The wrestling world was captivated by the events that unfolded in London at the beginning of July as WWE hosted Money in the Bank at the O2 Arena in front as the Bloodline storyline took a further twist. PROGRESS Wrestling caught up with Dave Meltzer before Dave Meltzer comes to London with Bryan Alvarez for Wrestling Observer Live London!
WWE Undisputed Champion, Roman Reigns, suffered his first pinfall loss since 2019 courtesy of his cousin Jey Uso, leaving fans excited to see what will happen next in this thrilling storyline.
PROGRESS Wrestling was referenced heavily both at Money in the Bank and Smackdown the night before, with our former champions such as WWE Gunther (Walter), Matt Riddle and Butch Pete Dunne all playing starring roles across both nights.
However, the wrestling world will have their eyes set on the English capital later this summer with AEW, when they come to London for their pay-per-view, ‘All In’ and PROGRESS Wrestling in association with Wrestle Tours will also be involved across the weekend in the build up to the show at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 27th August, with set AEW talent due to perform at the Electric Ballroom the day before AEW’s Wembley showcase.
In association with Hooked On Wrestling, we welcome two of the World’s leading wrestling journalists, the king of wrestling ratings Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alveraz to record their famous Wrestling Observer Radio podcast.
The pair will be live on stage at Sports Bar & Grill in Marylebone on the day of AEW All In to record their show, and fans can come along, listen, and even ask Meltzer and Alveraz questions. The event will take place from 10am-noon on Sunday 27th August and meet and greet opportunities are also available.
In the lead up to the event, PROGRESS Wrestling and Wrestle Tours spoke exclusively to Dave Meltzer about the show and to also get his thoughts about AEW’S first ever event at Wembley Stadium along with the possibility of WrestleMania coming to London.
Question: We will start with your show itself. Are you looking forward to it?
Meltzer:“I always like these Q&As. Bryan and I do them all the time, they are a lot of fun and you never know what questions will be asked. You end up getting into interesting discussions and I’m looking forward to doing it for the first time in the UK. I’ve done it in Japan and the USA but never in the UK.”
Question: You never know what’s coming so I imagine there are frequently asked questions that you’re anticipating?
Meltzer:“Every show is completely different and there’s never many frequently asked questions, so this is going to be one of the biggest crowds that Bryan and I have ever done a show with, so we’re really looking forward to it. The whole UK wrestling scene is just on fire.
Question: When we first heard AEW All In was happening at Wembley, we predicted 35,000-40,000 but now we’re looking at bigger than that aren’t we.
Meltzer: “The peak is 67,000 but now it’s close to 75,000 and it’s going to be one of the biggest ever crowds in professional wrestling. When AEW first announced it was going to be at Wembley, it was originally going to be Craven Cottage, but the cost was so expensive to put on a show there, so Tony Khan (AEW owner) went for the big one with Wembley.
Question: It feels a nice balance of AEW’s brand and an iconic venue. What do people know about Wembley in the USA?
Meltzer: “In the United States it doesn’t mean as much as it does in the UK but among wrestling fans, they know the one stadium show that they did in 1992 which was one of the biggest successes in the history of wrestling. So that means something for AEW which can elevate the brand, and it’s a once in a lifetime thing to do it in front of 80,000 people, which is so big. It’s not like they can go back again next year, they will come back to the UK in the future though.
“Usually there will be a hint, we’ve heard rumours of Adam Cole so we don’t know if that will be at Wembley, so at this point I can normally tell who Tony Khan is booking at the top of a card. However, at this moment I can’t tell what they will do, they can do MJF and CM Punk or MJF and Kenny Omega or even Will Ospreay, but I don’t know any of them right now.
“It’s going to be such a unique experience for everyone involved, no-one in wrestling was at Wembley in 1992 and aside from the guys who have worked at WrestleMania in the stadium era, it’s the biggest show of all. It’s bigger than Tokyo in the Dome, so it’s a step up for the likes of the Young Bucks.
Question: It’s great to see two competing brands bring shows to London isn’t there, and it’s exciting that John Cena dangled that WrestleMania carrot, so is that a possibility?
Meltzer: “When one promotion is on fire in wrestling it hurts the other rival, and that’s the problem that AEW has. It’s not as a tighter competition as it was a year ago, and now everyone’s attention has turned back to the WWE brand.
“It’s not killed them as AEW can still be a success, it’s just not helped with the WWE success with Money in the Bank, and many moves that they make, they must do it by holding back their competition.
“They will strongly look at it in the next five years. It won’t happen next year as it is in Philadelphia, but they haven’t announced anything for 2025.
“There are a couple of cities in the United States that would want it, but they would not have done it as big as they did on that show, but there’s been talk, and that was the whole reason to talk to the London Government as they will gross more money in London than any other city, partly because it’s never been in Europe.
“However, they want to be paid for that, but they can also go to cities in the United States and Toronto in Canada, because that’s what they want, the money, and John Cena’s speech was to put pressure on the London authorities by saying you can get WrestleMania, but it will cost you.
“Years ago, they would not have done it because of the usual 8pm time slot is 1am in the UK, and the way that their deal with Peacock works they can do PPV’s from Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico and England.I can imagine that we will see one major show a year from Europe, after the success of Money in the Bank.”
Question: That speaks volumes about the global nature of the changing perspective, it always felt like a pipe dream and now we’re having our third show within a year
Meltzer: “There has been Saudi Arabia and Montreal, but other than that it’s been the United States but the Clash of the Castle was a huge success and this AEW show is beyond anything they’ve ever done.
“Right now, the UK is the market, with the way the tickets are selling and how enthusiastic the crowds are.
Question: By having WWE and AEW in different countries, it introduces the product to different fans.
Meltzer: “The Montreal crowd was fantastic, and it builds the product if they brought WrestleMania to England as far as merchandise and television ratings. That’s the goal of AEW to sell tickets, get merchandise out, leave a footprint and get the casual wrestling fan to say ‘there’s a second wrestling company and they’re really good too’.
“The goal is not just one night, this is a part of the European strategy for AEW, not just in the UK, but in Germany, France, and Switzerland, wherever, and you can improve visibility throughout Europe, like WWE does.
Question: There’s the FA Cup Final played in May at Wembley and there were adverts for AEW around the perimeter of the pitch, and more than one person who knows I’m a fan asked what’s AEW, and I guess that’s the people that they are trying to attract?
Meltzer: “The media and fans in England will love that there’s 80,000 people. This show means more to so many people, rather than selling out Wembley Arena or the O2 and this so much more for the company going forward to have a show like this, is the biggest overseas show that they’ll ever do, and with the talent on this show, they can say they performed in front of say 80,000 people.”
“AEW have had their ups and downs and their obstacles, number one because Vince McMahon didn’t want them to get off the ground.
“NXT happened, then Covid, and it would have killed most companies in that situation, so it was bad timing, and they get million-dollar gates for their PPV’s which is unheard of. So, it’s a success story, but there have been a lot of rocky bumps in the road, and the story keeps going.”
With the U.K. scene on fire and so much to do the weekend of AEW All In along with our own PROGRESS and Defy Supershow on the Saturday please check out what will be a truly unmissable Q&A on the Sunday before AEW make history at Wembley stadium. This exclusive has been brought to you in association with Wrestle Tours and Hooked On Wrestling.