William Bernbach, one of the greatest minds in advertising stated that “advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.”
When looking at the headline that the Cody Rhodes/Young Bucks financed show ‘All In’ had sold out in a staggering 30 minutes, I realized that the art form of professional wrestling was evolving at a rate that is quite frankly unprecedented. The talent involved isn’t just breaking boundaries inside the ring, they’re adopting a truly DIY ethic to show that a self-produced event without the help of the top ‘mainstream’ promotions can sell out a 10,000 seat arena. In 30 minutes. How can you not consider Cody and the Bucks artists?
If you were to ask a wrestling fan in May of 2017 whether this show would sell out so quickly they would likely laugh you out of the room. Yes, the show has been built on the strength of stars such as IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega, Marty Scurll, Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks. One line of skepticism surrounding their chances was that they’d need CM Punk and/or Daniel Bryan to sell 10,000 tickets. Cue Ron Howard narration, “They didn’t.”
Curiously, CM Punk will be in Chicago during All In weekend for a signing at Pro Wrestling Tees – the Bullet Club affiliated retail store that just so happened to host the All In press conference this past Sunday. The prospect of Punk being involved at All In is exciting, but the hook of Punk’s involvement wasn’t necessary to sell out the Sears Centre.
In the headline I described ‘All In’ as having created a seismic shift in professional wrestling and it cannot be denied that this (currently) one-off special event has already blown away some of the biggest established independent companies in that market historically. Take into account that ECW peaked at around 6,000 fans at a time when wrestling was in the mainstream consciousness and at the highest peak on interest in history, WAY WAY above where we find ourselves in 2018. For a more modern comparison you can look at TNA and their reported 7,200 sales for the Lockdown event in 2013 which had confirmed feuds, storylines and an already well established fanbase to draw from…that’s nearly 33% less than ‘All In.’
When you also consider the fact that there was no major television exposure, there was no paid advertising in the local area AND not one major match has even been announced outside of Cody challenging for the NWA Title? Seismic might not even be the word…this is unprecedented in the history of professional wrestling, Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks have changed the landscape and for the better.
Here’s to All In 2: Electric Boogaloo.