wrestling / Columns

All Wrong on All In

May 17, 2018 | Posted by Dino Zee
Elite ROH Cody Young Bucks All In Bullet Club All In All Elite Wrestling

Some of us were dubious. Incredulous. Some of us thought it was a really, really difficult goal to reach. Many believed, to be sure, but there were those of us who just didn’t think it was going to happen. I mean, really. 10,000 people? That’s a pretty big number to hit if you’re not a well-known company. But to be a pure independent show? To succeed on that level?

I know that the hip thing around here is to brag about all the things you got right, but I like to check myself when I get things wrong. I didn’t think #AllIn had a chance in hell at 10,000. If it got 6,500, I was more than willing to call it a success, but 10,000 just seemed impossible.

To be clear: I wasn’t hoping they’d fall short. I have no interest in anyone failing on a mission of love for professional wrestling, let alone someone that I’ve always dug as a performer in Cody. But yes, if I was asked what I thought the chances were of that goal being reached over these last few months, I may have laughed a little bit and hit that person with a “No, that’s not happening.” I can admit that.

Even now, in the wake of the news that not only did the show sell out, but it did so in about a half hour, I have a moment of disbelief in recognizing that as fact. A half hour? Pardon my french, but fuck me, that’s absolutely amazing.

I had my reasons, though. As mentioned above, there are plenty of wrestling companies in the United States right now – companies that are known, and have die-hard fanbases – that could only dream of cracking 10,000 people. Ring of Honor’s highest attended shows still fell short of 4,000 people, and I think we’ve all seen Impact struggle to draw a few thousand people as well. It’s not an easy undertaking, getting 10,000 people to the arena.

Hell, recently out here in California, tickets for a July New Japan show at the Cow Palace went on sale. There seemed to be a high level of anticipation for the show, and a huge buzz as the date for ticket sales to begin approached. At the end of the first couple days, something like 3,500 tickets had apparently sold. New Japan was said to be disappointed in the sales after their performance in Long Beach prior, but that just shows you how hard it was going to be for Cody and the Bucks to pull this off.

Some have blamed the Cow Palace sales on high ticket prices and lack of an announced card; these are fair points, but All In hasn’t exactly announced a full card of matches, either. That isn’t to say that they’ve announced nothing – there is most certainly a stellar line-up that’s been announced to this point, as well as a CM Punk signing that weekend – but the difference between how either show performed in ticket sales is telling. I figured New Japan in San Francisco was money. Maybe not 10,000 people “money,” but definitely more than 3,500. And to be sure, more tickets will be sold for that show, too.

Siderant aside, at the end of the day, one can only be really fucking proud of everyone involved with All In up to this point.

They’ve put in the work promoting it. Cody has been absolutely magnificent in this role. I’m not someone who lives on social media, but I run into so many people talking about the show on Twitter, and I hear so many of my wrestling fan friends talk about it… it’s just really neat seeing the level of anticipation for this event.

Since he left WWE, Cody has been on a mission. Some felt he wanted to prove himself as one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet. We all saw his list, and the incredible matches he had lined up. And, much like some of us did when he announced All In would do 10,000, some of laughed when we saw that list. Some of us laughed in disbelief when Cody said he was going to do all of these great things. And again, it wasn’t because we wanted Cody to fail. At least, that wasn’t why I was unconvinced. I just didn’t think he’d be able to make all of it happen.

And sure, he hasn’t made it all happen, but he’s done damn well on it. I got to see him wrestle Pentagon at a show out here in February of 2017. Like, CODY VS. PENTAGON, on an APW show that people outside of the Bay Area probably didn’t even know about.

He’s gone to New Japan and joined the Bullet Club, and given the group a different swagger. I’m not totally up to date on all the events in that club, but this “Elite / Bullet Club” story with him and Kenny Omega is something I’m trying to at least keep a peripheral eye on, because I enjoy both guys, and I their matches are fun.

He’s gone to Impact, feuded with Moose, and split. He went to Ring of Honor, won their World Title, and then lost it in a List Match against Dalton Castle.

All along, there have been those fans dogging him. They point out that he’s not some five star machine. That he’s overrated by fans who like him just for spurning the WWE machine. Yeah, Cody isn’t Daniel Bryan or Nakamura or whatever in there. He never has been.

What he has always been, however, is a more-than-solid in-ring performer who has character work down to a science. And while some may overrate what he does in the ring, many more underrate what he’s done on the mic. Whether he was Dusty’s rookie son ready to scrap, or Randy Orton’s disrespectful sidekick, or a “Dashing” man who felt he was better than all, or a broken man who wanted everyone to feel as ugly as he did, or a mustachioed man, or freaking Stardust… Cody Rhodes has nailed absolutely every single role he’s been put into.

That’s got to be something he learned from his Dad. Make anything work. It’s the polka-dots mentality, right?

Which is why, in retrospect, I see now why it was stupid to doubt Cody. When he said they’d do 10,000, we should have just believed. Because Cody always makes it work out. He’s wanted to extend the Rhodes legacy another generation, and he’s more than done it.

He’s brought massive attention on an independent scene that was already flourishing greatly. He’s brought eyeballs to smaller promotions just by association. And now he’s put together an incredibly huge independent event that has out-performed Ring of Honor, Impact, and even New Japan in the United States.

And again, there are those questioning the validity of the sell-out. 10,000 tickets sold doesn’t mean 10,000 individuals will actually be in attendance. Sure, that’s probably fair. But that’s how it always works, and we still honor the ticket sales numbers. The fact is, in a half hour, Cody’s show sold 10,000 tickets.

We shouldn’t be anything but proud of everyone involved. It’s a win for wrestling, the thing we love most. Was I dead wrong about how they’d perform? Yup. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

My most sincere congratulations to Cody, Nick and Matt, and to all the fans that will be attending. It’s going to be a fantastic show.