All In: Five Years Later

Some memories of the first All In show from 2018.

All In took place at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois on Sept. 1, 2018. The building is currently called the Now Arena. The independent show sold out in like 29 minutes with over 10,000 tickets moved. It was the first show to do that large of a crowd in the U.S. outside of WWE or WCW since 1993. All In has also been called the biggest independent wrestling show ever.

Wrestlers from Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Impact, NWA, MLW, CMLL and AAA were all on the show. Everyone banded together to make this show happen, which was really cool. It’s a lot more common now with the wide open, forbidden doors but back then it was still pretty rare to see this level of collaboration. It has already been five years since that historic Saturday night, which is crazy.

I don’t remember all the details from the actual show but the matches were great. I do remember the energy in the building was electric and off the charts though. Everyone was so happy and excited to be there. WWE was pretty much garbage at the time and had been for years. It was so bad. There was no real quality, major alternative to them. Wrestling fans were absolutely sick of WWE and wanted something else. That was the feeling of this event, which was even evident by how fast the show sold out. Everyone knew they were part of something special. It created this really positive buzz and atmosphere with all the events that took place during that week. I don’t think I’ve felt that at a wrestling show before or since then.

I went to All In with one of my best friends, who flew in from out of state. At the time I was somewhat out of the loop on what was going on and didn’t follow a lot of the people on the card as closely as other hardcore fans. I remember I had to ask my friend what some of the chants even meant because I had no clue. I still knew most of the people on the card though. We also attended the first Starrcast convention at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg where a lot of the wrestlers and legends were also at during All In week. We went to another independent show in Chicago for AAW at the Logan Square Auditorium on Aug. 30. I remember one of the matches there between Jeff Cobb and ACH was fantastic.

I was pretty hyped to see Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega live on this night at All In. Cody Rhodes winning the NWA title from Nick Aldis was a great moment and the crowd went crazy for it. Chris Jericho made a surprise appearance that was awesome. We had really great seats too. We were lucky to even be in the building since it sold out so fast. All In is still one of the best wrestling shows I’ve ever attended. It turned out to be really special. It was an incredibly fun show and the atmosphere inside the building was amazing too. The crowd added a lot to the show, especially since the building sold out. The Sears Centre/Now Arena is still a great place to see wrestling.

The massive success of All In led to the creation of All Elite Wrestling in January 2019 as a real alternative to WWE. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes got together with billionaire Tony Khan to form the company. AEW got a television deal with WarnerMedia for a weekly show on TNT called Dynamite that debuted in October 2019. The rest is history.

I couldn’t imagine back then that All In would lead to AEW becoming how big it is now in such a short time. All In and the creation of AEW changed wrestling forever. Now AEW just did the biggest paid event ever in pro wrestling, which was also called All In. The company sold over 81,000 tickets for the show at Wembley Stadium in London.

The original All In will go down as one of the most important shows in wrestling history. It was a cool experience to be there from the beginning.

Watch this compilation video of different live moments from the show:

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