Tuesday, March 6, 2018

All In Has Found a Venue

The Bucks have found their venue for All In
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The show that started out as a friendly bet with Dave Meltzer has found a venue, and now feels like a real thing that is going to happen. All In, the independent wrestling show promoted by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, will take place at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, IL, a suburb of Chicago. The 11,000+ seat arena currently is home to the Windy City Bulls of the National Basketball Association's developmental league, the G-League, the Chicago Mustangs of the Major Arena Soccer League, and the Chicago Bliss of the Legends Football League (formerly Lingerie Football League). The arena has hosted pro wrestling before, as it was the home of TNA's Bound For Glory in 2008.

The arena announcement is the last major piece of the puzzle to be announced, after the date (September 1) and the headline talent. The first wrestlers to be named for the show are Rhodes, the Bucks, Marty Scurll, Hangman Page, Kenny Omega, Stephen Amell, and Tessa Blanchard, basically no surprises thus far. Without a venue though, it was nothing more than a glorified e-fed event in the vein of Canuck Pro Wrestling's entire sham slate of matches. Now, it feels like it can and will happen.

The big question is though whether or not the group will crest the 10,000 paid attendee number. If Ring of Honor's Supercard of Honor advances can be used as a barometer, then this event might have a shot. Talent announcements will play a key role, obviously, but do Rhodes and the Jackson brothers have an ace up their collective sleeve that's as effective as Omega? I could speculate on some names, but it would be fantasy booking at this point, which does no one any good.

Either way, the venue makes sense. Chicago is pretty much America's wrestling nexus nowadays, with several thriving indies that either make their homes there or who count the Windy City as a reliable tour stop. It's also one of WWE's most famous and most reliable tour stops. The hunger for wrestling locally is real, and it's also a reasonable midpoint for incoming travel from points all around the country. Basically, it is setting up as a second WrestleMania, albeit on a smaller scale, which is to be expected. All In will be a litmus test for wrestling outside of WWE in America, but even if it falls short of its stated goal, the ambition and resolve put into it thus far must be commended.

All In will not be the only wrestling event happening Labor Day weekend, as King of Trios was announced for August 31 through September 2 this year as well. In joyous news, the biggest tournament in indie wrestling will be returning to Easton, PA at the Palmer Funplex, its home from 2012 through 2016. And hello, Chikara has announced the first trio, and in keeping with tradition, it's a doozy. Michael Tarver, Fred Rosser (fka Darren Young), and PJ Black (fka Justin Gabriel) will form the Nexus Alliance. Tarver and Black have shown their wares on the indies to mixed results, but it'll be interesting to see Rosser unleashed. He always showed promise in the ring while in WWE, and I'm looking forward to seeing if he's more Trent Barretta than Curt Hawkins on the indies.

Of course, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla has also made a habit of holding its Battle of Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend. While King of Trios as a competing event hasn't really affected the set piece tournament for PWG, the SoCal leaders in indie wrestling and Chikara dip from different ends of talent pool for the most part. However, All In might do more to divert the BOLA's schedule because Rhodes and the Bucks definitely do draw from the same well. Whether or not BOLA happens that weekend or not, Labor Day should be pretty interesting in the non-WWE wrestling world, that's for sure.