When celebrities step foot into the squared circle and compete, it is often times an atrocious, cringe worthy spectacle. From Jersey Shore star Snooki to NBA star Karl Malone, the annals of wrestling history are littered with reasons not to let celebrities take part in the sport we all dearly love. In fact, most of us roll our eyes and show our excitement for celebrity based matches about as well as Donald Trump sells a stone cold stunner. For those who have seen that footage, you completely understand what I mean.
Recently, Arrow star Stephen Amell has once again signed to compete in the ring. This time with famed veteran and former Ring of Honor champion Christopher Daniels, one of the best workers in the business. While some on the internet are calling Amell by his television comic book character name “Green Arrow” and scoffing at the booking, I am here to do the exact opposite. Where most celebrities come up short in both the talent and stature department, Amell is on the right track. While in the past we have seen celebrities like Drew Carey or Jay Leno compete in some capacity, miles from in ring shape and devoid of technical ability, Amell is a breath of fresh air in both departments.
His Summerslam 2015 showing (with partner Neville) against Cody Rhodes (in his Stardust role) and Bad News Barrett was one of the better celebrity based matches of the last decade. While Neville did the bulk of the in ring work, Amell found himself with some notable spots — including a leap from the corner turnbuckle and onto his opponents on the floor — and seemed to be more comfortable in the squared circle than most of his celebrity peers. Amell has continued forward by working with a smaller company in Ring of Honor and makes them a bigger player simply by touting his name.
In ring shape and talent aside, Amell is also a fantastic piece in All In becoming more than just a one-off independent arena show. His position in the entertainment industry exposes his appearance to over 5.3 million Facebook followers and millions more on his various social media accounts. If you are doing the math, that is exposure to more than just independent wrestling fans. That is exposure to fans of the DC universe, fans of the Arrow program and fans of Stephen Amell, the actor. This positions All In to be both a wrestling based show with an added sports entertainment aspect as opposed to the WWE’s “entertainment first” approach where often times the wrestling is toned down in lieu of doing a long, tired segment with a celebrity figure who isn’t capable of working well in a physical respect.
Amell puts All In in a fantastic position by simply being a better in ring worker than most celebrities. If other companies can embrace celebrity participation and choose the participant wisely — based on their value as both a name and a competitor — the formula could yield far better rewards than a simple one-off appearance for wrestling fans to speak about with an eye roll for the next couple of decades. Pair that with the fact that he is working with a competitor like Christopher Daniels; a man many have touted as having the ability to have a formidable matchup with almost any opponent, including a broomstick.
The fact remains that if we wish to see the any one of the independent companies rise up and attain the television time and acclaim that the WWE garners, we as fans have to embrace the fact that celebrities are forever going to be a part of that formula. In this case, you have someone formidable who has the ability to do good things rather than someone who is giving us a countdown to when the match will end.
Say what you will about Stephen Amell “wasting Daniels time,” but in truth, the longevity of an independent uprising certainly outweighs the importance Daniels opponent on this one show. I would love to see All In successful and prompt more events like it in the future. Like it or not, Stephen Amell adds something to mix and gives this show a little bit more spectacle which couldn’t hurt things for either Ring of Honor, New Japan or the independent circuit as a whole going forward; At least that is this writer’s take.
All In is scheduled to take place at the Sears Center in Hoffman States, IL (Chicago suburb) on September 1st, 2018. It will broadcast on PPV outlets, FiteTV and through the Honor Club streaming service. Tickets for the event sold out in thirty minutes on the day that they were released.