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List of Pointless Comparisons (That Reveal Absolutely Nothing)
I would have liked to get this column out quicker. However, after going back and forth I decided to watch ALL IN on New Japan World instead of FITE TV. Turned out that yes that option was much cheaper, but I ended up paying the price in a delayed viewing. Finally finishing the event at 11pm Monday night, I’m happy to say that I can tell you it was, without doubt, the… best show I have seen in a long time!
Even if NJPW World can’t upload the Zero Hour that aired on WGN, so that SCU reference is mostly out of sadness. I’ve heard that tag match was a rather good opener.
From start to finish, for 4 hours I was glued to the screen. So many memorable moments! Honestly, out of everything, putting aside all the match ratings and stories, for me the most impressive aspect of the show was how well it played off of the past. How relevant it made wrestling’s past feel, from Tessa Blanchard walking down to the ring with her father and Magnum T.A., to Cody’s emotional victory emulating not just his dad’s past but the NWA Championship bouts from yesteryear as well, to Jay Lethal coming out as the Macho Man accompanied by the legend’s brother Lanny Poffo. The past never felt so relevant.
That said, there was something more to the event. I said on the Perfect 10 Wrestling Podcast on LoP Radio that it didn’t really matter if there were any 5 star matches or great moments of storytelling, ALL IN was making a greater statement than putting on a decent special. Somewhat united, the wider pro wrestling world could be something truly special.
Changing the Industry
Calling All In ‘special’ would be putting it a tad lightly. I’d go with something akin to ‘historical’. One of the most significant shows of this generation, the first ever produced by Cody, Matt & Nick Jackson and it absolutely knocked it out of the park. 11,263 asses in 11,263 seats and every single one of them was still there after the final bell singing and clapping in appreciation. Everyone involved with ALL IN was a significant part of history, ALL working together to give us the best of ALL of wrestling’s different worlds. And those in attendance damn well knew it.
Cody said in his speech after the show had gone off air, “Because nobody – no man, no company, no entity – owns pro wrestling, WE own pro wrestling.” I have no idea if this was the intention of the event, but when I sat down to write this column I felt like I’d just witnessed a historical shift. The wrestling world outside of WWE danced out hand in hand and made one hell of a statement, with the crowd chanting as loudly as possible whilst they did so.
ALL IN felt like a collaboration and celebration of the modern day American wrestling scene. Top indie stars all under one roof like ROH, great wrestling mixed with fun silliness ala PWG/Chikara, the significant rise of women’s wrestling, the Japanese wrestlers treated like superstars, the white hot Bullet Club and the guys who put the whole thing together in Cody & the Young Bucks. Even Impact Wrestling had a huge influence on in ring proceedings, with the likes of Pentagon Jr, Brain Cage, Moose and Madison Rayne.
Something else to not overlook: the main commentary trio were Ian Riccaboni of ROH, Excalibur of PWG and Don Callis of Impact Wrestling/NJPW. Hell, Chris Jericho attacked Kenny Omega by dressing up as Pentagon Jr! To put it another way, one of WWE’s biggest stars attacked NJPW’s biggest star by dressing up as Lucha Underground’s biggest star. I think that sums up the concept of ALL IN pretty perfectly.
I saw someone complaining on Twitter that most of the wrestlers on the show were ‘on loan’ from ROH or NJPW… right… go look at what I just told you in the last paragraph and maybe you’ll see why that complaint isn’t an insult at all. The audience is crying out for cross-promotion collaborations. Cody & The Young Bucks gave the fans what they wanted and in that regard it’s fair to say this Saturday was a game changing success.
ALL IN proved that wrestling isn’t owned or defined by one company or entity, all these different promotions came together and helped put on a truly historical event. In one night the NWA Championship came back into relevancy and the fact that the future of the wrestling world looks a whole lot more unified makes that possibly all the more significant.
Before I move on, I’d like to just recommend you listen to XanMan’s LoP Radio ALL IN show. He was there live in Chicago and you’re not going to hear a more impassioned review anywhere else. Especially the first 5 minutes, the opening speech from Xan is filled with so much emotion that I’d call on everyone to listen to it. Don’t underestimate how special ALL IN was to the over 10,000 people in that arena.
The List of ‘Who Gives a Sh*t?’ or ‘Pointless Comparisons That Reveal Absolutely Nothing’
Once again a big, successful show outside of the umbrella of WWE rides along and reignites the arguments of who is: right, wrong, better, worse, richer, poorer, taller, shorter, in touch, out of touch, a reject, star, overrated, a real wrestler, playing wrestler, etcetera, etcetera. A. K. A. the list of ‘Who Gives a Shit?’ or ‘Pointless Comparisons That Reveal Absolutely Nothing.
For my entire childhood WWE was wrestling. I knew of no other reality, since when I started watching both WCW & ECW were dead and TNA was a few years off my horizon. There’s a reason that when you say the word ‘wrestling’, most people think ‘WWE’. For the better part of a decade the McMahons have essentially run a monopoly over the Western wrestling world.
WWE are the biggest show in town and no one is anywhere close. In fact, they’re so far away that can you even straight up call them a wrestling company anymore? They’re a publicly traded company with multiple streams of income, is there any point in even comparing them to wrestling promotions anymore?
I’d say no, there isn’t. In fact I’d go as far as to say that it’s pointless comparing every single item on the list of ‘Who Gives a Shit?’, comparing an individually financed show to a mega corporation… you see the issue there? It’s like comparing the film my friend made that won a couple small film festival awards to Transformers 5: Form Harder. One is obviously going to rake in more cash, but whether it’s better or not is entirely subjective.
There’s only one object of comparison that matters: you. The fans, viewers, significant others that happen to be in the vicinity. I don’t mean which set of fans is happier or less scummy, purely did YOU enjoy watching? Did you personally have fun watching ALL IN? Cool. Did you think the Joey Ryan penis druids were stupid? Cool. Are you a moron for enjoying the penis druids? No, but you are probably very childish like myself (and therefore obviously super cool, close parenthesis).
My brother doesn’t care for Spiderman, does that mean Spiderman is crap or overrated? No, it means my brother isn’t going to watch Spiderman… there are no other consequences. I live in a world of over-analysis in an ever growing futile attempt to hit 1,000 words – which I coincidentally just hit when I typed ‘1,000’ by the way, I am a God – but sometimes there is nothing gained by doing so. If anything, it can make you obsess over things that don’t matter at all. Like if a wrestler slightly missed a kick. Seriously, who gives a f-
Back to my brother, he absolutely loves anime, which is a very successful industry raking in millions every year. Does that mean Spiderman is crap? What? No, that makes no sense. Why are you even comparing the two?
Who cares if WWE’s next TV tapings outsells ALL IN? What? You mean the billion dollar publicly traded company who’s had a prime time TV slot for decades can out sell one show funded by three crazy, passionate guys? Well damn, I guess I was wrong and it turns out I didn’t enjoy Kenny Omega vs Pentagon Jr because SummerSlam sold 16,000 tickets?
You can see how that conversation goes nowhere. The same goes for the subjective stuff, for example was Joey Ryan’s penis res-erection awful garbage if the Sears Centre was full of people laughing and smiling their faces off? The old Cornette special: ‘I didn’t enjoy it, therefore it is a stain on the industry’. That makes no sense, reference my brother and Spiderman.
The long winded point I’m making is that as much as ALL IN was a damn significant event and I enjoyed it so, so much, the conversations around it are… tiring. It seems to be the same cycle as whenever there’s a big NJPW show, for some reason that starts up pro-WWE vs anti-WWE arguments all over the internet. Who cares? Like seriously, even if it’s scientifically proven that Reigns matches are the actual pinnacle of wrestling, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy other kinds of wrestling.
In closing, I think Spiderman is ‘fine’.
Email Imp – [email protected]
Links to Imp’s latest columns:
Imp’s WWE Adventure: Are You Wrong To Cheer Becky Lynch?
Imp’s WWE Adventure: SummerSlam and Storytelling over Wrestling
Imp’s WWE Adventure: Lesnar vs Reigns IV: Down As Smooth As A Dog On A Slide
Imp’s NJPW Adventure: NO ROPE EXPLOSIVE BARBED WIRE DEATHMATCH
Imp’s WWE Adventure: My First RAW Since Bobby Lashley’s Sisters
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