Every wrestling mega show started as a dream by someone. The WWE has Wrestlemania, New Japan Pro Wrestling has Wrestle Kingdom and Ring of Honor has Supercard of Honor. In the past, NWA/WCW had Starrcade and ECW had Barely Legal 97 and ECW One Stand 05. It’s ironic we put dream and Cody Rhodes in the same sentence due to his father’s legacy and name, but Cody had a dream and vision that was a year in the making that came to life all in one weekend. Cody, The Young Bucks and the rest of the Bullet Club sold out the Sears Centre within thirty minutes but it didn’t end there. They gave wrestling fans their form of a Wrestlemania Axxess in the event known as Starrcast. The event had legendary personalities, current superstars and hosted some of the hottest Wrestling Podcasts around. All of the excitement, hard work and dedication led up to one of the biggest and best pro wrestling shows I’ve ever seen. Before I begin with my thoughts on this show here are the results of All In:
-Preshow(Zero Hour): SoCal Uncensored defeated The Briscoes
-Preshow(Zero Hour): Flip Gordon won the “Over the Budget” Battle Royal
-Matt Cross defeated MJF
-Christopher Daniels defeated Stephen Amell
-Tessa Blanchard defeated Britt Baker, Chelsea Green and Madison Rayne in a Four Corners Survival Match
-Cody Rhodes defeated Nick Aldis to become the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
-Adam Page defeated Joey Janela in a Chicago Street Fight.
-“Black Machismo” Jay Lethal defeated Flip Gordan to retain the ROH World Championship
-Kenny Omega defeated Penta El Zero
-Kazuchika Okada defeated Marty Scurll
-Kota Ibushi and The Young Bucks defeated Rey Mysterio, Fenix, and Bandido
The opening of Zero Hour started with The Briscoes and SoCal Uncensored. Tonight it wasn’t the usual teaming of Daniels and Kazarian because Daniels took on Stephen Amell which we will get to in a bit. Kazarian teamed with third member Scorpio Sky against the Briscoes. The Briscoes are one of the most legendary teams not to be in WWE and their work never stops amazing me whether they are face or heel. The fact that crowd was on fire for the first match was good indication on how the night was going to go. I also have to say that I love the fact that Sky and Kazarian wore Rocky themed attire after they ran the steps and ranting how bad Philadelphia is. Up next was “The Over The Budget” Battle Royal featuring competitors from Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling and other Independent promotions. It was also great to see some names from the past like Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray and The Hurricane. At the end of the Battle Royal it came down to Colt Cabana, Bully Ray and an unknown luchador who we have never seen before. That unknown luchador eliminated Bully Ray and revealed himself to be Flip Gordon. Flip Gordon went on to face Jay Lethal later in the night, but we will get to that later. Before I get to the main card I have to say the set up of the arena was awesome and that the custom belts that Cody and the Young Bucks were wearing were pretty sweet. No one will ever be able to take those belts from them as it’s an achievement that is once in a life time.
The opening match of the night was a match that wasn’t even announced in the buildup to the show. MJF who is 23 years old took on a veteran of 20 years in Matt Cross(also known as Son of Havok on Lucha Underground). I loved the old school heel tactics by MJF throughout the match, but I was happy to see Cross get the win. Matt Cross has never gotten the credit he’s deserved in my opinion, but tonight with the whole wrestling world watching he showed why he deserves to be in the national spotlight. After almost twenty years in the business Matt Cross still shows why that he is still one of the best. When it comes to being the best there is no one who tries to prove that harder then Christopher Daniels. He took on Stephen Amell in a match that was refereed by Jerry Lynn. Stephen Amell of Arrow fame has proven that he can hold his own against wrestling’s best and tonight was no different. Even though Amell lost the match it was so great to see him get a singles match against an experienced veteran. I really hope to see Amell continue his pro wrestling career because I think he will only get better with more matches under his belt.
The last few years women have started to have a big roles in pro wrestling and All In showcased four of the best. Britt Baker, Chelsea Green, Madison Rayne and Tessa Blanchard are four of the absolute best right now. I love the fact that Rayne has been involved with Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor and WWE all within the last month. I also loved that Blanchard had Tully and Magnum T.A. with her as she came down to the ring. It’s ironic that all four of these women are in or have been in relationships with people in WWE or Impact Wrestling. Baker is with Adam Cole, Green is with Zack Ryder, Rayne is married to Josh Matthews, and Blanchard was with Ricochet. I am sure these men have helped in their training and have had some influence on them. This was a great women’s match that showcased the women of ROH and Impact Wrestling, and also shows that WWE’S Women’s Evolution isn’t the only special thing go on in women’s wrestling these days. Something I found intriguing is that Tenille Dashwood(Emma in WWE) was on commentary during this match considering she was with Ryder before Green was. Mandy Leon was also on commentary, which is great because she was on the forefront of the Women of Honor division before it started getting attention. She has worked hard in many different roles for ROH so she definitely deserved to be on this show. Tessa Blanchard just recently won Impact Knockouts Championship and she continued her momentum night by winning the Four Corners Survivor Match.
It’s been nearly 30 years since an NWA Championship match has so much hype and build up but here we are with Cody Rhodes and Nick Aldis in one of the biggest matches in pro wrestling history. Rhodes was accompanied by Diamond Dallas Page, Tommy Dreamer and Glacier, while Aldis was accompanied by Jeff Jarrett, Sean Daivari and Tim Storm. This match had classic face, classic heel and Earl Hebner. This match had such a great old school feel to it and honestly it was quite refreshing. Cody took a beating in this match much like his father and Ric Flair use to back in their day. The story that was told in this match was incredible and it culminated with Cody becoming the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion like father before him. In the two years that Cody has been away from WWE he has done so much with his career that many who leave WWE couldn’t accomplish. This was a career night for Cody in so many ways that it’s literally indescribable. Another person who was having a career night was “Bad Boy” Joey Janela as he has been on the rise with his personality and his ring work. Tonight he had his toughest match yet against Adam Page in a Chicago Street Fight. There was a lot of creativity in this match which always makes for a good hardcore match. I also loved that Penelope Ford inserted herself into the match to help Janela. She definitely is a good insurance policy for Janela, but tonight it was not enough as Page destroyed Janela. After the match, Joey Ryan returned after being “murdered” by Page awhile back.
Speaking of returning it was so great to the return of Jay Lethal’s Black Machismo character. This time he was accompanied by Randy Savage’s brother “The Genius” Lanny Poffo. I was a huge fan of the Black Machismo character when it was going strong in TNA so I was very happy to see it back. His opponent Flip Gordon won the Battle Royal on the Zero Hour which was a good ending to an awesome story. Gordon has been having instant classics with everyone he’s been in the ring with as of late. This match started out as a lot of fun with the Macho Man characteristics but it ended up being a hell of a match when Lethal got serious. At one point we got a Savage-Hogan spot from Wrestlemania 5 which just added to the craziness of the match. Once the match was over Bully Ray came out and attacked everyone in sight until Colt Cabana came out and made the save. It’s great to see Colt getting the love from his hometown of Chicago considering everything he’s gone through as of late. I think this was another match that will have people continuing to talk about Flip Gordon for many years to come. He’s been put on the map, he was on people’s radar but now he has made it to one of the highest levels you can get to. In the last few weeks he has competed for the NWA Championship and ROH Championship which is a feat that not many can make a claim to having.
Tonight had many twists, turns, and thing that surprised us all. We also had a lot of firsts like the first time ever for Kenny Omega taking on Penta El Zero. This was Japanese Strong Style versus Lucha Strong Style in a dream match that some thought we would never get to see. This was one of the most physical matches I’ve seen in a very long time and if we never see these two in the ring again they definitely lived up to the hype with great storytelling and psychology. Once the match was over the lights went out and Chris Jericho attacked Omega in Penta’s gear. That was a huge shock considering Jericho has stated on multiple occasions he would not work in the U.S. for other promotions out of respect for WWE. I guess the argument there was he didn’t have a match so an appearance made it worth wild. Another first time match was Marty Scurll taking on Kazuchika Okada. The fun story about this was Scurll moving up to the Heavyweight Division and everyone doubting and picking on him. Even though Scurll lost the match he proved that he can wrestle at any weight class and hang with anyone he wants to. Marty Scurll is one of the most entertaining performers on the planet and he hung in there with the best wrestler in the world. This brought Marty Scurll to a whole different level.
The Main Event was about the pride of Ring of Honor, New Japan, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground and a legend who has traveled the world. Rey Mysterio, Fenix and Bandido took Kota Ibushi and The Young Bucks. I thought it was cool that a 6-man tag with no belts on the line was the main event of this show. There was so much fast pace and high flying action it was hard to keep up with. The styles and personalities in this match made this a once in a lifetime match that we will likely never see again. The Golden Elite ended the show on top which was fitting considering all the hard work Matt and Nick Jackson put into this show with Cody. This show was incredible in every aspect. It was entertaining, exciting, and the matches were executed very well. This show is going to stand the test of time and it makes me believe that this will be the first of many. Tonight the pro wrestling world went All In and set the bar. I am giving All In a 9.5 out of 10. The only thing I did not like is that Kenny Omega and Tessa Blanchard did not come out with their respective titles. If this was about all the promotions coming together than the champions should have had their respective belts represented. Other than that one small detail I would put this up with any Wrestlemania, Wrestle Kingdom and Supercard of Honor. All In was the night pro wrestling needed and the night wrestling fans deserved. This raised the expectations and standard for the wrestling business so from this point forward the wrestling world better be all in.
Editors Note: For more in-depth coverage on All In and the festivities at Starrcast be sure to check out The Court of Nerds Wrestling Section- http://www.thecourtofnerds.com/wrestling/ You can also find them on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/thecourtofnerds and Twitter- https://twitter.com/Court_of_Nerds