September 1, 2018
“ALL IN” is a game changer, that is not a question but a statement. 3 wrestlers…Twin brothers and a second generation performer, without any boss or other company or promotion behind them, put on a sold out show at the Sears Center in Chicago, IL. It was a great night, complete with a title change, a battle royal, and a surprise appearance by Chris Jericho….great, but incomplete.
“ALL IN’ was a 5 hour show in total. A 1 hour pre-show broadcast on WGN America “ALL IN – Zero Hour” with a tag match and an ‘Over The Budget’ Battle Royal that would grant the winner a title match later with current Ring Of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal later in the evening…but again, incomplete. Also, Jordynne Grace is the main title holder over at Black Label Pro Wrestling.
In a 5 hour show, 5 women got a minuscule percentage of that time. Jordynne Grace – one of the independent scenes standout talents – was in the battle royal and had a great showing, even eliminating powerhouse Brian Cage, but would lose the battle royal to an in disguise Flip Gordon.
The main card featured a 4 way match between stellar talent. Tessa Blanchard, who is easily one of the best performers right now and current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion. Chelsea Green, know in Impact as Laurel Van Ness, a former Knockouts Champion. Madison Rayne, a multi-time Knockouts Champion who is competing in this years Mae Young Classic. Britt Baker, only been in the business three years but a rising star, and it was a damn good match.
All the performers worked very well together, every one of them had a chance to showcase their particular strengths and the match did get the time it deserved with Tessa Blanchard walking away victorious, but still it felt a little rushed.
The question here is, in a roughly 5 hour show, was less than 40 minutes of total time for the women in this show a proper amount of time? Especially now when women’s wrestling is seeing increased talent influx, more access, more platforms, and more equity in general in the wrestling business. Can someone tell me that the Joey Ryan vs Adam Page match – ghost penises and all – couldn’t have been cut short to get another women’s match in there? It’s not like there isn’t a wealth of talent out there that could have used the work. The event was held in Chicago, long running women’s promotion SHIMMER is in the area and there couldn’t have been space to get in a Mercedes Martinez, Kimber Lee, or Shotzi Blackheart match?
“ALL IN” was a fun celebration of professional wrestling in it’s purest form, but it could have been much better if it carried the narrative out of the clubhouse and into the future.