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    Ben and Mystic's "All In" Go Home Special

    Do the Work

    By Mystic

    That’s the part of pro wrestling I love--there’s a passion there” (Billy Corgan).

    “For any second-generation guy like that, whose father was well known, well respected, and has that pull, there’s always going to be that knowledge that you knew there was a spot waiting for you. Anyone else who doesn’t have that established path, we have to do all of those things that he did, but without the knowledge that there is an opportunity for us if we do the work” (Nick Aldis).

    “I don’t believe I’ve been given a gift from God to be a pro wrestler, but I do the work” (Cody Rhodes).

    I was born before Cody Rhodes. I began watching wrestling in 1991, when Cody Rhodes was six years old. At that time, Harley Race was transitioning into managing the heavyweight champion, Lex Luger. A man named Dusty Rhodes was about to be in the corner of Luger’s first Pay-Per-View opponent as world champion, Ron Simmons.

    This week I ran into a colleague who told me, “I just put something in your mailbox.”

    I walked upstairs at my place of work, checked my mailbox, and it was a pack of WCW wrestling cards from 1991.

    How many ways this gesture blew my mind.

    I was watching wrestling when those cards originally came out. And, more so, though I’ve maybe watched about two years of wrestling in the last twenty years, that gesture found me at a time where I’m not only a wrestling fan, but I’m a wrestling fan like I was almost thirty years ago.

    That’s thanks to Lucha Underground. That’s thanks to the NWA, Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. In such a big and profound way, that’s thanks to Cody Rhodes.

    And do you know how I know I’m truly a wrestling fan again?

    I’m worried about what will happen tomorrow night at All In.

    (Thanks, Cody Rhodes.)

    You see, I’m not traveling to All In to see classic matches (though I wouldn’t be mad at that). I’m not traveling to All In to see the ghost of CM Punk (though we never say never in pro wrestling). I’m not traveling to All In to see my current favorite wrestler, Pentagon (though that is now my second favorite thing).

    I am traveling to All In for one reason and one reason only, and that is to see history made by non-WWE, “Independent” wrestling. For me, that means Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks selling out a 10,000 seat arena--


    just as equally,

    It means Cody Rhodes winning the NWA Championship.

    So, as I go back in my mind, in my memory, to my brother and I, at 6 and 8 years old, watching wrestling for the first time, watching at 9:05 and 6:05 and 6:05 the next day, too, watching Dusty and Flair, Luger and Sting, Anderson, Austin, Dustin and Eaton,

    as I wait for that same brother to arrive at my apartment,

    after a long trip here,

    I realize that, when what you love is right, when it’s healthy and going well, there’s not a long distance between you at 35 and you at 8 years old.

    That passion that Billy Corgan talks about is back in my life, and it’s back, in part, because promotions like the NWA are letting it shine forth again.

    There are those who say we are entering a post-cynicism time in our entertainment. That, over the last couple decades, we ran that poor tired dog called cynicism into the ground.

    There are those who say we want to feel something in our entertainment again, believe something. That only the qualities of felt sense and belief can give life where death has become an unfortunate norm.

    Well, what greater sign of life than going back to where you were born, back to where it all started, back to your core friends and family?

    Maybe that is why Cody Rhodes, in the final NWA 10 Lbs. Of Gold video that we will cover pre-All In,

    Is going back, too.

    Back to Atlanta,

    to one of the men, trained by his father, who also trained Cody.

    Maybe that’s why Cody is in Atlanta, with Diamond Dallas Page.

    And in a video where Aldis will talk the too-easy narrative of privilege (ah, cynicism), I remind you that Cody’s privilege put him in a wrestling promotion where creative felt empowered to pretend to type on a laptop that wasn’t on, rather than listening to Cody’s ideas. I remind you that Cody’s privilege led Triple H to tell him to know his role as a mid-card guy.

    Any privilege Cody had, I promise you, came with a responsibility Nick Aldis could never understand. It was that responsibility, and the hard work that made All In, that has even given Aldis a platform from which to hurl his insults.

    But I get the heightened rhetoric.

    Time is short and everything is on the line.

    And while Aldis is reaching for the rhetoric, Cody is reaching for his inner circle.

    This is the night before the big fight.

    This is the Son of Dusty Rhodes, the NWA title, the show that put 10,000 counter-culture asses in seats.

    This is the show, I pray, where Cody Rhodes will pick up the championship thrown down by Shane Douglas some twenty-five years ago.

    This is All In.


    By Benjamin Button

    This ol’ farmer told me that when he took rest on his porch at sunset, he heard it! It was 1979; them kids of his went down to Tampa and came back sunburnt and skin pulling back like corn husks, telling their ma Dusty Rhodes won! He beat Harley Race; elbowed him real good! And the farmer closed his eyes and awakened to a listen of the radio preacher in the house talkin’ about salvation. “It’s not by works that one is saved but by grace through faith.” And he took a think about how that ol’ black man, Martin Luther King Jr., said, “faith is taking that first step without seeing the rest of the staircase.” He didn’t believe in mixing the races at the restaurants and pools, but he always remembered the staircase. One has to have faith before they get out and work for a revolution or for a -- like his favorite evangelist, Billy Graham-- for a revival!

    And all he could think was how much life went on in that house and how empty all those acres of corn were when, in his blue F100 pick up truck, he first rolled up. That’s what the ol’ farmer said happened in 1979, anyway.

    And “do the work” is true. However, without the belief hard work pays off, what motivates a man to lay the first brick? After all, there’s nothing to see but dirt and grass and an image of the future in his mind of what the house with vinyl siding and shutters and fucking gardens around it will look like. It’s hard work! Especially if he’s never built a house before. Especially when Jeff Jarrett tried. Especially when TNA and Ring of Honor tried. Especially when the Bucks have been out cutting this empty lawn for years and years and years.

    A man has to lay seed in the right season. It’s fucking faith, it’s fucking work, it’s fucking timing. A man who harvests when there’s no rain is bitter from his work.

    It must take some hell of a faith for Nick Aldis to become. He didn’t have a daddy going before him preparing the way. And Nick’s a wrestler if I ever saw one, but timing’s never been right for him.

    Now, if Cody had a predestined spot wasn’t it Stardust? Wasn’t it complete with a onesie and makeup? Still, it’s a spot and it’s more comfortable than it looks, and it must of taken some hell of a faith for him to walk away. It must of taken some hell of hope to take a step into the night. Now the sun’s up. Now he’s hammering. Now he’s putting the windows in. Now he’s on the roof, pain pinching his back. He’s building a house for ten-thousand, and tomorrow night he’s opening the door!

    Dusty Rhodes once said, “it’ll neva be ova!” But it’s been over thirty years since the time’s been right for the NWA. It’s been thirty years since it’s been right to be a Rhodes. The drought has dried up the land for a generation of the NWA, a generation of the next Rhodes, Races, Funks, Briscos, and Andersons. Legacies have been cut down and burned. But they’re going to grow back, and vines for wine will drape up them. For Dusty bore Cody late in life for the rain of 2018. He, an older man, slapped Cody’s ma’s ass and no doubt made her call him daddy for such a time as this! If Cody wants to do yoga with DDP, now’s the time to do it. Do it in the cool autumn wind when hope breathes through one's veins. Do it now! If he wants to work out with Glacier, now’s the time to bust a sweat. It’s in season to challenge for the 10 Lbs of gold! It’s NWA season; it’s Rhodes season!

    Free At Last

    By Mystic

    “He’s building a house for ten-thousand.”

    What words, Benjamin Button. But what if I told you he might be building a house for more than ten thousand?

    You want to dig back in time? I think it was Esther, in the Hebrew Bible, who said: “And who knows whether you are called to the Kingdom for such a times as this?”

    You see that there?

    That faith, when it might not turn out OK. That action, though you might be ending your career for trying. And it only strikes me as I type these words that we’re not waiting until All In for “such a time as this.”

    In fact, because of Cody Rhodes, because of Brandi, because of Billy Corgan and the Young Bucks, we are now living in “such a time as this.”

    Know how I know? Because, as we’re reaping from what was sown in that “10 Lbs. Of Gold” video called, “Do the Work,” I just noticed there is a whole ‘nother video we didn’t even get to.

    And it’s a good one.

    Goddamn, it’s a good one.

    It’s called, “Freedom for All,” and it feels like the folks we have been paying homage to in this long series are finally taking a well-deserved victory lap.

    In a world where fans take over WWE shows and other fans blame fans, it’s funny how, when people actually tell a story well, and effectively, and consistently, you don’t want to get in their way. You want to get out of their way, and let them do what they are paid to do.

    So, for the majority of this section, I will do just that.

    I will get out of their way.

    And I will bring you quote after quote after quote, from the people who reinserted passion where predictability used to be.

    I will bring you, through them, a piece of freedom meant not only for them but for us. For wrestling fans who haven’t been able to breathe “wrestling” in too long. For wrestling fans who still drop their money, but would rather bounce a beach ball than watch what is put in front of their faces.

    For wrestlings fans who, when they see a video from the NWA called, “Freedom for All,” can’t help but remember, before watching a single second, that Great American Bash 1988 was called, “A Price for Freedom.”

    Says Cody Rhodes, “I think when you have the means to do what you want, to make your own schedule, the means to create your shop it around, that’s back to that element of having no fear.”

    Meanwhile, on screen, David Lagana gives us a definition of freedom: “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”

    Good god, we could write for days on that definition. Why is WWE like it is? People ask. They have to answer to stockholders. People say. Why is social media like it is? Because there exists far too many people there who think they are the ones who get to decide freedom: what we can say, how we can say it.

    They hinder creativity.

    They restrain attempt.

    And most of us have bent the knee accordingly.

    Not the man who walked out of WWE, into nothingness, only to discover that there’s no more freedom than within a land that has long ago been forsaken.

    And Brandi Rhodes?

    She was a voice of freedom, saying, “Once Cody started asking, ‘Hey, Me and Matt and Nick are really wanting to do this, do you think we can sell out a ten-thousand seat arena?’ And my reaction was, ‘I think you can sell out a 20,000 seat arena.”

    And Benjamin Button tells us about the family coming back from Tampa, telling of Dusty Rhodes winning the NWA title, spreading the gospel (“the good news”), and yet, somehow we lose sight of how quickly, how effectively, how passionately the good news is being spread in 2018 and 2019.

    After all, it was a fan on Twitter that asked Dave Meltzer if Ring of Honor could sell out a 10,000 seat arena. It was Cody Rhodes who accepted that challenge. How many Twitter comments later? How many retweets? Enough that All In sold out in under thirty minutes.

    Do you think that message traveled?

    Ask the fans at Madison Square Garden.

    Turns out when we’re not neck deep in professional outrage society, we can do pretty cool things with the tools at our disposal.

    And Billy Corgan makes the best points.

    He tells us that the tickets have already sold out, so what they are now promoting is “in the bigger sense of the word.”

    Corgan continues: “All In is that signature event and we will look back historically and recognize that something shifted and it shifted that day they sold those tickets in thirty minutes.”

    Brandi Rhodes called Cody when the site crashed during ticket sales. She understood then what it meant. She told Cody, “Make sure you, and Matt, and Nick take this in, because this moment’s never going to happen again. So make sure you guys live this and enjoy it.”

    Billy Corgan calls this moment in wrestling what he used to see in rock ‘n roll.

    He says, “Rock ‘n Roll has been so co-opted by ‘the machine’...that it just doesn’t have that rebellious free spirit. You know what has that rebellious free spirit? Professional wrestling.”

    And, again, Billy Corgan points us, not at a one-night show, but at that “greater sense of the word.” He says, “So here we are...suddenly there are a lot of entities in the world that have a foothold here, an idea here, a TV contract over here, and suddenly the NWA starts to make a lot of sense...because it’s a unifying force and an umbrella. Let’s face it, you got all these disparate forces...trying to chase after the same fan, let’s call it the same dollar, and then over here, you have this megalithic starship, which I have no complaint about, but we all live in the shadow of that megalithic starship.”

    “What’s great about Billy,” says Nick Aldis, “he’s got the money, but what he has more than the patience.”

    “And the only thing that’s ever going to take...on [the megalithic starship],” says Billy, “these forces are either going to come together…[or will fail].”

    And the words that Billy spoke that stick with Cody?

    It’s based on the individual.

    “Let talented people be talented.”

    When I listen, I realize just how much of a bigger vision is already out there. Will it come together? That’s the wait and see.

    But tomorrow night, at All In, it’s more see than wait.

    A price for freedom has already been paid.

    It was paid the day Cody walked away from WWE, losing his last name in the process. And while WWE continues to scoop up any talent that makes noise anywhere outside their organization, and while WWE continues to selfishly pinch away names, gimmicks, and people it lacks the willingness or know how to use?

    Like the singer once said, “There’s something happening here.”

    Independent, free wrestlers have visualized it and have acted.

    Now it’s the fans who need to learn how to see again.

    Too many of us dare greatness to happen and, once it happens, we find a way to explain away what made it special.

    How many Jim Cornette’s are on record talking down the potential of All In until it sold out? Talking down Billy Corgan when he first bought the NWA?

    How many “fans” thought selling out All In would be a miracle witnessed, then turned around to explain it away because they say these guys are backed by “big money.”

    We have become a generation capable of one thing: explaining away the greatness that is in front of our faces. We have been trained to see and complain but got no training in see and acknowledge when something great happens. We never get to marvel because we have learned a better, bitter way.

    And yet, Cody offers a word that has opened up more spaces than maybe any other word in the history of the world: freedom. No, it hasn’t always been perfect, but it progresses still.

    And still Cody complicates the word.

    “It was The Million Dollar Man who said, ‘Everybody has a price.’ Dusty Rhodes’ polka-dot run is not always remembered well, but it should be. Because there’s one interview in particular where he says, uh, ‘Everybody’s got a price, not Dusty Rhodes. There’s no price you can put on the American Dream.’ And I think that’s what’s being said here. It’s not so much that not everybody has a price, it’s that everybody has a different price. It’s not always money. Money is a quick answer to eat everything up, to own everything, to control everything. Why the hell would you want to control everything? It’s too much fun on the outside….I think we’ve learned that everybody has a different price. Everybody’s different. . . .Some people, like me, want to prove something. Even if I don’t always know what it is, I’m very aware that the chip remains on my shoulder.”

    Some say--and I cross my fingers this is so--that Generation Z is going to be a lot of things that millennials weren’t, including fed up with the false-safety of letting other people tell them what they can say, think, and do, freedom forfeited at the price of a “safety by rhetoric.” I do believe, in and out of the wrestling world, we are in a moment where people are finally speaking up, speaking out, speaking back.

    A spirit of individuality, for the first time in too long, is rising.

    It is still the underdog, but it’s at least present in the felt sense of current society.

    It is the spirit that drives ‘Independent’ wrestling.

    It is the spirit that drives Cody Rhodes.

    And if Billy Corgan is right, it will be driving us for a long time after All In.

    “As much as you want to sit back and celebrate something like All In and say, ‘Wow, you know, we’ve made it! We’re there!’ That’s not the way to think. All In is just the beginning of something much, much, much bigger.”

    Is that so?

    Tomorrow night, do we sit in front of a moment that both IS and IS STILL TO COME?

    If so, we might be able to add to the words put forth by Benjamin Button: “It’s fucking faith, it’s fucking work.”

    We might soon be able to say, as pro wrestling witnesses, “It’s fucking faith, it’s fucking work, it fucking works.”

    A Conversation About Hope and Unity.

    By Benjamin Button

    In 1979 a man made gain by getting his gimmick over in the territories. However, things changed between then and 1990, and since the 1990s some independent wrestlers carry horror stories of backyard burnings for their bodies and car sleeping for their rest.

    They’re some Indies, nowadays, that do well enough, though: Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, Chikara, MLW, and some others. With places like that, it seems there are wrestlers who may find a fine bed and good fan support. After all, there are fans who favor the Indies like rock-stars. Then again, the majority only stick with the WWE. No matter how many times they swear it off like sin, they always go back like there’s nowhere else! Then, there are the old school fans who haven’t liked anything since 1999; except maybe when the Rock made a Booker T midget dance in 2001. Then, there are the guys from 1979 who hate everything past 1988, especially that thing the Rock did with the little person. Wrestling’s got a lot of taste buds chewing at it, but it always did. Even the guy who’s got a hard-on for the Ring of Honor, or for a solid stretch, or for a good dive might find Lucha Underground silly. And someone who adores a good story may be put off by something with just action.

    I, personally, don’t get WWE, anymore. I’m one who enjoyed John Moxley and even Dean Ambrose in FCW. For, I liked when Dean challenged Seth in those Jack Brisco 15 minute matches and how he’d make a comeback against the clock. I liked that because he was acting out his character’s “enough is never enough” sociopathic starvation. I liked the psychology. Yet, I don’t dig him so much in WWE. I’m just not a fan of the Sports Entertainment style that’s more of the commercial food’s flavor than that of the at home cooking’s. I chew at creativity in the kitchen, but some love the repeated recipe and find spices like larger than life stories to be passe! They love the Shield; they love this Ambrose. Lot of different taste buds, I say. Even when I watch NXT I cringe at its three letters, knowing where the talent will end up. But there’s gotta be someone eating up the usage of Shinsuke, Bayley, Asuka, the Revival, and Bobby Roode, because people still beg for the best to go to WWE. I’m not a fan of the scripts. But I'll never call a WWE fan disingenuous and don’t understand why anyone does or why WWE fans call Indy fans disingenuous. Why’d we assume anybody's watching something they don’t enjoy?

    Now, Cody declines WWE style direction. Perhaps, that in of itself acts as the true alternative to a company that hands a wrestler a script. Cody values freedom. I take it he desires himself and other wrestlers to delve into the personalities and wrestling styles they‘ve honed. Now, he’s given some of them a large audience to do it in front of. Maybe Cody’s an Orville Brown or a Lou Thesz or a Dory Funk Jr. or a Harley Race or an early 80’s Ric Flair, in that he can be a champion for a wide range of promotions. You know, he can unify them but still allow them to inspire with their individuality. That is he can bring them together, here and there, under any of their banners or like in the case of tomorrow night, none of their banners.

    You see, the difference between the NWA Title coming about to unify the territories in 1948 and coming back to do it now is the cat of pro wrestling was still in the bag in the days of black and white TV. A generation believed in Lou Thesz as legitimately the best wrestler on earth. To that generation and following generations wrestling could be real. You could say the bag had a mystery in it that interested the nation. That cat’s been all the way out for a long nineteen years. And we know it’s skinned and just as purple as the elephant in the room and just as shameless as the Booker T midget gyrating. Some of the old pros like Bobby Heenan didn’t think wrestling could ever be the same with the purple, naked stray out and scratching everybody, and to me mainstream wrestling hasn’t been.

    But here’s hoping Cody brings a new bag. Here’s hoping he has freedom and opportunity squirming around like Damian in a leather sack, and everybody says, “what’s going on over there?” I and Mystic hope like when Orville Brown won it in 1948, the Title will unify in a way that still allows the independents to do their distinctive story-telling with the thinnest of a connection to each other.

    Cause out there, there’s not just one alternative to the WWE. There’s many. There’s Lucha Underground’s unity of effect in cinema, setting, and story; there’s 10 Lbs Of Gold videos; there’s Being the Elite videos; there’s really, really storied Japanese wrestling matches. There’s much I haven’t seen yet...

    Cody and the Bucks say they sold a feeling. Could that feeling be hope? That’ll connect people. Even big WWE fans know competition must be good, and many hope the monopoly ends without this competition being bought up. Here’s hoping that umbrella Billy Corgan speaks of covers a wide, wide range. Here’s hoping for more ideas sparked by a synchronization based on freedom!

    But I hope the connection will bring more eyes to all the different theories of wrestling out there. Maybe, someone will see Pentagon and watch Lucha Underground. Maybe someone will watch Lucha Underground and come across Chikara. No doubt this All In event will benefit Ring of Honor before they go to Madison Square Garden with New Japan! I hope the old school fans will at least smile at Dusty’s son winning the NWA Title in 2018! And I and Mystic hope that everyone will see these guys do what Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, TNA Wrestling with Jeff Jarrett; Vince Russo; Kurt Angle; Panda Energy; Dixie Carter; Sting ;AJ Styles; Hulk Hogan; and Ric Flair could not do: that is sell ten-thousand seats and put on a hell of a Pay-Per-View, tomorrow! We hope in doing this, they will unify us with all wrestling fans and with all our own dreams. Because if they can pay the price for their dreams-- if Cody can gear up in the track suit and do that “non-Hollywood” workout and sweat and achieve what we thought could not be, may we all, also, achieve?

    And even if we can't achieve, if for one minute we feel we can isn't this the kind of feeling--the kind of universal, timeless feeling that unifies us and makes wrestling great?
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 08-31-2018 at 12:28 PM.

  2. #2
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Very excited for you guys, very excited for All In! There are layers upon layers to this, and you guys have added more layers still. I have faith, like that racist old farmer, that the show today will be a symbol of good things to come. What exactly those good things will be is not known, but that's ok. Those are other steps in the staircase that I believe won't drop us off a cliff. Have a great time today guys, it's a hell of a time for all of us!

  3. #3
    Thanks...Gotta say it was a good title fight. Been awhile since I've seen one like it. To me the best part was the NWA title match. Just good to see an old wrestling story where you really feel the competitors were fighting with everything they had for that title. And they put a lot of emotion into it. The teams escorting Cody down and Aldis down gave it the sport feel. DDP is a good choice because his presence alone stands for "be your best self." Building Brandi up for that elbow was a sweet touch. Earl Hebner added to both the big match feel and the fact a screw job could happen.

    The stories to all the matches translated really well in the live experience However, was disappointed in the announce team when I watched some of it at home, but does't take away from the fact there were goddamn good personalities, talents, matches and moments. A little something for everybody and had it's own feel. I think all the indy's together give that alternative that everyone needs. Special show, for sure.

    EDIT: After watching the show from start to finish on the Fite APP with a little time in between then and when I saw it live, I quite liked the announcing too. This entire event was pretty damn charming. But I believe having that world Title match completed it. No matter how silly some stuff gets, when you have a Title match that has the big fight feel, that carries so much history, that gets the fans to boo the heel and sympathize with the baby-face, you have a winner.

    And I liked the silly shit, I liked the other main events that others may have thought were the best part of the show. There was something for everybody. Funny, though how if there's two people in the wrestling world who would agree to hate on it, it'd probably be Jim Cornette and Vince Russo. I think it's good to piss of the extremes to please a very wide center. Good show!
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 09-05-2018 at 01:59 AM.

  4. #4
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    I've been away from the CF for a couple of weeks and just thought I'd pop in this morning I saw this and was transfixed from the first word.

    You guys paint such beautiful, emotive pictures with your writing, it is hard not to feel your enthusiasm and passion come through.

    Cody's sorry is incredibly inspiring, when he left many people did not think it was a good idea, independent wrestling was strong but it was a long way from selling 10,000 tickets. It was something you left, not something you went to. Along with The Young Bucks he had made it into something attractive, something that has already seen one of the WWE's own cross the line, you might even say he sailed over the line given where he will be wrestling next. I am sure more will follow, men who went to the land of the giants and found out they were not seen that way by the very people looking up at them.

    The success of All In is fantastic news for WWE fans like me too because it may finally force Vince McMahon to sharpen that sword of his that he has let go blunt and rust in its scabbard.

  5. #5
    Just wanna say to Sam and Mizfan...thanks for keeping this place alive. It's a cool forum and your always reading and feeding.

    Sam, that's the point I was trying to drive home....the success of the Indies means the success of all wrestlers and fans means more money for the wrestlers and more entertainment for the fans
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 09-23-2018 at 02:21 AM.

  6. #6
    Beautiful Fandom Mystic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    I want to echo Ben. Thank for the feed and thanks, Sir Sam, for bumping this recently. I like your perspective as a WWE fan and how it ought to make all products better. In agreement.

    This was a hell of a venture, these collaborations. Got two people diving independently deep into narratives, then attempting to thread them together in collaboration. CF audience feels small right now, but this was a project that I'm proud of and it was good to collab with Ben.

    Independent wrestling is keeping me inspired right now.

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