ALL IN should give hope to independent professional wrestling companies worldwide. ALL IN begins with Shalandra Royal singing the National Anthem. The Star Spangled Banner set the tone for the evening. It was clear this was going to be a traditional professional wrestling event. There was no way I was going to be left out of the ALL IN experience. It was the best $40 I spent in a long time. This is professional wrestling at its finest.
The Bullet Club fans were all in attendance as well. Bullet Club T-Shirts were everywhere. This was their event because the Sears Centre Arena said so. The legendary Don Callis, Cyrus in ECW, who also happens to be the greatest color commentator today, graced us all with his presence, looking clearly annoyed with his two fellow broadcasters. Nevertheless, both Excalibur and Ian Riccaboni were able to keep up with Lord Cyrus, and hopefully they learned a thing or two.
MJF vs. Matt Cross – Matt Cross was great but this was all designed to elevate Maxwell Jacob Feinstein. “I don’t have to flip to get over,” MJF told the crowd. He’s right. MJF has only been wrestling for three years, but it may as well have been thirty. It was just one miscalculation that cost MJF the victory he clearly deserved. MJF misses a moonsault, which allowed Cross to connect with a shooting star press for the pin.
Sean Mooney is backstage speaking with the current NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis. Aldis looks like he’s been taking fashion tips from Ric Flair. Keep it up! The world is watching. Either Aldis will beat the son of The American Dream, or he will fall into a deep dark nightmare. 10,000 people in Chicago are watching live.
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell – Jerry Lynn is here to be the New Reffin’ Show! What a great addition to this Hollywood homerun. The Fallen Angel vs. The Broken Arrow? If Stephen Amell continues with matches like this he has a bright future as a professional wrestler. Expectations are usually very low for such a staged match. Up until this match, the last time I thoroughly enjoyed a bout with a Hollywood celebrity was during the main event of the original WrestleMania. Unrelated, Stephen Amell is also an honorary member of the Bullet Club.
Don Callis reminded us all, “The history of pro wrestling is littered with Hollywood actors who thought they could enter the squared circle, and the record is not good.”
Going into the match, Amell was 2-0, with both wins being in tag-team matches. More so, Amell has never been in the ring with someone like Christopher Daniels; a former Grand Slam Champion in Ring of Honor.
Stephen Amell was able to keep up with Daniels, keep me invested as a fan, and keep me interested throughout the entire fight. This was a brutal fight. This is good for business. Still, all good stories must come to an end. This story ended with Christopher Daniels defeating a Hollywood star, and someone I am proud to call a professional wrestler, Stephen Amell by pinfall. The Best Moonsault Ever is alive and well.
So we have two matches where, in my opinion, the loser of the match was elevated in the rankings due to their impressive performance.
Tessa Blanchard vs. Chelsea Green vs. Madison Rayne vs. Britt Baker – The Women of Honor made their presence felt in this Four Corner Survival match. Chelsea Green may be a “hot mess” and former Impact champion, but Madison Rayne was clearly the favorite to win. Then there was the Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard who has everything going for her. Being a professional wrestling champion means you are in an elite class of athletes. You are representing the most respected sports industry on this planet. Tessa Blanchard is also the daughter of a former professional wrestling champion and a member of the Four Horsemen, Tully Blanchard. Tessa is also from North Carolina, and anyone from the same state as Ric Flair has the potential to be a massive star. A little Flair-dust goes a long way. Tessa won the fans over with her strength and raw wrestling ability. The Hot Mess Chelsea Green came close to winning, but on that particular night in Chicago, Tessa Blanchard went ALL IN with the Hammerlock DDT for the pin. Watch this match and tell me the women do not deserve their own show. I double-Dave Meltzer-dare you!!
Now it’s time for the Dream vs. the Nightmare. It’s time to go ALL IN. The ever-gracious Lord Cyrus, known to the commoners as Don Callis, allows Brent Tarring to join the broadcast booth with Excalibur and Ian Riccaboni for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Brent Tarring was hand-picked to call the next match between Cody and Nick Aldis. “You called his very first match in Ohio Valley Wrestling,” said Riccaboni.
“I certainly did,” Tarring responded, “but I’d also like to set the record straight. I’ve been to both of these men’s weddings. I’ve seen them take their vows. I know both very well. This one is going to be an emotional rollercoaster for the NWA Worlds Championship.”
It sure is. This will be one’s man dream and another man’s nightmare. The rollercoaster comes to a full stop at ALL IN. Somewhere in the social media clouds, Billy Corgan is smiling and professional wrestling fans are standing in applause. Billy Corgan is given the NWA a fresh restart. What the talent does from here on in will decide the future of the company. The champion must be ALL IN for the NWA to survive this championship battle. The world is watching. This is NWA Wrestling.
Out first is Cody’s rock and true love, Brandi Rhodes. Mrs. Rhodes waits for her husband’s arrival. We are then greeted to a real American. To some he is a dream, to others he is a nightmare. Regardless, here he is, Cody. Red, white, blue, and blonde. Led to the ring by DDP, Tommy Dreamer, Glacier, Cody also sought the presence of his brother-in-law and father-in-law. Before Cody reached the stage, he kissed his dog, Pharroh, to the delight of the 10,000 fans in Chicago. The Nightmare Family makes sure there are no shenanigans before the NWA classic match. There is too much at stake here for everyone. Leave nothing to chance. Hire Earl Hebner to be your referee, and make sure Bret Hart is barred from the arena.
Nick Aldis is escorted backstage by former NWA Worlds Heaveyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett. The look on Jeff Jarrett’s face had me clutching to the nobility and prestige of the NWA championship. There was a hint of doubt, of nervousness. Nick Aldis has held the championship for so long, and defeated so many, so often, was it possible the champion was walking into a trap? Was this an elaborate scheme to remove Nick Aldis from the picture, and replace him with someone that haunts our sleep?
Former NWA champion Tim Storm and Sean Divari were all in Ric Flair-approved attire as they led the NWA prestige into the arena. NWA accepted the challenge to go ALL IN against Cody. But was the NWA truly going against Cody? Or was this all about getting the championship off of Nick Aldis?
What we know for sure is there are no smiling faces in this match. This is it. This will decide if this is all a dream or just a nightmare. Tonight, we will have our answer. To Ian Riccaboni, yes, this is the match I paid to see. Ring the bell.
“One man carrying a brand on his back,” said Brent Tarring, “the other, carrying a movement.” Tarring was spot on with that analysis. Nick Aldis is the NWA. Cody is the Dream of what the NWA could be. In the end, there can only be one winner. Aldis may be the dealer, but that would make Cody the gambler.
Did I mention each ring apron was customized for a particular sponsor? Also there was a barrel at ringside. I loved the design of the ring.
It wouldn’t be an Earl Hebner match without a bait and switch; or in this case, an “X” to call for help from medical professionals backstage. At this point, as far as we know, Cody is unable to continue the match. Then DDP runs down to the ring. The creator of DDPY (how about DDP ME?) makes sure Cody is able to compete in the traditional championship professional wrestling match.
NWA representative Shawn Davari pushes DDP and heads to the ring. Davari then pushed the referee before falling victim to the Diamond Cutter.
Cody is bleeding as Aldis takes the action back into the ring. Cody is literally red and yellow, blood and hair. Aldis and Cody set a new standard for an NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship competition. This is an amazing fight between two professional wrestlers.
Nick Aldis was very impressive but the odds were just too much to accomplish. After accidentally connecting with Cody’s wife, the champion began to doubt himself. Aldis lost his momentum and eventually lost the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. Cody forced the pin with a reverse sunset flip. Standing ovations and claps for Cody echoed throughout the arena. We’re only halfway through the show!