The Women Stole the Show at "All In"
For years, professional wrestling was considered a boys club. In places like WWE, women didn’t truly get a chance to shine, even with bonafide stars like Trish Stratus and Lita leading the pack. The women’s evolution in WWE has now taken full force, and thanks to promotions like SHIMMER, Shine, STARDOM and Impact Wrestling, women are at the forefront.
Some of these promotions were represented in a way this past weekend at “All In”, an event considered independent wrestling’s Woodstock. Based in the Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks signed various stars to make 10,000+ fans happy. While there were a limited number of women shown at the event, they did enough to make a true impact in the minds of the fans.
To start things off, Jordynne Grace was the only female who competed in a 19-person battle royal to determine the number one contender for the Ring of Honor World Title. While she lost, she was one of the final five remaining in the match, and she left a great impression. Already known for dabbling in intergender wrestling, Jordynne hit various dives, while also lifting a 268 lb. Brian Cage up like she was at the gym. She eliminated “The Machine” in impressive fashion. She proved she is as durable, as fearless and as strong as any man who may have been competing that night.
Valets/managers made more of an impact than expected at the “All In” event. Normally, a valet accompanies a wrestler to the ring and rarely gets truly physical with the opponent of the wrestler they represent. Enter Penelope Ford and Brandi Rhodes.
While she did get clavicle surgery and needed time to heal, Brandi put in the work. Not only did Brandi accompany her husband Cody Rhodes and later Flip Gordon to the ring for their separate matches, her being in said matches mattered. While her appearance in the Flip match was more for comedic purposes, the Cody match was everything you could ever want. In the build to the match between him and Nick Aldis for the NWA Worlds Title, Cody stated many times that Brandi was his motivation, that she was the key to everything. It proved to be true when she took bump after bump for him, sacrificing her health for the sake of her husband. When he won the title, she was deemed part of the reason for his victory.
When it comes to Penelope Ford, however, there is no equal. Bringing out her boyfriend Joey Janela to the ring for a street fight against Hangman Page, we all knew how solid of a wrestler Penelope was. What we didn’t know was how far she would go to show she belonged out there.
Penelope’s athleticism, nor can her grit can be denied. She took plenty of bumps throughout the match, all while impressing the audience who just expected a one-on-one slugfest. You do NOT want to miss any event she competes in, for you will be in for a show.
Finally, we get to what I believe was one of the true matches of the night. In the middle of the card, we had the lone women’s match: Britt Baker v. Chelsea Green v. Madison Rayne v. Tessa Blanchard. These four are considered the best female pro wrestlers in the world, outside of WWE. They were given over twelve minutes to show what they could do, and they took advantage of the opportunity.
All four women (especially Tessa) gave it their all. Tessa truly looked like an unstoppable force, using her power and agility to wow the crowd. Chelsea Green, with her “Hot Mess” gimmick, did not disappoint. Her unorthodox wrestling style only added to the match. Madison and Dr. Baker (D.M.D.) each put on impressive displays of athleticism, with the former busting out some dives while the latter stuck with a few stiff superkicks.
Tessa ended up winning the bout, with the crowd giving these ladies a standing ovation and a “this is awesome” chant. It was a moment these four ladies will never forget. Now, can we get this quartet v. WWE’s Four Horsewomen, please?
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” is the old saying, correct? If that is the case, all the women that night took one giant leap at one of the biggest events of the year, maybe even in all of combat sports. Eyes, along with the wallets of various promotions, were opened after “All In” took place.
“All In” can be considered a raging success. A door was left open after for talks regarding a sequel. Let’s hope this time around, there will be more opportunity for women. Regardless, they will continue to find ways to make a small sample size a big moment worth remembering.