Well hello everybody and welcome to the Afterglow for All In. This is undoubtedly the most ambitious project that has been done by someone that isn’t the WWE in a very long time. Now normally I would provide a rating to each match, but I just cannot find it in myself to do so for All In. With that being said, I am S.A.M. and let us dive All In to this review shall we.
SoCal Uncensored (Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes
Out of the four men in this match, Kazarian is the one I am most familiar with due to his work in TNA/Impact. I know of the Briscoes and have seen some of their stuff, so I am expecting something good. Scorpio Sky is the one who I am least familiar with, so it will be a pleasure to see what he brings to the table. The Briscoes have been one of the best tag teams outside of WWE for years now and it is a shame they couldn’t make it into the WWE when they had a tryout because they didn’t “fit the WWE style”. This was a perfect opener to All In during the Zero Hour preshow and set the tone for the good in-ring work we were to expect during All In. This was a crisp tag team match, but it comes as no surprise considering the participants. This finish saw Kazarian reverse a double team maneuver that had him one one of the Briscoes’ shoulders, forgive me for not remembering which one, and turned it into a powerslam and pin for the win.
Over the Budget Battle Royal
Just from the name alone, you knew this was going to be a fun match. There were some fun former WWE guys in this match like Billy Gunn, the Hurricane and Bully Ray, so that was a nice extra wrinkle to this match. I would say the MVP, or MVPs rather, of this were Brian Cage and Jordynne Grace. Cage made waves since being on Lucha Underground and more recently his stint in Impact and he is someone I would expect WWE to look at within the next few years. He has a huge build but can do things that you wouldn’t think a man of his size could do. Grace impressed me with her power and just how she went toe-to-toe with the men like it was nothing. It looked like Bully Ray would pick up the win to face Jay Lethal later in the night for the ROH Title by eliminating Chicago’s own Colt Cabana, I was so close with that pick, but a masked wrestler came into the ring. He was put through a table at the beginning of the match by Bully Ray and it was revealed to be Flip Gordon and he would eliminate Ray to win the Battle Royal.
Matt Cross vs. MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman)
This match is one that I did not know was happening at All In. It must have been a late add or something, but it was a nice match. Matt Cross is Son of Havoc in Lucha Underground and he has done quite there, and he is a very good worker. I have barely gotten to see MJF’s work and that is due to MLW and I have been impressed with what I have seen so far. These two had good chemistry and told a very good story in the ring. There was a good mix of mat wrestling by MJF with some high flying from Cross. MJF plays quite the heel and that worked perfectly with the crowd at All In. Cross would pick up the win with his impressive Shooting Star Press.
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell
Here we have the Fallen Angel vs the Green Arrow, still say that would make a great comic book series, and this match didn’t have too high expectations for wrestling but high expectations of entertainment for me. Amell is quite a natural athlete and he has obviously put in work to be prepared for All In and it showed tremendously. Daniels is a consummate professional and was a perfect person to have in the ring with Amell. I was impressed with how well Amell looked in the ring and even took a table bump. It looked a bit rough and you have to believe even the CW executives held their breath a bit during that spot. Amell showed how taking your time in a match when you are not that experienced if a benefit and not a detriment; I am looking at you Ronda Rousey. Amell even busted out a coast-to-coast ala Shane McMahon/Rob Van Dam and it looked pretty good. I thought Amell would take the win here, but it made sense for Daniels to win via the Best Moonsault Ever.
Britt Baker vs. Chelsea Green vs. Madison Rayne vs. Tessa Blanchard
All four of these women brought it during this match and I enjoyed every bit of it, for the most part. There were some spots by Britt Baker that looked a bit sloppy, but it wasn’t enough to detract from the match. Chelsea Green just owns her character and there are few that can rival that, Nikki Cross and Rosemary are two that come to mind, and it played perfectly in this match. She also did a tribute to her boyfriend Zack Ryder in this match by doing his “Woo! Woo! Woo!” chant before hitting her own “Broski Boot”. Madison Rayne is a veteran in this business and spent most of her time in TNA and I can’t wait to see her in the Mae Young Classic. Tessa Blanchard was booked strong in this match and that made sense because she is one of the top women currently not in WWE. I think this is another fine entry in what has been a great era of women’s wrestling we are in right now. Tessa picked up the win with a hammerlock DDT and it looked like there may have been a botch with that, but it may just have been done to make it look like it.
Cody Rhodes vs. Nick Aldis (c) (NWA World Heavyweight Championship)
This match might have been my least favorite of the night from a wrestling standpoint. From a story perspective, it was dead on. Both men came in with a team of veterans and hall of famers and it added to this match. Earl Hebner was the referee for this match and that was a nice touch as well. It just felt like these two didn’t mesh well and that happens in wrestling. At one point, Cody went for a move to the outside and was met with an elbow by Aldis and they played it like he could have been knocked out. DDP would come down, as he was one to accompany Cody to the ring, to check on him and this all felt like it took too long. Shawn Daivari would get in DDP’s face, as he accompanied Aldis, and DDP would deliver a Diamond Cutter to him and garnered a nice pop. At this point the match started to drag and Cody ended up bleeding from the attack and this all was clearly done to give him time to blade. Cody picked up the win with a roll up and this clearly moved him as you could see how much it meant to him during his celebration. Some felt this should have been the main event but I am fine with where it was on the card.
Hangman Page vs. Joey Janela (Chicago Street Fight)
This match was just one of the best hardcore matches I have seen in recent memory. It was hard hitting and had some grueling spots as well. Hangman has been on fire with his ring work and Janela was a good foil for him in this match. Janela took some sick bumps in this match which included a Burning Hammer to a ladder that was bridged. Hangman powerbombed Janela through a table and could clearly tell he was supposed to go through both tables that were set up but came up short. Penelope Ford, who escorted Janela to the ring, even got in on the action and hit a nice stunner on Hangman during the match. This was a great match that saw Hangman hit Janela with the Rite of Passage off a ladder and through a table and Hangman picked up the win.
After the match, Joey Ryan came out to show that he was not “dead” and um well…. Honestly no words that I type will do justice to what Joey Ryan did at All In. He did his own spin on the Undertaker’s return after he gets written off and it really must be experienced by watching. Do yourselves a favor and go watch it, it is hilarious and one of a kind.
Flip Gordon vs. “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal (c) (ROH World Championship)
Prior to the start of the match, someone backstage handed Lethal his “Black Machismo” glasses and gave him a slap on shoulder and this would lead to him invoking his previous Black Machismo persona. He would make his entrance as Black Machismo and was accompanied by Lanny Poffo, the brother of the late great Macho Man Randy Savage, and that was a nice touch. Lethal had us all dying because he thought Brandi Rhodes, who accompanied Flip, was Miss Elizabeth and even put her on his shoulder and walked around in the ring with her like Macho Man did with Elizabeth at Wrestlemania VII. Brandi slapped Lethal on the chest to bring the regular Lethal back and the match would continue from there. This was a very fun match and Lethal showed why he has been one of the best wrestlers for some time now. Flip also had an impressive showing and I could see big things coming to him in the coming year. Lethal picked up the win with Lethal Injection at the end and retained the ROH World Championship in a very good match.
Kenny Omega vs. Penta El Zero M (Pentagon Jr.)
These two men are quite possibly the two best wrestlers outside of WWE and they proved it at All In. This was my pick for match of the night and it definitely was that to me. Penta is ridiculously over and the announce team mentioned that he is one of the best crossover Lucha stars of all-time and I would have to agree with them. I grew up watching AAA in the 90s, so I remember the original Pentagon and Pentagon Jr. has surpassed the original Pentagon and then some. It is darn near impossible for Omega to put on a bad match and this was just another chapter in his book of fantastic matches. These are two men who have yet to meet in one-on-one competition and they worked beautifully together. This was hard hitting and had some very nice spots as well. Penta hit Omega with a package piledriver on the apron and it looked brutal. Kenny even returned the favor and hit Penta with a package piledriver of his own in the ring. Penta did his signature arm bar that “breaks”, or in this case injured, Omega’s right arm and that affected him for the rest of the match. Kenny picked up the win by hitting the One Winged Angel on Penta for the three count.
After the match, the lights went out and it looked nothing was different. Penta then rose up and attacked Omega and hit him with a Codebreaker. It turned out to be Chris Jericho to the surprise of everybody and then said they would meet again on the Jericho Cruise.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
This was an interesting match-up because here we have one of the most dominant IWGP Heavyweight Champions of all-time facing a man who is predominantly a junior heavyweight. That story did play out in this match and it was a refreshing take on the big man vs smaller man match. Scurll showed why he is one of the best in the world, I have said that a lot I know, and Okada is well just amazing. These two had amazing chemistry and this may have been my favorite Marty Scurll match that I have seen. Scurll played with a chip on his shoulder to prove that he can hang with the heavyweights and I think that he proved it at All In. Okada just has great matches one after the other and this was another one. Okada hit Scurll with two Rainmakers to pick up the win in a fantastic match. This one rivals Omega vs Penta for my match of the night but just comes up a bit short for me.
Bandido, Rey Fenix, & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. The Golden Elite (Kota Ibushi, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
When this match was announced with these six men, you just knew you were in for a fun time and they delivered. I compared this match to one you would see in lucha libre and I stand by it. This was high octane action from the start and it didn’t let up one bit. That is what I have seen in lucha libre six-man tag matches throughout my life and this was a lucha match if I ever saw one. Rey has found new life now and looks better than he has in years. Fenix is, like his brother Pentagon Jr., one of the best in the world right now and it is no wonder why rumors are swirling about the Lucha Bros being scouted by WWE. I knew nothing about Bandido going into this match and I became a fan of his after this match. The Young Bucks and Ibushi are three amazing talents and they proved how great they are once again. There were so many spots in this match and it was all crisp. The action was fast paced, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The Golden Elite would pick up the victory to close out All In and I recommend people to watch this match if you ever wanted to get a taste as to what a lucha libre match is like.
I would just like to applaud all the men and women who participated in All In because this is an amazing achievement to have witnessed in today’s wrestling landscape. To think that a few men would put it all out there and be all in on an idea to put on a wrestling event without a wrestling promotions name is almost unthinkable. This was a grand success in my eyes and I hope this is able to become a yearly event. There was not a bad match on the card and, while not at the level of a Takeover, was something every wrestling fan should see and behold. Bravo!