I’m not going to do a review of ALL IN. There’s not much I can add to the narratives already on the Internet, and at this point, it would be hard to express in a new and different way how ground-breaking, history-making, and above all FUN the show was. What I will tell you about is a moment that took place early in the evening before the main show began – a moment that had very little to do with wrestling and everything to do with how Saturday night changed wrestling.
My old friend Randy Pease – aka the man who lived with me for 9 months many years ago, allowing me full access to his wrestling book library and thus igniting my passion for the genre – bought tickets for the two of us directly across from the entrance stage at the Sears Center. We were thus directly in the path of a bank of spotlights that were inexplicably aimed directly into the faces of thousands of fans, obscuring our vision of the SCU vs. Briscoes match that kicked of the pre-show, Zero Hour. Midway through the match, the spotlights moved, angling upwards and out of our faces. The entire arena cheered, and Randy leaned in toward me to say, “They just did more listening to the fans than WWE has done in twenty years.”
I think Randy spoke for more than just the fans. Wrestlers have longed for an alternative to the machine that renames them, dresses them in yellow polka dots, and forces scripts into their hands. The Young Bucks and Cody have opened a new door. They forged a path for wrestlers to once again develop their own personas and most importantly have control over their own destiny. In doing so they’ve given the fans something they’ve been wanting for years: an alternative to the stale, cookie cutter entertainment that has dominated what was once a very diverse and truly unique form of sport.
Cody and the Bucks were listening to their hearts, to their colleagues, and to the fans. They responded, and the fans have responded in kind. Wrestling does not belong to one company. It never did. Here’s hoping this truly is the start of a new day – and not just another high spot on the Elite’s road to Wrestlemania.