Not only has the inaugural All In event generated so much buzz that all 10,000 tickets were sold out in under 30 minutes, but it's also created plenty of intrigue based on its main event alone – the only announced match of the event, in fact.
During the All In press conference, Cody Rhodes made it known that he was looking to acquire the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, currently held by Nick Aldis. Weeks later, Aldis came to the ring during the Ring of Honor UK tour and made the match official.
Aldis told Cody Rhodes that he had made the title match without even asking him. He then said that, if Cody Rhodes is "All In," that makes him "The Dealer," since he's got what Cody's going all in for.
At the end of the encounter, the two shook hands, and the title match was officially set for September 1. But now there was also the condition that it will be an NWA Worlds Championship vs. Ring of Honor World Championship match, if Cody is able to win the ROH title before All In.
As we get closer to @ALL_IN_2018, @RealNickAldis called himself "The Dealer" and he had one card that changed the game in latest #TenPoundsOfGold- NWA (@nwa) June 1, 2018
Watch now - https://t.co/OTRL2SaYTy pic.twitter.com/B7d1KWmROh
For Aldis, reestablishing his brand after spending many years in Impact Wrestling is something that he's making a top priority. Only agreeing to appear in Impact short-term for his last stint to help out Jeff Jarrett to return the favour of JJ helping his career, Aldis felt the offer made for to him to stay was grossly insufficient.
"I could see the way things were panning out there, and it just didn't look like a lot of fun," says Aldis. "But I wish them well."
His move to the National Wrestling Alliance involved Billy Corgan (yes, that Billy Corgan, not scared off by his TNA experience) and Dave Lagana having talks with Aldis to see if he was interested in being the person to help them re-establish the prestigious brand.
"Dave gave me a call last summer, and I had seen that Billy had bought the NWA and wasn't sure what he was planning to do with it," Aldis says.
[Smashing Pumpkin turned NWA owner Billy Corgan]
"But I kind of had an idea in mind of what he wanted to do. And then Dave basically laid out what their initial vision was. I listened mostly, and they asked me where things are happening for me as for as WWE, or TNA, or Ring of Honor, or anything else.
"I basically said that I hadn't gotten anywhere with WWE, and, you know, there's a myriad of reasons why that could potentially be the case, no-one really gives you a straight answer there anyway. I've heard a few different versions of it, but I wedged to see if it was something that I wanted to see where it could have went."
After explaining his current status with WWE and Impact Wrestling, Aldis told Lagana that he was open to the ideas that NWA had if something came up. Shortly after, Corgan called Aldis and laid out his vision on what he had for NWA, and it was in line with what Aldis had in mind.
Feeling that there's too much emphasis on one particular wrestling style, Aldis wanted to bring what makes wrestling captivating to watch.
"The beauty of pro wrestling is being able to embrace a character and make people feel something," he says.
[Nick Aldis as Brutus Magnus in TNA Impact Wrestling]
"The thing that I felt like was missing was this element of creating a big match sort of feel, like a big fight feel for that company, for like a title bout, or for a particular rivalry or something. There weren't any rivalries. Everything was either very, very Hollywood, or it was very like a dream match, like this great wrestler against this great wrestler, but for no reason.
"Neither of those really pushed my buttons, I always enjoyed the rivalry, and then creative ways to get to the culmination of it. And that sort of fit with what Billy saw as well, as far as what he wanted to present, and we felt like the time was right, for the nostalgia element of the NWA heyday in the '80s was starting to work its way back into the consciousness of the fans.
"I think a lot of that, WWE could be credited for that from the [WWE] Network, but also things like the 30 for 30 on Ric Flair that did so well, and a lot of people realised, 'I do miss that style and presentation', and that slightly more adult type of presentation as far as not being afraid to take this seriously."
With Aldis, Corgan, and Lagana's brainstorming, they figured a new way of presenting the old school NWA brand to a potentially new audience. Aldis explains that no pro wrestling company is in a position to compete with WWE, but NWA can be something different that engages an audience.
[Former NWA Champion Ric Flair]
"[WWE] is so far ahead in terms of market share and their resources, that it's just no point in trying to jump into that space with live events and TV and this and that," he says.
"All you really got to do is create a product that makes people interested and generates buzz. And, obviously, we've been able to do that."
With the brand of Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks along with the NWA generating an increased level of support, Aldis feels that intersecting these two brands was just the natural thing to do.
He adds that "good energy finds good energy" and the two brands are equally attracted to one another as far as the success that is happening with All In and NWA, and it was mutually beneficial to work together.
Aldis also felt that the All In mission was similar to his, as he wanted the NWA title to get back to being a traveling championship with the goal of defending it at a big show. With all the legendary past title holders like Ric Flair, Harley Race, and Jack Brisco, Aldis feels that it deserves to be defended in front of large crowds.
Aldis's goal is to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship and main event against Cody Rhodes, who may well be the ROH World Champion by the time All In takes place.
What a wonderfully creative crowdsourced poster for @RealNickAldis vs @CodyRhodes the @NWA Worlds Title Match at @ALL_IN_2018- NWA (@nwa) June 3, 2018
Great work by @LetsBeWater https://t.co/zL4OS4xBaD
Watch #TenPoundsOfGold https://t.co/OTRL2SaYTy pic.twitter.com/G8ymnPn0rg
With the ROH fanbase being packed with millennials and the NWA crowd typically being more traditional, combining those two crowds together for All In is exactly what Aldis wants. It'll not only expand the audience for each product, but make both brands expand their skill set to impress both types of crowds.
"We had a lot of our fans in the beginning questioning our [intentions]," said Aldis. "'Why are you getting in with these guys?'. [I had to say], hold on. Cody Rhodes, first of all, he's a brilliant talent. No-one respects the tradition of this business more than him. And obviously, it's in his blood. So, I don't think it's that big of a stretch.
"I think [All In] is the perfect vehicle to bring together all these different visions… we all want the same thing, which is to be big time pro wrestlers. But it's just some of us want to be big time without having to be in the big company, or because we can't be in the big company for whatever reason.
[Nick Aldis in a past life as Oblivion in the Sky reboot of Gladiators]
"So, a lot of wrestlers in my generation made a big mistake where they put all of their value and all of their effort went into just getting signed. That's all they care about. 'I just wanna get signed, I wanna get a contract'. Well, I guarantee you that a lot of guys, especially the ones in the last couple of years, who have signed contracts, are now sitting around going like, 'Is this it?'.
"You have to have a very clear vision of who you want to be, not just what. Because, if your goal is to just get a contract, then you're already laying your cards on the table, to use the All In analogy. You're basically showing everyone, I just want to be a part of the machine and that's it.
"No, I want to be a big time pro wrestler. I want people to care about a match I have. I want people to say, 'Man, I can't wait to see this'. Like, 'This gave me goosebumps'.
"When you look at the feedback to the build so far to Cody and I for All In, I will never sit here and take credit for that show selling out in 30 minutes. That's an absolute testament to the loyalty that the Young Bucks have built and now that Cody has also become a part of and Marty, and the other guys in the Bullet Club and the other guys involved as well.
"This is a result of a lot of people's vision and hard work...including mine. I had a vision of my head where I wanted to put the Worlds Championship again."@RealNickAldis- NWA (@nwa) June 1, 2018
Watch #TenPoundsOfGold now - https://t.co/OTRL2RTnuY pic.twitter.com/IcX7064KPY
"I wasn't a part of the world, although I kind of was in a different way because I have a history with Marty, I have a history with Nick and Matt [Jackson]." Aldis said that he, The Young Bucks and Kazuchika Okada were all in the TNA locker room and "no-one was paying us a second thought".
Now, each of these names have built themselves to become top names of the NWA, Ring of Honor, and New Japan, with Aldis as the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion and Okada as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
You can see all of these competitors at the All In event in Chicago, Illinois on September 1.
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