Hi, guys. After attending this weekend’s AEW All In 2023 PPV event from Wembley Stadium, here is my detailed live perspective. This was a long show, so there’s quite a bit to cover.
Before The Event
I’d never been to a major wrestling event before, so seeing the sheer mass of wrestling fans walking around outside of Wembley Stadium was a great feeling. I don’t usually hear people casually talking about wrestling, but I heard it so much throughout. My hope is that whether it’s WWE, AEW, or others holding more regular events, we’ll see more people walking around wearing wrestling merchandise and casually chatting about it.
I’ll also never forget coming out of Wembley Park Station to see the stadium in all its glory. Many fans were exiting the station to get their phones out because it is quite breathtaking. As I walked around, you’d hear random “WOOOO!” chants, which, of course, many associate with Ric Flair, but it was more so for Sting. Several were dressing up in Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin costumes. Also, I’d probably say there was a lack of merchandise stalls, as queues were so long I didn’t bother lining up.
The crowding during entry to the stadium did not seem to have any kind of organization, but the fans were patient and I didn’t see any rushing. Stewards were friendly and professional. Of course, the food and drink prices are extortionate, but that’s no surprise to anyone. I’d say one of the best moments of my weekend was walking through a tunnel to see the stadium from the inside, which is a sight to behold. I got in fairly early, so there were only roughly 25% of seats filled at the time.
Wembley treated us to some quality music while we waited, so the crowd sang along to “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, “Another Brick In The Wall” by Pink Floyd, and others. They played a Queen song for about a minute before abruptly stopping it, which disappointed many people. What you wouldn’t have heard reported anywhere is that a section of the crowd sang “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” as a tribute to Bray Wyatt. Sadly, it did not get loud enough for the rest of the fans to sing along. And that will be the general theme of this piece: Many of The Chants You Hear On The Broadcast Were Way Louder In Person.
The first wrestler we saw was Powerhouse Hobbs, who took pleasure in calling us all a bunch of chavs, before Miro showed up to a thunderous response. I didn’t have the best view because of one of those black boxes attached to a pillar, as well as being too close to the ground. I didn’t see anybody else doing this, but I brought some quality binoculars, and I’m so glad that I did. Unless you’re literally at ringside, you might as well bring something, even if it’s a cheap pair.
Jeff Jarrett’s segment drew significant heat, but I’d say Grado got one of the best pops of the night. It was a fun little segment to tie us over until Zero Hour began. Aside from that, we had a “Justin Roberts” chant, and also a fairly loud “Tony Schiavone” chant, as they each prepared themselves for future announcing.
“Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” chants were fairly loud but paled in comparison to MJF & Adam Cole, who were the first major stars seen at the event. I’d predicted that Cole & MJF would not walk out as champions, and I reckon many others thought the same, because the crowd reaction was palpable. It was somewhat of a shock, as many may have assumed that this match was meant to set up tension before the main event. Instead, it had the opposite effect, which played a pivotal role later.
After watching the actual broadcast, I saw that AEW showed promos, hype videos, and a talk panel, none of which were seen on the stadium’s screens. Some of the audience may have missed out on key points. For example, I didn’t know Chris Jericho attacked Will Ospreay last night at Rev Pro, as nobody at the venue was told about it. We didn’t hear Britt Baker’s promo about the “complacent women’s division”, among other things. Also, we did not see the commentary team on any screens until after the Jericho/Ospreay match, so they got a pop when that happened.
Nigel McGuinness got a large cheer when his music played, but I couldn’t see him because he was on the floor, and the screens didn’t show him. The show could have used someone like Nigel to welcome us to All In 2023, even if it was only a minute of time. Despite these minor details, I was fairly impressed with the production. They understandably put a lot of time and effort into getting this right. This version of Wembley Stadium had never hosted a wrestling event before, so there were bound to be some hiccups, but that’s all they were.
As the Hook & Jack Perry match began, fans were still making their way to seats. This continued right up to the start of the main show. In the FTW Championship match, Jack Perry got called a “wanker” a lot, and it was far louder in person, suggesting that AEW may have employed some audio tricks. He had major heat, while Hook didn’t get as much support as I was hoping for. To me, Zero Hour didn’t feel like a pre-show, simply because we saw things happening before it, and these two matches could have easily been on the main show.
The incredible number of matches means I’ve got to break this up where I can. To me, it’s important to share how I felt watching it and how the crowd around me reacted. It often felt like chants began on the east side of the stadium and would either peter out or would make their way around like a Mexican wave. Hearing the acoustics of a stadium like Wembley was intriguing. I bet there were chants happening on the other side that I couldn’t hear. I know for a fact that the broadcast didn’t pick up on half the chants. With that said, here is what I took away from each match.
#1. CM Punk (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the Real World Championship
This had the most mixed reaction of the night. While the “Joe” chants were loud and fairly frequent, I could hear spotty “CM Punk” chants followed by reactive jeers against anyone supporting him. Despite many knowing Punk would win, the match ending was a little unexpected, likely because many are unaware of his ROH finisher, the Pepsi Plunge.
They probably went with this finish because Punk had struggled to hit Joe with a convincing GTS in the buildup. The only clear pop that Punk got was when he posed with a sign about trans rights. Otherwise, this crowd was 75% Joe and 25% Punk. It was a surprisingly good match that exceeded my prior expectations.
#2. The Golden Elite vs. Bullet Gold & Konosuke Takeshita
It didn’t come across well on the broadcast, but Bullet Club Gold got a strong reaction, and Kenny Omega was an absolute star. I heard the odd “Ibushi” and “Cowboy Shit” chants, but it was nothing compared to the recurring singing of Kenny Omega, or the lesser chants of “Kenny”. Don Callis had the strongest heel reaction of the night, and Takeshita’s surprise win shocked and dumbfounded everyone. Nobody saw that coming.
It should also be noted that Takeshita & Callis’ ‘music’ was extremely annoying. Because the sound system had some of the deepest bass I have ever heard, it felt like it was going through my entire body. I was only happy when this ear sore finally ended, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it upset some of the attending children. It’s probably the worst entrance music since Right To Censor. Otherwise, the match was very good.
#3. FTR (c) vs. The Young Bucks for the AEW World Tag Team Championship
I was already beginning to feel numbness sitting in my hard seat, but I had to stay for this. However, it may surprise some to know that many attendees left to go get food, drink, or take a toilet break. I did not expect FTR vs. Young Bucks to be on so early, and my guess is many fans didn’t understand the potential it had to steal the show.
And then it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it ended well, but the crowd did not react much to the first three quarters. There wasn’t a whole lot going on. The crowd kept itself amused by singing my new favorite “Wheeler’s Got A Gun… Got A Gun… Wheeler’s Got A Gun”, but that was all I can say about it. There were some Young Bucks and FTR chants, but they weren’t loud enough. The last five minutes were some of the best stuff we saw all night, but those who left to do whatever, chose the perfect moment to do so.
#4. Eddie Kingston, Penta El Zero M, Orange Cassidy & Best Friends vs. The Blackpool Combat Club, Santana & Ortiz in Stadium Stampede
I was pretty annoyed because just as this match was about to start, I figured I’d go refill my water bottle and have a quick toilet break. I was halfway up the steps when I heard Jon Moxley’s theme play. Hearing fans yelling all around me, I turned around to see Moxley and the BCC walking right by where I had been sitting. In other words, had I stayed in my seat, I would have got some neat video of the BCC walking toward the ring. Instead, I whipped out my phone and got what I could from a distance, before turning so I could do what I had planned on doing.
When I got back, the action had spilled out all over. When Eddie Kingston and Claudio Castagnoli fought in the VIP section, my binoculars allowed me to see them fighting from the other side of the stadium. Because of where I was sitting and the fact that much of the action happened on the floor around the ring, I missed out on several things that I only saw after watching the broadcast yesterday. This was a fun match! And the fans were well into it. By far the biggest reaction came when Jon Moxley had the skewers bashed into his skull. “Sue” was pretty loud, too. This was a fun watch and the crowd was buzzing throughout.
#5. Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Saraya vs. Toni Storm vs. Britt Baker for the AEW Women’s Championship
Naturally, anytime you play Queen in the UK, everyone is going to sing along, and Saraya knew this. It was a smart choice for an entrance theme as it provided a big match feel. Despite that, while she entered, I saw more people leaving for a break than any other match. Many saw the women’s title match as the best time for this, which is unfortunate, but I’m not surprised given its place on the card. This was a long arse show with no obvious breaks between matches, so only the absolutely dedicated would have remained in their seat for over 5 hours.
While some said this was a lackluster contest, I thought it was really good. Yes, I wanted Jamie Hayter to be involved somehow, and was a little disappointed when that didn’t happen, but it didn’t spoil the night for me. When Toni Storm accidentally hit Saraya’s mother, there was a loud “You F****d Up!” chant. It was surprising to see The Outcasts implode so easily, but what was more so was the reaction to Saraya’s win.
There was a delayed reaction to the emotion behind it. The initial pop was sweet, but it wasn’t until she sat crying in the ring a few minutes later that a surge of support happened from nowhere. It’s like everybody collectively clocked on to how much this moment meant to her, so she was given an ovation that wasn’t heard well enough on the broadcast. Yes, it was a predictable result, but there was a time when she was considered retired, so to get this moment in the UK with her family and country behind her will always stay with her.
#6. Darby Allin and Sting vs. Swerve Strickland and Christian Cage in a Coffin match
The stadium went absolutely bonkers when Sting said, “It’s SHOWTIME!”, followed by the surprise of Metallica’s Seek & Destroy. Man, I had goosebumps. Getting to see Sting in person will always remain with me. I probably used my binoculars the most for this and was lucky enough to see the Stinger Splash, the Scorpion Death Drop, and the Scorpion Death Lock. Those are a bunch of moves I never, ever thought I’d witness anywhere other than a television screen.
The funniest thing for me was when Sting and Christian Cage had this stare-down that randomly birthed a “TNA” chant. Again, I never thought I’d live to be in a venue with a loud TNA chant. I have been an Impact Wrestling fan for years, so it was a nice reference. It was a thoroughly entertaining match from start to finish, and while I was thinking about another break, there was no way it was happening just yet.
I can’t remember if it was during this match or the next, but it looked like someone tried to get into a fight, and security proceeded to throw him out. My side of the stadium began a “Nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye” chant.
It befuddles me how someone can pay for a ticket, their travel, and hospitality, and then decide to get thrown out for being an idiot. Another guy got through out during the main event. Don’t be one of those people. Be respectful of those around you. Even more so if you’re just there to get drunk with friends like the guy behind me. This dude had probably never seen an AEW show in his life, and he was out of it at this point. Luckily, he left before the main event, so I could enjoy it in peace.
Just before the next match, I used my binoculars to see a few guys standing in the dark on the entryway, with one guy sporting a big white costume. I figured it was Fozzy getting set up for Judas, and I was right.
#7. Chris Jericho vs. Will Ospreay
Another tribute to Queen, and more so Freddie Mercury on this occasion, as Chris Jericho had us doing the Live Aid-esque “HEEEEEEEEY-OOOOOO”. No one will ever do it like Freddie, but I still appreciated it. Again, I must stress that the broadcast sucked at picking up just how loud the stadium sang Judas. It was so loud I could hear it over my singing. There’s no doubt it was the loudest ever singing of Judas, but you can’t tell if you watch the PPV from home. You just have to believe me on this.
And then there’s Will Ospreay, who got a very nice reception. He got a frequent singing chant of his own, which went (like the Ole tune) “Ospreay…. Ospreay, Ospreay, Ospreay…. Ospreay.. Ospreay”. At one point I heard a “Let’s Go Ospreay, Y2J” thing forming, but it didn’t get loud enough for TV. But aside from chants, I was so very pleased with this match, mostly because Chris Jericho was at the top of his game. He was moving around the ring like it was twenty years ago. I can only assume he trained extra hard for this, and he likely got in the ring with Ospreay to practice some spots.
Although Callis was at ringside, he got zero heat because they didn’t use him. Ospreay was technically working as the babyface, so Callis didn’t need to do much. Sammy Guevara’s lack of involvement felt like a waste. They could have used him for something else. Instead, he was there just so Chris Jericho had someone to be frustrated with. Yet, the important thing is the main goal of this was accomplished. They ensured that if anyone didn’t know who Will Ospreay is, they will now know who Will Ospreay is.
#8. House Of Black (c) vs. The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn for the AEW World Trios Championship
Both entrances were spectacular, although I didn’t hear the funny Prince Andrew remark until I later replayed a video I shot on my phone. It should be noted that I completely missed House Of Black’s Bray Wyatt tribute of holding a lantern. It wasn’t clear to the audience, and that’s disappointing because had I known, I would have turned on my phone’s torch to join the fireflies. It’s one of those things you can easily miss out on when you can’t see everything or have commentary telling you what’s going on.
I saw the entrances and then went for my second and last break, with the knowledge that this was the penultimate match. Yes, I completely missed that funny Julia Hart spot (when Billy Gunn and The Acclaimed got her good). I could hear the crowd barking like Brody King as I stood in line to refill my water bottle. What surprised me the most, after I returned, was that The Acclaimed won clean, and then the House Of Black showed them respect. That was a strange decision to me, although the theme of the night seems to be that of earning respect and embracing friendship.
When Anthony Bowens asked everyone to throw up their scissors, all I could see was a sea of people throwing them up in the air. It was truly glorious. The Acclaimed brought everyone together in that moment, and it was wonderful.
#9. MJF (c) vs. Adam Cole for the AEW World Championship
It was getting late, but the fans had retained some energy. “BOOM”, and “ADAM COLE BAY BAY!” were loud. Most of the stadium was humming along to MJF’s music. Luckily for me, I could actually see MJF on his throne because it was raised high enough for me to see over the fans sitting on the pitch. There was some awesome storytelling going on here, to the point that MJF made himself the de facto babyface with cheap tricks, while Adam Cole’s rightful frustration made him the de facto heel.
The chair bit, though… Eddie Guerrero style. I almost died of laughter. That was so very well done. I found it amusing when the fans had a random “This Is Friendship” chant going, and MJF reciprocated by getting a handshake from Cole. I cannot remember a main event like this, where two guys everyone expects to turn on each other, somehow don’t turn on each other, and still make it work in the end. It feels like a match I’d need to break down bit by bit, but that’s too much effort at this point.
I loved how the air was sucked out of the room when the match ended in a draw, and how it came back when MJF said “Let’s go til we have a f*****g winner at Wembley!”, before the restart. It got a lot more fun when the referee was knocked down. In a way, Roderick Strong was the true heel in this story. Both men fought hard to fight the urge to turn, and in the end, we got a respectful end.
Yeah, so it ended with a roll-up, but I don’t care about that. This match did not need a flashy ending because the overall substance was fluid enough that it didn’t hurt anything. However, I will say that MJF should have got on the microphone in the aftermath. We couldn’t hear what he was saying to his dejected tag team partner, and it would have been better to hear what he saying, but I think most would have got the gist.
Over a month ago, I was skeptical about MJF vs. Adam Cole headlining this, but they absolutely nailed it. They smashed it out of the stadium. The storytelling was top notch, and it didn’t go anything like many were expecting it too. That’s how you book a show. You don’t want to make it an obvious paint by numbers deal. Leave the audience guessing.
Just like other earlier pyro (we prefer to call them fireworks) displays, the one that ended the show was spectacular. I had a feeling we’d get another surprise after the broadcast ended, and we did. MJF and Adam Cole thanked everybody before announcing that this was so much fun they will be coming back next year. Tony Khan got in the ring and confirmed the news. After probably working on this show all day, he was so excited to make the announcement that he was almost screaming it. After that, I set about getting out of the stadium and took one last video of Wembley before departing.
It felt historic. I went into this not expecting us to get another show so soon. Will I return next year? I don’t know. I’d like to, but I also can’t afford to go on holiday and go to London. And by the way, London is expensive. It’s fine if you have plenty of money to splash, but if you’re like me, it’s not somewhere you can afford to go too often. Yet, no matter what happens, this was absolutely worth the time and money spent.
Could it have been a better show? Sure. Should they have built up to it sooner? Absolutely. Was it a thoroughly entertaining show worthy of any true wrestling fan? 100% yes. Highly recommended. If you didn’t do it this year, I would tell you to give it a try next year. You won’t be disappointed! There’s a lot more that I could say about this event that I have not covered here, but I recognize this piece is fairly lengthy, so I’ll leave it to you guys to share your thoughts. I’ll answer any questions you have in the comments section. And with that, I thank you for taking time out of your day to read up on my live perspective of AEW All In 2023 from Wembley Stadium. Have a lovely week.
PS: Sadly, the videos I took on my phone were not high enough quality to share, so I’m keeping them to myself for nostalgia purposes. Still, I’ll share a few of the not-so terrible pictures.