WWE is going to have no option other than to take notice.
Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks have teased since last year that they would be teaming up to host one of the largest independent wrestling shows in the history of the business. Earlier this year, the event was titled, “All-In,” because that’s where the threesome is going. They’re pushing their chips to the middle of the table.
Yesterday, that bet began to pay off.
Tickets went on sale for All-In on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m., and 29 minutes later, 10,000 tickets were sold and the event was officially sold out.
That’s something that’s sure to make even Vince McMahon jealous.
The weekend itself is going to be huge. There’s the “Starrcast” event scheduled for the first few days before the big show, where wrestling podcasts from around the world will converge along with autograph signings and other appearances.. Then, “All-In” will take place on Sept. 1 at Sears Centre Arena just outside Chicago.
This all started with a tweet last year from Dave Meltzer, who was asked by a reader if he thought Cody, the Young Bucks and Ring of Honor could draw a 10,000-seat house. Meltzer said no, and Cody took it as a challenge.
Fast forward almost a year to the day — Rhodes replied to Meltzer’s tweet on May 16, 2017 — and All-In sold out in 29 minutes.
This show belongs exclusively to the Bucks and Cody. They’ve had big offers to help finance it, and they’ve said no. They want this to truly be an independent event.
“We’ve had offers from major companies saying they would pay for every penny, and we told them no because if it doesn’t succeed it’s on us,” Nick Jackson told the Chicago Tribune.
No matches have been announced, but several names have already been booked for the show. Along with Cody and the Young Bucks, New Japan’s Kazuchika Okada is booked for the event along with Kenny Omega.
Omega and Okada had a trilogy of matches last year that have been wildly regarded as some of the best wrestling matches to ever take place.
One of big advertised names for the convention is CM Punk, who will be making an appearance for Pro Wrestling T’s.
Tickets were affordable as well, considering recent trends in entertainment, but not so cheap that a sellout is tarnished. Ringside seats went for $153 while premium floor and lower-tier seats were $78. The upper deck would only cost you $28 to get in the door.
“We aren’t doing this to get rich,” Matt Jackson said on Twitter. “We’re doing this to make the business a richer place for wrestlers and fans.”
Capacity for the event is 10,154. Cody noted that they wouldn’t say the event was sold out unless all tickets were filled. He made that announcement 29 minutes after they went on sale yesterday.
Originally, the idea was that the event would only be able to be seen if you were in the arena. There has been no streaming option announced yet, but they are reportedly looking at some options. Considering how quickly the show sold out, there’s an obvious demand. My guess is that an online stream will happen now, especially with all the tickets sold. It opens up another revenue stream and it won’t take away from the live house, where the tickets are already bought.
Where All-In goes after September 1 remains to be seen. Right now, this show will likely be the largest-attended show in the U.S. this year that isn’t a WWE show. In fact, it will out-draw many (most) WWE non-televised events.
Part of that is due to the novelty, which begins to fade if you do it more than once. But if fans are interested in a show like this, a once-per-year event might be long enough gaps to keep it a big show.