Pro wrestling is a love story and there was no greater example of this than AEW All In weekend. From the second I boarded my flight to the U.K. to landing at Heathrow Airport to walking the streets of London, I was greeted by the sight of wrestling fans proudly wearing their best merch and buzzing with excitement. The tube (train) stations were plastered with All In posters and the chatter on the ride to Wembley Park was at an all-time high.
Fans flocked to neighboring independent wrestling shows throughout the weekend, the most notable being Revolution Pro’s 11th Anniversary Show at the Copper Box Arena. The show started off hot with a women’s preshow battle royal that featured a surprise appearance from AEW’s Skye Blue and ended strong with Chris Jericho ambushing Will Ospreay in a call back to the original All In in 2018 and Aussie Open running out to make the save. The show had several other highlights, including the in-ring return of Mickie James that literally sparked chants of “Hardcore Country” for the entirety of her triple threat match versus RevPro Undisputed British Women’s Champion, Alex Windsor and Hyan.
Coming off of a magical night at the Copper Box, all roads led to Wembley Stadium and it did not disappoint. As a person who’s loved professional wrestling for most of my life, I can honestly say that was the most unique environment I’d ever been fortunate enough to attend live. Before the preshow even began, the crowd chanted and sang their excitement. It was clear that the people in attendance were true fans of AEW who had waited 5 long years to be able to celebrate the milestones of their favorite wrestling promotion in person. Fans from all over Europe and beyond continued filing into the stadium and it was comforting as a South Carolina girl to know that I wasn’t the only one who was a long way from home.
As the show began, it was clear that the AEW homegrown and Day 1 talent were the most beloved by the 81,035 people in attendance. Stars like MJF, Hikaru Shida, and Britt Baker received some of the biggest pops of the night.
The sole women’s match on the card was a 4-way match (a call back to the original All In) for the AEW Women’s World Championship. The entrances were noteworthy with British-born Saraya walking out to “We Will Rock You” by Queen alongside her family who are well-known on the U.K. wrestling scene. Toni Storm continued to nail her fallen Hollywood starlet gimmick, walking out to “God Save The Queen”. Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D, the only woman in the match to compete in 2018’s All In, came out to much fanfare and a huge firework display. The champion, Hikaru Shida made her way to the ring in all-white and was greeted by a huge ovation from the fans in attendance.
The match itself was fairly short, clocking in at a little over 8 minutes, but it packed in a lot of action. Teases of a split to The Outcasts occurred with Toni Storm and Saraya attempting to pin Britt Baker at the same time. Plus, Toni Storm accidentally hitting Saraya’s mother in the audience didn’t help matters.
Britt Baker hit the curb stomp heard around the world on Toni Storm while Saraya held her in a submission maneuver. Reigning champion Hikaru Shida was as resilient as ever and avoided tapping out to the Lockjaw. However, the rules of the 4-way match weren’t on her side and Saraya was able to pin Toni Storm to win the AEW Women’s World Championship, completing her redemption arc in front of her home country after being forced to retire due to injury 5 years ago.
Another noteworthy moment for the women of AEW was the appearance of Mercedes Moné in the crowd at AEW All In. Saraya’s last match in WWE before retirement was against Mercedes and the two have unfinished business that is likely to be picked back up in AEW once Moné is once again cleared to compete.
There’s a lot of work to be done in the AEW women’s division. All In only featured one women’s match and it was under 10 minutes. Popular faces like Athena, Willow Nightingale, and Kris Statlander were not booked on the All In card. Currently, Kris Statlander is scheduled to face Ruby Soho for the TBS Championship at All Out. AEW CEO Tony Khan has also confirmed that barring injuries, he plans to book Athena vs. Billie Starkz on Zero Hour. Time will tell if opportunities for the women will grow with the recent title changes & possible roster additions.