The Boom of Pro Wrestling
Written By Rachel Dream
There’s no denying that pro wrestling likes to have ups and downs throughout the years. We all of course remember the Attitude Era, followed by the Ruthless Aggression Era, and now after battling through the PG Era year after year, it seems a new 'Boom Period' is here in wrestling and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
The sold out PPV ALL IN on Saturday, September 1st, sent shockwaves both through the fans eyes, wrestling companies eyes, and even wrestling companies’ higher up eyes. An event with 3 people’s desired dream to bet on themselves and see if what they believed the fans wanted was a good alternative to the direction pro wrestling is in right now. Cody Rhodes, Matt and Nick Jackson, and the rest of the super popular YouTube show #BeingTheElite. For the past year, it has gained fans and popularity week by week, whether it’s the over the top but hilarious storylines, the witty inside knowledge humor of the cast, or even an invasion of the WWE. BTE has had the world talking for a year straight & when confronted by Dave Meltzer about if the Bullet Club could sell out a 10,000 seat arena, the offer was immediately taken without hesitation from the boys.
So it begun, Cody and the Bucks began planning this event. The movement really began picking up steam in January of this year with NJPW's headline event, WrestleKingdom, where Bullet Club leader, Kenny Omega, would go one on one with former WWE star Chris Jericho, being the first time Jericho has wrestled for any other company in about 19/20 years. Chris Jericho set the wrestling world on fire as he is accustomed to in his later stages of his career. Following the match with Omega, Jericho was one of the first people to put his trust in Bullet Club that they could actually do this PPV and it would be successful. The buzz would not die down as we headed into WrestleMania weekend, as Ring of Honor joined forces with NJPW for the show Super card of Honor, this saw Cody and Kenny battle one another to find out who was the real Bullet Club leader was, thus starting the boom period for Ring of Honor heading into the summer of 2018.
Throughout the summer, Cody, Matt and Nick, and with the help of the other talent that would be appearing at ALL IN, started thinking of the storylines and match ups for the PPV. Whether it was actor Stephen Amell vs wrestling veteran Christopher Daniels, Marty Scurll vs Kazuchika Okada, every single match had a story and had a purpose. It all meshed together perfectly.
As ALL IN week approached, one of the highlights of ALL IN was the Starrcast weekend before the PPV itself, an in depth and up close look to some of your favorite wrestling stars and legends like you've never seen before. From a Scurll concert, hundreds of meet and greets, panels of wrestlings favorite podcasts or YouTube shows, the Starrcast event brought all 11,293 people who attended ALL IN together made it just as big as events like WrestleMania does. For everyone who couldn’t attend the event, they were able to see every single show that took place at Starrcast on the FITE TV App and Honor Club streaming service by ROH.
As for the PPV itself, ALL IN wasn’t like any typical independent show. Cody and the Bucks left no expense spared with a beautiful set, with the BC logo slapped in the middle, and a classic looking ring set up with ALL IN plastered in the middle. Its rare to say while watching an independent event that people surprise you in every match. The Over Budget Battle Royale saw young stars like Marko Studd, Jordynn Grace & Ethan Page, who shined bright with past legends like Bully Ray, Tommy Dreamer and Billy Gunn, with a long year pay off of a masked luchador which would be Flip Gordon, who eliminated Bully to win the match and recieve one of the biggest pops of the night. The year long storyline of Flip not being able to get booked onto the show, thanks to his feud with Cody, payed off bigtime as fans really began to love Flip and could see the amount of progression he had made from the previous year.
One of the best surprises of the night was Arrow actor, Stephan Amell, facing of against Christopher Daniels. Amell, who had previous matches in ROH and one in WWE with former star Neville, left fans stunned at how well he wrestled and looked in the ring, performing coast to coast moves and falling through tables. Daniels would pick up the win but Amell made a statement to other actors who have ever thought about dipping their feet into pro wrestling, that it’s possible with hard work and confidence. A match that had people divided online was Hangman Page vs Joey Janela. Hangman has had probably one of the best years of his career in 2018, going from a rookie trying to find his feet in ROH, after being took under the Bullet Club wing. Being the Elite really let Hangman come out of his shell as the hilarious and great wrestler he is deep down. The storyline going into the match was that Hangman had previously killed famous dick wrestler, Joey Ryan, for claiming to have the most hung 'junk' in wrestling. While in Japan, Page would 'murder' Joey with a telephone in the hotel room. Sending Page into a spiralling mess as the weeks leading up to the ALL IN event, it would show people getting suspiscious of Page's constant non wearing of his famous cowboy boots (covered in Joeys blood). A back and forth grueling war between Page and Janela ended with a burning hammer finishing move from Page to Janela from the top of a ladder through a table for the win. The lights go out, and with a spoof of the Undertaker’s entrance, 12 inflatable penis' would come out like druids as Joey Ryan would return to one of the best pops of 2018 as he came to the ring and gave a dick-plex move to Page as he was carried out to the back by the penis druids. Now the humour is not for everyone but if you payed attention to the storyline played out on BTE you wouldve gotten the humour going forward. If you were a fan of the Attitude Era, this storyline and humor was for you.
One of the marque match ups and what is putting this event into the boom period we are in now was Cody vs Nick Aldis for the NWA World Championship. Both men came out with teams of mentors who helped them in their career, including Jeff Jarret, Dreamer, DDP and more. The emotion was fully injected into this match early as Aldis caught Cody with an elbow to the face in which the ref called up the X-sign for doctors to come check on Cody as he was busted wide open. After a Crossroads and a cradle pin, the Sears Center exploded with cheers and crying as Cody had won, winning the same title that his father, Dusty Rhodes, won some 25+ years ago, in the exact same finish of Dustys first title win. What this match did for pro wrestling is something we won’t know for a few months but what it has done is said to the wrestling world that NWA now has its place amonst the best companies.
In what many call the show stealer of the event saw Kenny Omega challenge Pentagon Jr, two of the most polarizing and most respected competitors on the planet. The arena became unglued from the first strike, after 4 unsuccesful One Winged Angel attempts, Omega finally got the pin after his 5th try as once again the lights would go out, as the lights came on, Omega saw a lifeless Pentagon on the mat, without his sleeve tattoo. Omega was then attacked by this Pentagon and was hit with a codebreaker and immediately the arena went crazy. The mask was pulled off and there with a blank stare on his face, Chris Jericho would emerge. Jericho for months had said in interviews he would never work for an american promotion as he believed it was a slap in the face to Vince McMahon, but nothing was stopping Jericho making history.
After Scurll vs Okada, and the 6 man main event, seeing Rey Mysterio team with Bandido and Rey Fenix to take on Kota Ibushi and The Young Bucks, the previous matches had left little time for the 6 man tag to have. Previously being a 28 minute match was cut down to 12 minutes due to other matches going over, it didnt stop the 6 men from putting on a classic match filled with some of wrestling’s best high flyers and a never before seen confrontation betweet Mysterio and Ibushi. The PPV ended with 3 seconds to spare, thus letting ALL IN be a success, a major success.
On the recent Being the Elite, we saw Cody and the Bucks getting everything in place for ALL IN, whether it was seeing the stage for the first time, setting up gifts for all the talent in the locker room, these 3 men had done something many thought it was nearly impossible. This event sent a rippling effect throught the whole world of pro wrestling, showing stars in WWE that there was a place outside the big leagues. It showed that there is a clammering for pro wrestling that was seen at ALL IN, long thought out storylines with pay offs, and wrestlers having inputs in both character and matches. Fans have been praying for a boom period in wrestling again like the Attitude Era and its here, with every independent promotion doing the absolute best to put on the best product and PPVS Including NJPW, ROH, RevPro, NWA and many, many more.
While we have many months left until WrestleMania weekend and plenty of chances for other shows to create headlines in the business, the next chapter in this boom period will come on April 6th of next year, as ROH and NJPW combine together to sell out Madison Square Garden. This is something many thought was impossible, but is very much a reality now, and just like Cody said in the post match speech at ALL IN, "Not one person owns wrestling, we OWN pro wrestling.” Just like the bet he made for the beginning of ALL IN, you can always go double or nothing in 2019.
Do you feel we are in a boom period in wrestling? Let us know in the comments below!