Throughout their speeches after ALL IN went off the air on Saturday night (Sept. 1), we heard the same refrain from the show’s promoters and others in the Being The Elite cast...
“There’s a hope and there’s a thirst. You guys want good pro wrestling. You guys want good entertainment. And what we presented to you in those four hours and 57 minutes-oh-my-god was our vision of what we think we can do with pro wrestling... if you guys want it, you want more pro wrestling from the cast of Being The Elite, then my family, my great friends, my cast of bandits, we will give you more of this...”
“And that question, of what happens next with this group? We are sticking together.”
“You guys know where I come from. You guys know where some people want me to go. But guess freaking what? Guess freaking what? What we did today blew everything out of the water... you guys believed in the change, you believed in the movement, you believed in the alternative and thus, we shall continue this journey...”
We could write those words off to the euphoria which comes from proving doubters wrong and pulling off a history-making event. But the sentiment doesn’t seem to have changed as time’s passed. Not every tweet is as clear as this one from Rhodes...
24 hours removed and I can’t stop smiling. One passion led to a new one. I hope it wasn’t my only night as an executive producer. Thanks Matt & Nick for producing it with me. You’re fearless and it was a fearless show. pic.twitter.com/53Fcg4xX3o— Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes) September 3, 2018
... but its difficult to imagine Kenny or The Bucks are are anxious to turn the reins of their careers over to anyone at this point.
Matt and Nick Jackson’s Ring of Honor (ROH) contracts will expire this fall. Omega’s New Japan deal is up in Jan. 2019. Rumors have been swirling all year (or longer) about WWE’s interest in securing the services of the original Elite trio. The financial windfall brought about by their new television contracts and the surge in stock price which came along with them gives Vince McMahon & Triple H the ability to throw a ton of cash at Kenny, The Bucks and anyone they’re interested in. If he wasn’t already, the success of ALL IN surely put Rhodes on that list.
But why on earth would any of those men stop betting on themselves?
There will be a lot of zeros on the next offer from Stamford, and the allure of a WrestleMania moment is strong. Among much of the wrestling fan base, there’s absolutely a sense that you need to make in it WWE to have a truly legendary career. It can be difficult to tell the difference between fan and pro opinions in 2018, so there are surely wrestlers and promoters who think Omega and the Jacksons will always have a footnote to their legacy if they don’t show up on Raw or SmackDown someday.
But the conventionally held beliefs that the Bucks are too small for WWE, or that Vince doesn’t value tag wresting, or that they wouldn’t treat Rhodes any differently a second time around, or know how to handle Omega, can’t be dismissed as baseless. Those concerns have to be in the thoughts of The Elite/ALL IN team as they consider their next moves.
ROH, New Japan and others will be very motivated to keep these guys, too - probably on deals with more money and the same or even increased creative freedom. If Cody, Kenny and the Bucks can secure their financial futures and continue to be industry trailblazers writing their own scripts, what’s the motivation to join the corporate machine?
Plus, it’s not like a WWE contract isn’t still a possibility down the line. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and others have proven you can be a main roster star in the sports entertainment world even if you don’t get pulled into its orbit until you’re nearing or even over 40. The BTE crew could put together another five years as independents and still make a splash at WrestleMania XL.
Wrestlers and industry figures always rely on “never say never” as the answer to questions like whether the ALL IN team will ever head to The ‘E.
But coming out of Labor Day weekend in Chicago, my money says we’ll see ALL IN 2: Double or Nothing long before we see Omega, Rhodes or the Bucks on Raw.