaning Cody Rhodes could become the first man ever to accomplish this feat. In doing so, he would be following in his iconic father Dusty’s footsteps, with the American Dream standing as a former three-time champion.
Granted, the NWA brand doesn’t mean as much as it once did, but the title belt itself still carries prestige when defended at various independents, and the Rhodes family connection could be the thing that finally shoots it back to prominence.
Prior to All In, Cody also has a chance at reclaiming the ROH World Championship, and given the promotion for his own event, many assume he’ll be pulling it off. Adding fuel to that discussion, Nick Aldis has suggested that since his title will be on the line, Cody should put his potential gold up for grabs, as well. This could lead to a history being matter no matter who wins, as no one has ever held both the NWA and ROH World Championships simultaneously, either.
1 Will CM Punk Be There Or Won’t He?
With all due respect to Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and all other names announced for All In thus far, the real attention is on another name who may or may not be attending the Starrcast fan convention prior to the big show. Four and a half years removed from walking out on WWE, CM Punk may well still be the biggest star in the wrestling planet, and could thus be All In’s secret weapon against Vince McMahon should he actually decide to get involved in the action. For now, however, the situation is intentionally unclear about exactly what Punk will be doing in Chicago that weekend.
First of all, Punk is distracted with his upcoming second MMA fight at UFC 225, meaning he doesn’t have much time to think about wrestling just yet. For Rhodes and the Bucks, a more important issue is that they wanted to see if they could sell 10,000 tickets on their own, and they knew if they said Punk would definitely be there, it might mean he was responsible for the sell out instead of them. However, at the same time, Cody has been very clear about the fact Punk is more than welcome to do whatever he wants at the show, so there’s definitely a chance he could make some sort of impact.