Professional wrestling fans are anxious for The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and Cody Runnels, better known to WWE fans as Cody Rhodes, upcoming September 1 event, All In. The former WWE superstar and The Young Bucks have put together a solid show, set to take place at the Sears Centre in Chicago, and the event sold-out in less than an hour. Given the fact that all 10,000 tickets have been sold, and the amount of talent involved on the card, it would be very difficult for the wrestling event to not be a huge success beyond ticket sales.
Last night, during a Ring of Honor event at the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom, The Young Bucks and Cody got on the mic to address the ecstatic live audience. Matt thanked the crowd for being on fire during the near five-hour event, and as seen in the video below that was posted by Bleacher Report writer Graham Matthews, he then teased some major news. He said that if there were to be a sequel to All In, that there is a really big building “about three blocks down.” The crowd then went from chanting “All In two” to “MSG.”
Rhodes playfully asked if he was suggesting that All In 2 should be held in Madison Square Garden. Though he was pretending to look distressed, Cody mentioned the famed arena by name three times, leading the audience to pop even more. They then thanked New York City, and Cody blew kisses to the crowd.
It has been a longtime rumor that WWE has exclusive rights for wrestling events at MSG, but this is false. Decades ago, the federation held weekly shows there, so other promotions generally skipped that arena because they knew it wouldn’t do as well as the then WWF. With decades of shows being held there, and with the company’s headquarters just miles away, Madison Square Garden is considered WWE’s backyard. Presumably, there is not another current wrestling promotion big enough to sell out the arena, or is there?
While All In is not an official promotion, it is certainly competition for the WWE’s house shows. As the CBS New York reported, All In sold more tickets than the World Wrestling Entertainment’s average show in the U.S., aside from WrestleMania. This Young Bucks and Runnels program is often referred to as the anti-WWE event, and holding another one in MSG would certainly send a message. But a series of successful All In events could possibly help the WWE improve their ratings, and the professional wrestling industry as a whole.
It has been documented by many pundits—wrestlers, promoters, sports journalists, and WWE.com itself—that when WCW became real competition, the WWE was forced to step up their game. This is the only time that the massive wrestling promotion had a real threat. The ratings for WWE programming have been in a slump over the last several years, and it has been heavily reported that Raw viewership has plummeted compared to the days of “The Monday Night War”; What Culture documented that they have lost eight million fans.
Right now, Cody and The Young Bucks’ program is the only competition for WWE when it comes to their house shows. Thus far, there have been no reports that All In will be televised or featured on a streaming service. But there is still time before September to at least get a streaming service set up for the wrestling event. If that doesn’t happen, perhaps one could be arranged for the sequel (especially if it’s held in an epic arena like MSG).
If All In were to become a series of events that fans could watch either on TV or through a streaming platform, then the WWE would have some real opposition. This might make them evaluate their current programming, perhaps creating more intriguing storylines that fans can clasp onto. Like any business, when a company has competition, they have more to fight for; when a company is in a virtual monopoly, the product is often lessened.
If there were to be another major promotion to rise big enough to compete with the World Wrestling Entertainment, it could be a great thing for the industry as a whole. Not only was Nitro and Raw a success during “The Monday Night War,” but smaller promotions, like ECW, saw a boost in their ratings as well. Major opposition could lead to big happenings for fans because the last time that happened, well, perhaps the WWE.com article put it best:
“The stiff competition forced WWE to step up its game, bringing about the Attitude Era.”