Kota Ibushi & The Young Bucks vs. Bandido, Rey Fenix, & Rey Mysterio
September 1, 2018
All In

Reviewed by Andrew Rich (VOW Author Page / Music of the Mat)

Reviewed by Jeri L. Evagood (She/Her) (VOW Author Page / @TheJerriest_Jer)

This is the main event of the inaugural All In, which took place five years and a global pandemic ago.

At the time, we didn’t realize that the show would become the forerunner for All Elite Wrestling. Who would have thought that a random fan tweeting Dave Meltzer would eventually lead to the creation of the second-biggest wrestling company in the United States? Seeing how many people Dave responds to on Twitter every day, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

They made the right choice in making this trios match the headliner, as it’s the kind of match that would become so commonplace in AEW. We’ve seen countless fast-paced, all action multi-man tags (many including The Young Bucks) on AEW programming through the years, including one just recently on Rampage between Top Flight & Action Andretti and Penta El Zero Miedo, Komander, & El Hijo del Vikingo. It’s a great match, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go do so (after you finish reading this, of course).

Also, with the exception of Rey Mysterio, everyone in this match would end up in AEW. The Bucks and Fenix joined at the start, then Bandido came aboard in 2022, then finally Ibushi debuted at this year’s Blood & Guts. The company could literally run this match back with the same referee (Rick Knox), the same ring announcer (Justin Roberts), and the same commentary team (Excalibur, Don Callis, and Ian Riccaboni), and the only thing they would need to do is get another high flying masked legend to substitute for Rey. Serpentico, it’s your time to shine.

What makes this match a true precursor to AEW, though, isn’t the style or the wrestlers involved; it’s the fact that something else on the show ran long, so they had to race the main event to the finish line before the PPV feed cut off. The next time MJF goes too long during one of his promo segments and the Dynamite main event is only nine minutes, just remember where it all started.

I do get nostalgic thinking about that time period. I miss seeing Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks together as part of The Elite, this tight knit group of guys promoting All In and rallying wrestling fans with that palpable “Us versus Them” mentality. I miss them puffing out their chests against WWE and actually succeeding. It was such a thrill to see “us” win, to see The Elite’s “Change the World” motto made manifest. AEW carved that mindset into its foundation. “We’re not WWE. We’re different. We’re pro wrestling.”

That was then. This is now.

Cody is back in WWE, having separated himself from The Elite a year into AEW’s formation. The Young Bucks are seemingly checked out, uninterested in rallying cries or puffing out their chests on AEW’s behalf. WWE-isms have crept into AEW’s presentation, like wrestlers looking sideways at monitors backstage and saying “championship opportunity” in promos. All In isn’t main evented with 13 minutes of exciting pro wrestling; it’s main evented with 30 minutes of t-shirt lore, double pins, ref bumps, and potent melodrama.

A whole lot can change in five years.

As for my Secret Santa, I am guessing it is Jack Beckmann.