Minutes to Bell Time

Thoughts on AEW All In

Tony Khan Has a Major Announcement

On last night’s Dynamite broadcast, Tony Khan made one of his “major announcements.” While many of the AEW hyped announcements fail to garner significant interest, this one was in fact a MAJOR announcement.

It isn’t a mistake or coincidence that AEW is using the “All In” name for this show. Similar to the 2018 event organized by the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Cody Rhodes where nobody thought they could sell out a 10,000 seat arena in Chicago . . . people feel the same way about AEW selling out the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium. There’s just no chance.

In the past, AEW has booked buildings too small. The most recent example of that is the Forbidden Door 2 show in Toronto that had almost all 12,800 tickets evaporate during the presale.

No matter how many tickets AEW sells for All In, nobody will be able to say that they booked too small a building. The real question in my mind is what amount of tickets marks the threshold of success in the realm of public perception. If AEW were to sell out a 25,000 seat building (like the much talked about Craven Cottage) for their London debut, that would be an enormous success and it would also be the biggest show they’ve ever done. Instead, they have booked a building more than 3x the capacity of Craven Cottage.

What Will AEW Do

I’m of two minds.

First, I worry that the building is too big and if AEW doesn’t sell north of 70,000 tickets, it will be viewed as a failure by the public.

Second (and I will expound upon and theorize about this point more), I’m so eager to see what collection of matches and stories AEW puts forward in order to make a good showing at Wembley Stadium:

  • Khan will obviously heavily feature his already established European born talent (Claudio, Jamie Hayter, Saraya, Pac, Anthony Ogogo, Malakai Black) plus other talent on loan from his partners (Will Ospreay).
  • A bold move of this nature has me convinced that CM Punk will return to the company and work a major program on this show against either Kenny Omega or Jon Moxley.
  • Mike Johnson of PW Insider reported over WrestleMania weekend that Drew McIntyre’s contract with WWE is set to expire this year, and he has not yet signed a new deal. If Drew hits free agency in the next 12 weeks, one would have to imagine that Tony Khan would open his wallet to bring him on board and then heavily feature him to bolster ticket sales for Wembley Stadium.
  • Sting is set to retire sometime this year, and it makes sense that if his retirement match is not booked for Wembley, then perhaps a major stop on his retirement tour would be on the marquee. The problem is that I can’t think of an appropriate opponent from his past to do the honor. Perhaps someone can wear the Black Scorpion mask that haunted him during his first world title run.

Let’s say AEW builds a great series of matches around their biggest stars (including their European talent), brings in talent from their partners, adds Drew McIntyre to the roster, and does a special tribute for Sting. Is that enough to draw more than 70,000 fans to Wembley. I’m not sure it is, but I am eager for them to book the best show possible. Shoot for the moon and land among the stars.

All In, All Out, Grand Slam 

What’s also of major interest to me is that according to tradition, AEW will run Chicago (either the typical NOW Arena or the rumored United Center) just seven days later for their All Out pay per view. If they do run All Out in Chicago, I would typically say that the storylines going into the London show would have to be a one-two punch such that we’re not waiting for the results of All In to know what our All Out matches will be.

On the other hand, perhaps that line of thinking isn’t correct in an age where PPV buys happen at the last minute and tickets move based on the brand name (All Out). In other words, maybe AEW is confident they’ll sell out in Chicago even if they don’t announce matches until the go home broadcast of Dynamite. In truth, that might be right consider I already have plane tickets and a hotel booked for Labor Day weekend in Chicago. I’m not normal, and I tend to plan everything way in advance.

All that said, AEW’s Grand Slam II show drew 13,800 fans to Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens when the previous years show drew over 20,000 to the same venue. If AEW keeps with that tradition, then they’ll have that venue for a September 20th show.


So it all presents opportunity, but of course opportunity swings two ways. It is both an opportunity to make a huge statement with major successes inside a 25-30 day period, but it is also an opportunity for AEW to fall flat on their face by spreading both themselves and their fans too thin.

Whether it’s a period of great success or great failure, it’s easy to see that Tony Khan and AEW are putting all their chips on the board.

They’re All In.

Ryan Joy and John D’Aconti host the Daily Wrestling New Show podcast. They’re focused on Teaching, Learning, and Remembering the history of Professional Wrestling with everyone that wants to join them. 

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