Back in 2018, Cody Rhodes, ROH and Tony Khan put on the very first All In event, and that was before AEW even existed as a legitimate pro wrestling promotion.
The result was the biggest independent pro wrestling show in the industry’s history. It was announced earlier this year that Tony Khan would be putting on the follow-up event and at Wembley Stadium of all places—a stadium drenched in pro wrestling history. But now that the somewhat full card is known many are a tad disappointed in the end result after all the hype had been built.
There are indeed great matches planned, but there are way too many misses not to take notice and a big one is not having a third generation pro wrestler added to the mix and a pretty big one at that.
Harry Smith (Davey Boy Smith Jr.) is the son of the late, great, legendary pro wrestler, The British Bulldog. He has been wrestling since he was a child, having learned the tricks of the trade in the original Hart Dungeon at the hands of his father Davey Boy Smith, and grandfather, Stu Hart.
Harry has wrestled in WWE, in NJPW, in the NWA, MLW, OVW and FCW (which were both the previous developmental territories for WWE before NXT was formed as a developmental system for WWE’s up and comers in the business), as well as at many other places—he has made many other significant stops the world over.
The reason he would have been a perfect fit for the All In event is obvious to old school wrestling fans but probably less obvious to a younger generation of fans. Respectfully, let me educate you on why he would have been an epic opening match for the show…
It was in 1992 at Wembley, for WWE (WWF at the time)’s SummerSlam event, and it was in front of that record-breaking audience that the British Bulldog wrestled his brother-in-law, Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship.
Davey Boy Smith, the Bulldog, would go on to win the championship on that night in Wembley, in London, after what is still considered to be one of the greatest matches in SummerSlam history and pro wrestling history—it certainly makes many fans’ top 20, top 10, and this writer’s personal top 5 greatest matches of all-time.
The word ‘epic’ doesn’t even begin to describe how great that match was.
Harry’s, or Davey Boy Smith Jr.’s in-ring style and athleticism, balance, precision and execution in the ring is something we don’t see much of these days. The man was born in the ring and is an obvious addition to any roster. AEW could have tried to acquire him back when WWE released him yet again and for no good reason back in 2021 without ever using him on television a single time.
But alas AEW didn’t acquire the talented wrestler and he went his own way, as he always has, putting on incredible matches on the indies and at smaller promotions.
The opening mach could have featured himself and the likes of, I don’t know, maybe Brian Pillman Jr! How’s that for a wee bit of pro wrestling nostalgia for you?
But alas, AEW let Pillman also slip through their fingers, as his contract expired and he is supposedly already linked to WWE’s NXT. His appearance there is only halted by WWE’s reported hiring freeze until the Endeavor merger goes through officially and finally – as well as medical testing he needs to go through before being officially hired by WWE, according to recent reports by Dave Meltzer and via a piece at Wrestling Inc.).
But overall, AEW has missed the ball with this sadly overhyped event in London. The card is a tad old, tired and a wee bit in the a la WWE way of doing things…building something up way too monstrously only to deliver the same type of matches over and over again, the same feuds we’ve been dealing with for months.
The matches on Dynamite, Collision and Rampage are put together without a single thought to the buildup for the event, with pro wrestlers thrown together for no apparent reason most of the time, just for the sake of having a great match, which many of them undoubtedly are.
We have been given yet another Stadium Stampede match! We have been given Kenny Omega, but not in a singles match, but in a trios match and surprise, surprise, is it a Forbidden Door we’re putting on here or is it an AEW event, because as far as you ask me, we’re really relying way too heavily on the shock factor of bringing in way too many NJPW stars over and over again.
NJPW is an epic promotion, with genius wrestlers, but is it too much to ask for to get AEW wrestlers in feuds with AEW wrestlers? I don’t think so.
The women’s division is an absolute mess, with Britt Baker botching matches left, right and center, monopolizing the locker room with this generation’s version of The Kliq only meaner if that’s at all possible, and she will slow that match down, you can count on it.
And another massive miss is the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega refusing to work with CM Punk. Where the hell’s the business acumen in that? Did these gentlemen learn nothing from all the money lost by the members of Guns N’ Roses and all because they couldn’t get along?
Perhaps not, because we aren’t getting Kenny Omega vs. CM Punk, which would have drawn a lot of money and a lot of attention.
A lackluster card is what we got. There could have been massive buildup for quite the event and in the end we got a plate of leftovers from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner from way back in Tony Khan’s freezer.
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