Ever since a fan asked Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer if he thought Ring of Honor could sell out a 10,000 seat arena late last year, a feat not achieved outside of WWE since the days of WCW. Dave Meltzer said it was very unlikely, the message being seen by former WWE and now NJPW and ROH Star Cody who, not one to shy from a challenge, replied: “I’ll take that bet, Dave.” Fans and the wrestling world as a whole have been on a rollercoaster of sorts, this is something never done before, something rejuvenating.
‘All In’ was announced, originally going to be in conjunction with Ring of Honor, is now being financed by Cody and the Young Bucks, and it’s going to be a game changer.
Over the following months, we were treated to an extensive list of names, with more to be announced along the way. The date was announced as September 1st, the location, the Sears Centre, Chicago.
Accompanying the event is the aptly named ‘Starrcast’ event, taking place in the days before All In. This event will showcase many wrestling legends from inside and outside of the wrestling ring, having a ‘Podcast Row’, where many up and coming podcasters from around the world will be in attendance alongside more established veterans of the podcast game.
I think this event alone will be an important milestone for many who will get to learn some valuable things and make connections with other podcasters allowing even more expansion in that field.
The Starrcast event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg. There will be live podcasts, meet and greets, merchandise and autographs, along with events involving One Hour Tees and ProWrestling Tees, a shop that contains wrestling merchandise and party busses including a trip to the shop and then to the All In event on Saturday with some free t-shirts involved.
There are even ‘Bury the Drug Free Bear’ teddies being sold as the first official merch for All In and a wine sponsoring the event, Nocking Point, which will be served at venues in the area. It is worth noting that most hotels were close to being sold out when I last checked and may very well be fully sold out by now.
Another event featured will be Marty Scurll performing karaoke and a Jam Session hosted by ‘Papa Buck’ Matthew Lee Massie, that will feature Matt Koon and Dylan Spears. Or you could check out the meet and greet featuring Bury the Drug-Free Bear, Bernard the Business Bear, Fat Ass Masa, and Pharoah, Cody’s canine friend.
All proceeds from that event will be donated to the PAWS animal shelter in Chicago, who operate a ‘No Kill’ policy with their animals. So far even before the event $2,000 has already been the raised and donated in conjunction with parties involved in this event and fans.
There will be a weigh-in and second press conference scheduled for the 31st August. It’s going to be a busy weekend in Chicago.
Here I am going to list the names announced so far for All In and Starrcast, then share my thoughts on why this could be the most important independent event ever.
So far, the names revealed to compete at All In are:
The Young Bucks
‘Hangman’ Adam Page
Pentagon El Zero M
NWA Champion Nick Aldis
Former ECW legend Jerry Lynn will be refereeing at the event alongside Earl Hebner and more.
At the Starrcast events you can see:
Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
Road Warrior Animal
The Young Bucks
Joey Janella and Penelope Ford
Diamond Dallas Page
Matthew Lee Massie
Maffew from Botchamania
‘Hurricane’ Shane Helms
Leva Bates Video Game Tournament
Superkicking it with Kelsi
The Ghost of Joey Ryan
View From the Too Rope Podcast
Steve and Larson
Plus many, many more, I expect more to be added as well, along with photo booths and video game stations accompanied by charging stations and other things dotted around the venues.
One person who still isn’t All In, but gets another chance on the 8th of this month though, is Flip Gordon. He will team with Brandi Rhodes to take on MJF and Madison Rayne, with the winners taking the spots.
Cody has taken to various social media outlets including Jim Ross’s, Edge and Christian’s and Bully Ray’s podcasts to reveal further details and go more into depth with the things that made the whole event possible, also appearing on the ‘Ten Pounds of Gold’ series focused around the NWA Championship.
There has only been one match so far announced, when on the day of the press conference, May 13th, the same day tickets went on sale, Cody challenged Nick Aldis to an NWA Championship match at the event. Aldis has since responded and laid out a challenge of his own, being that Cody has to win the Ring of Honor Championship before All In, the match becoming a winner takes all. Cody could become the first multi-generational NWA Champion, as his father Dusty Rhodes has held the title before.
One person who has a problem with this is Marty Scurll, who has been promised the title match against current champ Dalton Castle at the ‘Best In The World’ event. Marty protested and the match has become a triple threat with Marty telling Cody he will show him just how good he is. I for one can’t wait for this showdown.
Kenny Omega also looks to walk in with gold, after he faces Kazuchika Okada this week for the IWGP Championship, hopefully finding more success than in his previous attempts.
Despite only one match being announced so far the tickets sold out in a mere 29 minutes 36 seconds! This may be due to C.M. Punk being associated with one of the side events the day before and his friendship to people involved, or the fact that Daniel Bryan’s contract runs out on the day of All In, which is, in fact, inconsequential as he would have a 90-day no-compete clause.
I believe it sold out so fast because of how much people want to be a part of history, the first show of its kind, the possible return of CM Punk, the fact that it is quickly becoming the Indy’s version of ‘Mania weekend. Not to mention the possibilities of it being done again, and again, on larger scales, just the sheer impact overall on everyone involved. Oh, and there’s the fact that a lot of people will want to stick it to WWE, the very company that Cody parted ways with to begin this journey.
There is no way they aren’t aware of this, not only has Vince been mentioned at the press conference, many of the people attending Starrcast are current WWE Hall of Famers and it is a huge sell-out record-breaking show. They have to be sat up paying attention now.
I think this will mark the biggest thing in the history of the independents and it will become more apparent over time, especially if a bigger one is done next year, All I can say is, Wrestlaholic is All In, are you?