Last night’s show ‘All In’ was an absolutely incredible event that somehow surpassed the, already, massive expectations it had behind it.
There wasn’t a bad match on the card and it ran incredibly smoothly for a show that is being run by three guys with no prior experience. But- there were of course some who were more successful than others. So who reached the highest highs and truly proved they are All In within the wrestling world?
It was clear when the main event of ‘All In’ was announced that it was going to be a match that would cause the likes of Jim Cornette to have a minor heart attack. The flippiest of flippy boys were involved with The Golden Elite (Nick and Matt Jackson and Kota Ibushi) faced off against the team of Ray Fenix, Rey Mysterio and Bandido. Whilst the biggest individual moment of the match was undoubtedly when Ibushi and Mysterio had their sequence with the crowd absolutely losing their minds, perhaps surprisingly; the man who stole the show in that main event spot was the 23-year-old, least experienced member of the match- Bandido. When you’re out-flipping The Young Bucks- you know you’re doing something special. The individual spots that he himself executed were absolutely insane and added an extra something to the match. He without a doubt made people take notice and I cannot wait to see where his career goes.
- Chelsea Green
If you want to talk about a commitment to a character- look no further than the utterly fantastic Chelsea Green. She’s been this good for so long and it’s fantastic that she’s finally getting the stage that she deserves. Literally every woman on this show was fantastic and I’m a bit biased as Green is one of my favourite women’s wrestlers in the world but I honestly can’t think anyone can criticise her after her showing last night. The women’s fatal-four way was amazing in general with the quality involved but Green absolutely stole the show. The half-and-half versions of both her egos, the handshake with her internally struggling and just the general insanity she displayed shows such a commitment to character that is rarely seen within wrestling in this modern-day era. She has a Velveteen Dream-vibe to her with how much she cares about how she comes across to viewers. Her referenced to her boyfriend Zack Ryder was also a nice touch and, whilst she lost the match, her stock is without a doubt higher than ever before and I can’t wait to see what opportunities come her way over the next few years.
- Flip Gordon
One of the greatest slow burn stories in the professional wrestling world finally culminated in a fantastic crescendo last night. Flip Gordon has, without a doubt, been the biggest star to benefit from the All In show in terms of boosting his public appeal and image. Before All In was announced, Flip was a fantastic wrestler who was very new in the business and few ways of getting his name out. Last night, one of the biggest pops of the night was the reveal that Flip Gordon had indeed eliminated Bully Ray in the Over Budget Battle Royal to secure his spot on the main card. His transformation into one of the biggest faces on the indies clearly means so much to him and, whilst he often has faced criticism that he can’t tell any real stories in the ring- he completely shut the critics up last night after a brilliant performance against Jay Lethal. The ending has split some people as they, myself included, really wanted the story to end with Flip winning the ROH title but it’s understandable why Lethal kept the belt. But the story, at least to me, still ended fantastically as he got the oppourtunity he spent close to a year fighting for and opens the door for a future title shot down the line in a Ring of Honor ring.
- Marty Scurll
In what many people are calling the match of the night, Marty Scurll absolutely proved himself in the heavyweight division. The story was incredibly simple; Marty is trying to prove himself as a heavyweight in this new division so he decided to try and prove himself against the biggest fish in that pond. Okada was back to his old self- for those who didn’t want the G1 and were wondering why his hair was red; during the G1 he had something of a mental breakdown essentially! But for at least this show; he was back to the esteemed level he has been at for the past two years. But if in a match with Okada, everyone is talking about the opponent; you know they’ve done something special. Marty’s offence slowly starting to take its toll on Okada with him constantly scouting ahead and knowing what was coming next. The finish with Marty slapping Okada and asking for a third rainmaker perfectly encapsulated what the match meant; it didn’t really matter at the end of the night what the result was, all that mattered was Scurll showing how truly amazing he actually is. Many, much like Flip, often criticise Marty for being too much character work and less good in the actual in-ring department but he completely shut that critique down. He hung with Okada and never once looked out of place- giving us the best match, in my opinion, he’s ever had.
The finish of Cody vs Aldis was one of the best moments I’ve ever seen in my 16 years of watching wrestling. Cody left WWE and set out to prove his worth to the fans. He slowly started to do that when Bullet Club welcomed him into their ranks but still- there were doubters. He then announced that he and The Young Bucks were going to be putting on an independent show aiming to sell out the Sears Centre Arena. A lot of people laughed and said they couldn’t do it. Last night, Cody Rhodes won the title his father had a huge part in making famous in the middle of his own ring on his own show that was completely sold out with thousands watching around the world. No-one deserves this more. The pure emotion on his face even just walking to the ring was enough for anyone to want him to win. The pop both men received when the bell rang was incredible and nothing had even happened yet. Yes, the actual in-ring work was probably one of the weakest of the night but it did not matter- the story telling made it the best moment of the entire night. The entire match felt very old school- Cody working us all thinking he was hurt, the slower style and then the call-back to British Bulldog vs Bret Hart at Summerslam 92 made it even better. Seeing Cody actually win that championship made everything worth it and it was plastered all over Cody’s face. Both Aldis and Cody have made the NWA title one of the biggest championships in 2018. That is incredible. Cody- you did it. And you know damn well how proud your dad would be of you.