I remember when it happened in 2018.

In 2018, I was there.

You already know this; I’ve written about it several times. It was one of the most fun wrestling experiences of my life. I was there at the original ALL IN event that exceeded all expectations. We were all so impressed, enamored, and in love with the fact that a non-WWE show in that time and place was able to draw over 11,000 rabid and excited wrestling fans to what turned out to be a very fun and significant show. There were fun matches, a few cool surprises, and a crowd that hung on every word, move, and moments. I remember the post-show speeches by The Elite where no one got up, no one left. We clung to everything said and BELIEVED everything they said because they also believed it.

I remember the matches. I remember losing my mind getting to see Pentagon and Kenny Omega wrestling. I remember how short but insane the main event was. I remember how Joey Janela and Adam Page tried to kill each other. I remember Chris Jericho making a surprise appearance. I remember Road Warrior Animal showing up to hype us up, I remember Flip Gordon winning the battle royal to earn his spot in ALL IN. It was my first time seeing Okada wrestle live, and it filled my fangirl heart. What a time to be a wrestling fan in those moments.

It was a unique and historic moment, an important watershed moment in pro wrestling, That said, even I, who was there would not realize how much of a watershed moment it would be. Months later, AEW would be formed, and a true American competitive alternative to WWE would exist. It was sweet music (but not sweet chin music) to the many ears of fans who had been clamoring for such for years if not decades. Sure there were other smaller promotions, and they filled their roles and were able to establish their niches, but this was something different. A different level, a different scale, with significant money and major involvement backing it. When we watched the original ALL IN we might have been dreaming it was possible, but when reality happened, the excitement was loud and thunderous. Some of it felt like a dream, but it wasn’t. We were all awake, and the nightmare that WWE was the only major wrestling company in America was over.  

I don’t like billionaires in general, I try my best not to get enamored over Tony Khan, but the man has definitely proven his worth, and I’m not talking monetary worth. He was a lot of talk, and still is a lot of talk, but more often than not he has been able to “mostly” back up his bravado and his brashness. AEW, with faults here and there, has proven to be an exciting and entertaining alternative to WWE, filling in many wrestling holes and desires that has often been lacking with WWE. Tony Khan is a lot of things, and passion is one of them. His passion, as well as the hard work and effort of talent both on and off camera, has fueled the fire to burn brighter and brighter more and more. 

However, this isn’t a Tony Khan praise article.

There are plenty of those already in existence. AEW would be nowhere if it weren’t for the blood, sweat, tears, and contributions of its overly talented roster, it’s overly talented behind the scene hands, and the dedication and commitment of all to an idea that at one point in time seemed preposterous, improbable, dare I say impossible? Sure, AEW needed the money, but it also needed the brains, the muscle, the do-or-die and never say never attitude that many have brought to it. Many have stayed, some have left, but all of their contributions have been significant and important to the ongoing success of AEW. A success story I never thought I would be able to see. I wonder how many of us 11,000 at the original ALL IN could’ve imagined this possibility?

And now it’s all coming toward August when the second ALL IN event of all time will take place. But we aren’t talking about the Sears Centre in Illinois. Hell no, we are talking Wembley fucking stadium. I repeat, Wembley fucking Stadium.

When I first heard it announced, I admit, I confess, I thought Tony Khan was crazy, and in a lot of ways, he is crazy. This felt like a gamble, a risk, we should’ve known better. Tony Khan isn’t a man who likes to lose, he wouldn’t make such a stride, and Wembley wouldn’t have agreed to it if something wasn’t there.

The pre-sale happened, and it was insane. We watched as the numbers inflated, 10,000 sold, 25,000 sold, 35,000 sold. At the time of this article, with both the pre-sale done and the regular sale ongoing, we are over 60,000 tickets sold to what is now one of the biggest wrestling shows of all time, put on by a company that has only existed since 2020. You can’t call it anything less than impressive. The magnitude of time. From the first ALL IN, which was a major independent show with massive involvement drawing 11,000, to an AEW-backed ALL IN now guaranteed at minimum 60,000 plus screaming wrestling fans, THAT IS ACCOMPLISHMENT. And no amount of goal post-moving is going to change that reality. 

Of course, when you draw such a large crowd, such a large money number, the next step is to knock it out of the fucking part. This show is already legendary before the first match has even had the bell rung, now to make it a classic. Load that mother up. Have star-making moments, classic matches, feud-enders, and every lasting memories that will stay with wrestling fans forever. My fear of missing out is big for this show, but I cannot justify the travel costs I’m afraid. I will have to watch at home, but even watching at home as I hear the roar of the massive crowd, I have no doubt goosebumps will come across my body at the history that I am witnessing in the comfort of my friend’s living room. I am insanely jealous of everyone attending, but I am excited and glad for them as well.

When I went to ALL IN in 2018, I thought I had watched history, and I had. Little did I know, how could I know, that five years later, this would be happening? That history would be happening on a larger scale, a louder scale, and an even more significant and important scale. Everyone who is currently involved, and who will be involved deserves a standing ovation and curtain call for what they have accomplished. If the original ALL IN was the butterfly flapping its wings (I mean that as a major compliment) then the upcoming ALL IN is possibly the tsunami wave that was created as a result. Years and years of hard work, dedication, and not giving an inch have led to this moment. All Elite Wrestling has made many statements, but this is a statement that may be tattooed into the body that is the history of pro wrestling, and they deserve their flowers.

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