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AEW breaks attendance record, and hits all the right notes, at ‘All In’ in London

Chris Graham
aew all in london
Photo: AEW

AEW announced a paid crowd of 81,035 for its “All In” show in London on Sunday, and put on a show worthy of what would be, once verified, a paid attendance record for a live wrestling event.

Among the highlights, AEW world champ Maxwell Jacob Friedman retained with a win over his tag-team partner, Adam Cole, in the main event, hours after the duo had won the Ring of Honor tag titles in the show’s opening match.

The other claimant to the world title, former champ CM Punk, retained his “real world championship,” with a win over long-time rival Samoa Joe, the Ring of Honor TV champ.

The match of the night, and perhaps the match of the year, saw FTR retain the AEW tag championship with a dramatic win over The Young Bucks, putting the finishing touch on the two teams’ long rivalry over the title the best tag team in the world.

The other highlight match was for the AEW women’s world title, which saw UK native Saraya come out on top in the four-way match, defeating two-time women’s champ Hikaru Shida and former champs Toni Storm and Britt Baker.

Critical analysis

Rare for me here, but, nothing critical.

The setup and the broadcast felt like what WWE does for its annual Wrestlemania shows, which is quite the feat when you consider that AEW had never in its four-year history put on a show anything comparable in terms of size and breadth.

There were no botched moves, no botched finishes, no illogical finishes, and the broadcast hit every note.

Considering the behind-the-scenes drama the past several months, this was the home run of all home runs for the AEW team.

One note about ‘backstage drama’

The other news of the night was a reported backstage altercation with CM Punk and Jack Perry, the son of the late “Beverly Hills 90210” actor Luke Perry.

According to several published reports, Perry confronted Punk moments before the start of the pay-per-view portion of the event, after his match with Hook, who won the FTW title from Perry, and the two had to be separated.

Perry, during the match, turned to the camera and said, “It’s real glass, cry me a river,” referencing an earlier reported confrontation that he’d had with Punk backstage at a recent “Collision” live TV show, in which Punk vetoed a planned spot that Perry had wanted to do that would have had him being put through glass for an angle in a filmed backstage segment.

According to the reports, Perry initiated the interaction with Punk backstage at Wembley, getting into Punk’s face and bumping him back.

Punk reportedly responded by putting Perry in a chokehold.

Perry might be updating his resume before he heads back to the States.

Swerves

Swerves from how you think things are going to go are what make good wrestling.

Credit goes first tonight to Kenny Omega and Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, for not exercising their power as company executives – executive vice presidents, at that – to put themselves over in their matches.

It had to be tempting. There will never be another first-ever AEW show in Wembley in front of 81,035 paid fans, thus never another opportunity to walk to the back with your hands raised in victory on the biggest night in company history.

Omega, the former AEW champ and one-time best wrestler in the world, shockingly, took the fall in his trios match, putting Konosuke Takeshita over, giving the young talent a signature win.

That one will no doubt build a story between Omega and Takeshita that should play out to further elevate Takeshita on the AEW ladder.

The Bucks putting FTR over was even more unexpected. The win for FTR gives them two Ws in three matches with the Bucks, likely settling the long-running debate over who the best tag team of the current generation is once and for all.

OK, yeah, sure, bring on The Usos, gotcha.

The other swerve worth noting was the booking for the MJF-Cole match. It seemed that we were headed toward the inevitable breakup occurring tonight on the big stage, but Tony Khan figured out a way to get some more run out of the hottest storyline his company has had in years.

MJF got the win, but it wasn’t convincing, and at the end of the night, the tag partners embraced, meaning, among other things, more bro-chacos, more T-shirt sales, more time, in general, for this unlikely pairing to draw eyeballs on “Dynamite” and “Collision,” until the inevitable – yes, it’s inevitable – breakup.

Notebook

Mercedes Mone, the former Sasha Banks, was featured in several shots on camera during the show, though, curiously, not at all during the women’s title match.

You have to assume that she’ll be in AEW soon.

UK native Will Ospreay got the win, as expected, over former AEW champ Chris Jericho in a featured match.

Ospreay has mentioned on TV that his contract with New Japan is up in a few months.

This win over Jericho, after Ospreay notched a W over Omega at the “Forbidden Door” show back in June, is likely leading up to Ospreay debuting as a top-of-the-card guy when he eventually comes to the States full-time next year.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].