CHICAGO – The huge wrestling event, a kind of revolution to stand up against a 30-year monopoly in the business, was a success.
Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks put up All In as the result of a dare to draw a big house despite not being a WWE, or even a New Japan Pro Wrestling. What they ended up doing is nothing short of legendary – they put together an alliance of companies who have, until now, previously been going it on their own. Maybe they've formed some friendships and talent exchanges, but the Elite had turned it up to another level.
They decided that through them, everyone would be working together to provide an alternative 10,000 fans would want to watch.
All In wasn't perfect, but the spirit was there and in full force. If the whole point was to show the world that you don't have to be one single wrestling monolith to give fans something they'd want, they were successful. They also threw in a bit of drama in what was essentially an even-more-glorified-than-normal wrestling convention by having Rhodes win the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, the same one his father Dusty held. (Making the NWA title relevant in 2018, of all things, is already a huge achievement in itself.)
What I hope they'd do now with all this buzz and goodwill coming from All In is not to plan a sequel – although that's already inevitable at this point – but instead use it to funnel attention and viewership to all the companies that contributed to the event. NJPW and Ring of Honor are the biggest winners here, as a good chunk of the card were their guys, but there are also wrestlers from Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, and Mexico, as well as other smaller North American indie companies. If you enjoyed their work, you should go check them out.
And if you're still adamant on sticking with WWE despite everything else on offer, that's totally fine. The whole idea of All In, as the Elite reiterated before and after the show, is that no one company owns pro wrestling. Everyone does. The idea is that there's something for everyone, and nobody should feel compelled to stick to only one thing and put it up on a pedestal as the only thing symbolizing pro wrestling. If you’re a fan who wants WWE, you can have WWE. If you’re a fan who wants an alternative, the alternative exists.
If they push back against what's mainstream, it's only because the mainstream has been too busy draining the alternative of its talents. They're just creating an industry that's feasible for everyone – both fan and wrestler – no matter where they want to watch or wrestle.
All In is a turning point, and I'm definitely excited for where this takes the wrestling business.
The Mae Young Classic begins
This year's Mae Young Classic has already began this week, exclusively on the WWE Network.
One great thing about this year's edition is that the network isn't releasing it Netflix-style, which is a bunch of episodes per round for the purpose of binge-watching. We get a slow, steady march to the finals on the all-women PPV event WWE Evolution on October 26.
There are a lot of different women competing, many of them with pedigrees that'll get you to support them. But if there's one MYC competitor Filipino fans need to keep an eye on, it's Filipino-Jamaican-American wrestler Lacey Lane.
Unfortunately, homegrown Philippine Wrestling Revolution wrestler Crystal ultimately couldn't make it to the Mae Young Classic, but Lane's the next best thing. Trained by Hall of Famers the Dudley Boyz, Lane is already a WWE-contracted athlete who's got the chance to go pretty far. Her round-one Mae Young Classic match is admittedly the first match of hers I've seen, but I'm already a fan – and you should be, too.
Who are your favorites to win this year's Mae Young Classic?
Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to those questions – especially that last one – are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, featuring PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer and Wrestling God Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person and former voice of PWR Raf Camus! On this week's episode, Singaporean wrestler and Southeast Asian OG the Eurasian Dragon joins the boys ahead of his appearance at MWF 4: Road to Fate! Listen to it here or on Spotify! – Rappler.com