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For better or worse, longtime RISE fans can tell you, I have always made every effort to be completely transparent and honest with our audience.

This writing is the most propound example of “or worse” I have composed to date. But, it is the honest truth, and our ticket buying fans absolutely deserve to know what’s up.

I doubt I really have to tell anyone what’s going on. COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has sent shockwaves through the world, and it has hit all of us in every way, personal and professional.

Today was supposed to be Early to RISE – UNCONVENTIONAL and RISE – LEGENDARY – A CHARMING FINALE in Berwyn, IL. And the future status of these events is largely unknown.

The intention, as of this writing, is to still hold the events, as close to precisely as they were originally booked as possible, Friday, October 23, 2020 at The Berwyn Eagles Club in Berwyn, IL.

All tickets for March 27 will be honored for events held October 23.

I know there will be some who will want, and in some cases, need refunds on their tickets. And I will do my best to do so for as many as possible.

Full transparency, only roughly one third of the ticket gate still exists in RISE company bank accounts. Though I am sure some may speculate spending I have done, I have never taken one cent of money from RISE company accounts for personal spending. The money was spent largely on non-refundable Live Events expenses such as airfare and marketing/advertising. We also have regular monthly bills that are paid out of these accounts.

Normally, every RISE event I make up the difference for losses out of my personal accounts. As of this writing, 100% of my forms of regular income have stopped. Like many of you, I am out of work and up a creek without a paddle. I cannot even pay my own bills, let alone company ones.

It’s ugly. I hate it. But it’s the truth of the situation. It’s a shitty situation, and I’m completely embarrassed by it.

I also know there are quite a few other promotions out there in similar situations. It is simply just a hard time for everyone across the board.

If you are in need of a refund, please email this specific email address: kevin@kevinharveywpwc.com. I will refund as best I can right now, or, hoping situations change in a reasonably near future, I will pay you back out of my personal pocket once life returns to normal.

After saying all this, if you still believe in RISE and you still want to see us have A CHARMING FINALE to our Live Events, I look forward to seeing you in October.

Thank you all for your support of RISE. Stay safe, stay healthy and take care.

All the best,

Kevin Harvey

Owner, RISE – Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions

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Coming soon to RISE’s Channel on Twitch, a new kind of programming that’s one part historic matches of the Episode Subjects, one part shoot interview/podcast, one part fan Q&A, 100% interactive. In the very near future, we rollout The RISE of… Series!

In this Series, we will recap memories and behind the scenes, never before told tales of what went down before and after different matches, interviews, storylines of some of the most memorable moments in RISE rings.

Links to talent merchandise and other means of financial support will be made available throughout the Live Stream for those who are able to do so during these trying times when nearly all wrestlers are out of work due to global event cancellations due to COVID-19.

And our first episode is going to kick things off for sure as we look at the path from Seminar Prospective Talent to Phoenix of RISE Champion in…

The RISE of Kylie Rae!

Let us know on Social Media (@RISEdtwa) what matches you would like Kylie to break down in this episode!

Follow us and subscribe to RISE on Twitch at twitch.tv/risedtwa. The live streams are always free. Subscribing will allow you to watch archival footage, including the entire RISE Library of Events. We are uploading the few missing shows this week. If you do not have Amazon Prime, subscriptions on Twitch are $4.99/per month.

And for subscribers of riseascent.com and our Apps on iOS and Android, The RISE of… Series will be made available within 24 hours of each episodes’ conclusion on Twitch.

As soon as we lock down the date and time, we cannot wait to bring you The RISE of Kylie Rae, with many more of the stars of RISE to come!

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There’s a lot of scary stuff happening in the world, stuff that’s having profound impacts on everyone around the globe. For those of us anywhere inside the professional wrestling bubble, the timing adds to the sting. It’s a special time of year for us, and we are all bummed out – fans, staff and all performing talents.

I wanted to share something very special to me with everyone, hoping it can be a bright point in your day.

The change last year from Developing Tomorrow’s Women Athletes to Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions was met with a great deal of warmth. But, it also brought a fair amount of skepticism.

And we dug our heels in and stood our ground, RISE would make as many efforts as possible to develop talent and create opportunities for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

In the bigger picture, we hoped this would not just mean for talent, but fans too. We hoped to reach new fans, making an environment that was a safe space, a truly inclusive environment – for everyone.

Any time I am asked, “Why?” This letter will likely be my response.

I received an email last week and I am pasting the message below. The only changes I am making, at the request of the author, is I have left out their name.

It took an entire team of people to make these moments, matches and memories happen. So many people on the RISE team worked so hard to make all these things happen. Some of those were folks with us since day one, some were crucial additions to the team in a time when we wanted a very real focus on inclusion and representation.

I hope this fan knows how much this touches my heart. Your story is an important one, one I hope many other promotions will read and take notes as to how important inclusion and representation are.

Thank you for supporting RISE. Thank you for sharing your story.

Thank you for being you.

I hope you all enjoy.

All the best,

Kevin

 

“Dear Mr Harvey,

I wanted to write and thank you, here at the end of all things, for all the amazing Rise shows. I know I’m not your oldest fan – my first show will have been one year ago, Legendary 2019 – but Rise has brought me so much joy in that year, it feels longer. As poet Stephen Sexton said, O plateau! These days of violence have been my happiest.

I’ve been a wrestling fan for a while now, but I remember my first experience of a live show being incredibly alienating: the audience was unfriendly, and I didn’t feel safe as a trans person. It was nothing like the little bubble I’d been lucky enough to find online. I’ve since managed to carve out my own little niche and I’m able to relax in most crowds – but nothing was able to prepare me for the experience of my first Rise show. Rise felt like I had finally come home.

The humour, the passion, the love that imbued every moment of that show transformed everything for me. It felt, all at once, like every reason I’d fallen in love with wrestling in the first place. I’d got so used to watching athletic competitions that I’d forgotten how much I longed for a show with a kind heart. I talked for months about how incredible the rumble match was – I’ve never seen that many women in one ring, getting so much respect and such a great chance to show their strengths and tell a story. I still talk about that match as the one which opened my eyes to Big Swole!

And I’m not sure if you know this, but Legendary took place only a few days before the Transgender Day of Visibility; meaning, when it came, I was able to clutch to my chest the photos I’d taken of Nyla Rose at your show. I never in a million years thought I would be able to see her in such an intimate setting, but you made that happen.

And then Pride and Joy – I still tear up thinking about what that show means to me. I confess, I am the fan in that photo of Candy. She was the first trans wrestler I had ever heard of: until she won her IPW belt in 2017, I’d thought it was impossible for a trans person to make it in wrestling. I’d thought that any trans person – any LGBT person, really – was doomed to fail or be closeted forever. So seeing Candy in real life, when I never expected to see her ever since NZ is so far away – it meant the world. That whole show meant the world. I want to go beat by beat – Sophie King, Effy’s promo, Mercedes Martinez and Cassandro… Pride and Joy really, truly changed what I thought wrestling could be. We hear a lot of messages of acceptance, but Rise Pride actually backed those words up. I’m nowhere near eloquent enough to say how much it truly meant, honestly… It was like looking into a future of what wrestling could be, looking past the fear and cynicism I currently feel. I never believed such a bright, accepting world could exist in this industry, but you made it real. Apologies if this email reaches you tear-stained; I still have that poster on my wall, and I think about it every day.

I’m going to have to stop myself before this turns into a match-by-match recap of Rise’s live events, but they have been so many of my favourite wrestling memories. Seeing Priscilla Kelly defeat LuFisto at the Summit. Seeing Jamie Senegal in BOTH of my favourite matches of the year – against Mercedes Martinez and against Candy Lee. Seeing brave bold babyface Sophie King putting their body on the line by standing up to Parrow – THAT is an image that has stayed with me!! I’ve been hoping for a rematch ever since, and I’m prepared to spend the rest of my life rooting for Sophie King to be that brave little underdog again!

And there’s so many wrestlers that I associate with Rise, and feel so grateful to Rise for bringing into my life. Hawlee Cromwell, Kris Wolf, Blair Onyx, Devon Monroe, Effy, Big Swole, Lady Frost… And so many stories I’ll be rewatching over and over. Each show has so many twists and turns, so many laughs and gasps of surprise. Your audiences were always welcoming and uplifting to be a part of. And your commitment to finding and lifting up new talent has been such a thrill for me! I never know who I’m going to see at a show, but it’s so exciting to watch people in their matches and realise I’m seeing history unfold before my eyes – realise that two, five, ten years from now, other people will realise how great these wrestlers are too.

I know I’ll be able to continue watching talented wrestling, women’s wrestling, story-driven wrestling, and comedy wrestling if I look hard enough in the right places. But I can only pray that I’m able to find the whole package again all in one place. You created something truly beautiful with Rise. The community you fostered, the wrestlers you booked, and the explicit commitments you made to women and to LGBT talent. I’m so sad to say goodbye to Rise; to this fan, your promotion has truly felt like a home this past year. Thank you for giving me such beautiful memories, and thank you for showing me that wrestling can be a wonderful place. Thank you for having so many trans people on your show. I look forward to seeing the future of Rise.

Your fan,

——————–“

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Here it is.

I don’t know what’s too much to say, or what’s not enough.

But one way or another, it is coming out right now.

March 27, 2020 will be the final RISE Live Event and has been rebranded LEGENDARY – A CHARMING FINALE.

Why is this the last Live Event? The answer comes down to one thing – money.

A lot of people probably look at sold out shows stacked with some of the top names in Women’s Wrestling as well as some of the most prominent LGBTQ+ talents from around the world and wonder how they make money. The answer is simple.

They don’t. Period.

This has always been the case, this is nothing new. The business model of these global attractions was always to lose money at the door, then break even and/or profit on video sales.

But that has not even been close to the case. I want to do my best to not make this all boo hoo and whiny, and I do not want to even talk about any specific numbers. Basis for a benchmark though for the casual reader, our last iPPV LA ESCALERA made a net payment from FITE TV that only covered the cost of the video production +$16.

With the exception of the co-promoted The Summit in August 2019, all RISE Live Events have lost money. Every one of them.

RISE has never had any true sponsors, backers or anything of the like. It has always been funded by “some guy,” and support through purchased tickets, digital subscriptions and merchandise sales of our wonderful fans around the world.

And I am here to tell you, “some guy,” simply cannot take the various pressures of trying to fund this level of Live Events any more. I love our fans, I love the talent, I love the shows.

What I do not love is everything that comes with the extreme burden of what most would consider extreme debt.

Almost two years ago, the future of RISE was nearly certain doom. I shared where we were with our fans at the time simply because I have always wanted our fans to know what’s going on, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The truth is, nothing ever changed financially since the spring of 2018. I was simply too stubborn to quit.

I can look back in hindsight and see a lot of my faults. RISE grew too fast. I dreamed too big. And in the end, the combination of those two things has cost me.

No one held a gun to my head and made me do it. I took a lot of gambles, hoping there was a bigger market for what our Live Events bring to the table.

That’s the thing about gambling. Sometimes, you lose.

And the Live Events for RISE, as fun as they were, as good of things as they did for fans and our talent, were exactly that – a loss. A big one.

So, why isn’t this boo hoo?

This is NOT “THE” End of RISE!

This is the end of worsening the biggest burden financially for the company.

The best parts of this company, in my opinion, have been World Class Talent Development and working diligently to make safe spaces for marginalized talent.

And we can continue to do BOTH those things working with longtime partners and new ones along the way.

I cannot go into the full details here and now, but our relationship with Freelance Wrestling is growing and will mean much, much more as the year progresses. RISE is now hands-on full time at Freelance Wrestling Academy. And through Freelance Wrestling Academy, we will STILL be able to offer World Class Development Seminars. And we can still travel from time to time too!

And there is more in the pipeline that will ensure MORE content, NEW content is delivered to our subscribers at riseascent.com and our Apps on iOS and Android. We think you’ll like what we have coming up. We just do not have 100% of the pieces in place to fully inform of new programming that will develop young talent, showcase them through original, episodic content and introduce a new generation to RISE fans everywhere.

And we can do this without losing five figures of money per Live Event.

We will continue to offer online training through RISEedu.

We will continue to have RISE presence on events that will continue to showcase The Phoenix and The Guardians. And we are even working on joint efforts to bring about Pride and Joy 2 to Chicago, but not as a RISE Live Event, something much closer to The Summit with multiple partners involved.

Yes, the finances are the dark side of RISE, the bad side. But I try my best every day to not let that overshadow the immense good we have been able to do in wrestling.

And I continue to fight every day to make sure the best parts of RISE continue to do even more good, and to do so for a long time to come.

Thank you for your support of RISE, however you do so.

Now all that remains is to send RISE Live Events off into the sunset.

Join us March 27 in Berwyn, IL for LEGENDARY – A CHARMING FINALE. Tickets: risedtwa.ticketleap.com.

All the best,

Kevin

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RISE continues to expand our partnership with Chicago’s Freelance Wrestling Academy. In 2020, the collaboration of both promotions will see more and more innovation and availability of professional wrestling development both on-location in Freelance’s Chicago Facility and through the Online RISEedu Training System.

RISEedu Online Training expands February 1, 2020.

Sundays from 3 PM EST to 7 PM EST as well as Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 PM EST to 6 PM EST we are offering RISEedu One-on-One Critiques and Performance Feedback – 60 Minutes per session of One-on-One time spent with wrestling performers of any role, any experience level. Time can be spent reviewing match footage of the participant, reviewing footage of other matches for the purpose of education and understanding, interviews and promos, marketing oneself…or virtually any topic of the participant’s choosing.

Mondays from 3 PM EST to 5 PM EST we are offering RISEedu Promos and Interviews – An online pro wrestling development session (with multiple attendees) pertaining to promos, interviews and other forms of public speaking taking place place during the course of live events and tv tapings.

Beginning February 18, we will also offer RISEedu Promos and Interviews Tuesdays from 8 PM EST to 10 PM EST.

If you are unable to attend any of the sessions below, but would like to take part in the offerings of RISEedu, we have reasonable flexibility to work with your schedule with advance notice. If you require days or times different from what is in our calendar, please inquire possibility in the form below.

Below, you will find our current calendar of available RISEedu Sessions. Please fill out the form below the calendar to register. Please allow up to 2 days for reply with terms and payment requests.

Any 1 Session of any kind is $20, 2 – $30 and 4 – $50. Discounts will be applied to students of Freelance Wrestling Academy.

RISEedu Attendance does require a 3 mbps internet connection or better and users must have functional microphone and cameras as sessions are fully interactive. Headphones are not required, but are strongly encouraged. RISEedu sessions can be recorded at the participant’s request and sent to them for future review.

 

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It’s official, we have a new all-time high for Seminar response in the first 24 hours. As of this writing, 60 professional wrestlers have filled out the registration form available at rise-wrestling.com/caseforchange. We fully expected this to have high interest and turnout, but this has certainly exceeded expectations.

As I have done since the initial announcements of A Case for Change Seminar and Tryout for Multiple Promotions and all communication since, I am trying to be as transparent as possible at all steps of the process with all involved.

First and foremost, as much as I would love to say there is time and space to give everyone who registers a shot – this is not realistic. Even with what we have already received for interest through registration, we have more people interested than we can realistically give personal attention to and truly evaluate when it actually comes down to Seminar and Tryout time on March 26 and 27 in Berwyn, IL in suburban Chicago.

I am writing this almost exactly 24 hours after we first opened registration. I have 60 registration forms to sort through and evaluate. We cannot even realistically execute our plan for Seminar and Tryout with even that many people.

So, here are some important numbers, infos, etc.

The Seminar and Tryout will have a maximum cap of 40 total attendees in the role of wrestler. Managers, referees, announcers and other less physical or non-physical roles are NOT being counted in this cap of 40.

I have made the decision to cut off registration either A: When I have received 200 registration forms or B: End of day Friday, January 31 – whichever comes first. I can not realistically review and interact with more than that based on my available time and resources. 

This Friday, January 24, I will begin sending out additional information and next steps emails to all who’ve registered. It is CRUCIAL for all prospective participants to reply to these emails as requested in a timely manner. Please make sure to double check your spam folders. All communication is being routed to whatever email address you put on your registration form. Please double and triple check that it is correct before submitting the form.

After Friday, January 24, if you have completed the registration form and have not heard from me within 48 hours of submission, please email me directly as a reminder at kevin@wrestlingpipeline.com, Subject: Case for Change Next Steps.

Now, if you want to attend this Seminar and Tryout for multiple pro wrestling promotions, it is highly advised to complete your registration form ASAP!

And one final update, we have added another wrestling promotion to the mix of scouting and recruiting organizations. Berwyn Championship Wrestling, based in our home at The Berwyn Eagles Club, promotes monthly events and will be on hand feasting their eyes upon what we suspect will be our strongest Prospective Talent Pool to date.

Thank you all for your time and interest in A Case for Change!

Sincerely,

Kevin

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Attention ALL Professional Wrestling Promoters Across The World:

You are cordially invited to attend RISE – A Case for Change, a Professional Wrestling Seminar and Formal Tryout taking place March 26-27 in Berwyn, IL in suburban Chicago.

There are two overall goals:

1: Provide a World Class Development experience consistent with the RISE brand, to invest our time and energy into developing a worldwide pipeline of talent for ALL of professional wrestling.

2: Conduct a formal tryout with multiple companies represented – AT ZERO COST TO THE PARTICIPANTS.

Before anyone takes this as a personal jab, look at the history of RISE. We look in the mirror and see A Case for Change in our own reflection. Our very foundation is providing a training experience, with no guarantees. But, historically it HAS always been with this carrot of opportunity, “what if I, the participant, am among those ‘a select few standout participants will be chosen to perform on (insert RISE event name here).'”

The more I have thought about the idea of monetized “tryouts,” the more it has caused self reflection. It has also lead me to believe there is A Case for Change for the entire industry, and it’s simply this.

Let’s bring an end to the days of monetized tryouts.

If there truly is someone out there from an independent starting to make their name on a larger scale to those coveted diamonds in the rough, should we not all WANT to see these people? If they are what is right for our shows, for our FANS, should we not WANT to do whatever we can to put our eyes upon these performers?

What I am NOT saying here is that all training and development should magically be free forevermore. I DO believe there is a time and place for charging admission for Seminars and such developmental programs. It is very specialized education coming from top minds in our industry.

What I am saying is let’s separate what is truly a learning and developmental experience of regular training, seminars and the like and the carrot dangling of opportunity – “what if they pick me?”

To be completely transparent, RISE will continue to offer training and development year round in various ways, and we will continue to charge admission fees for such things – when they are presented as exactly that: training and development without implied opportunity.

Anything in relatively proximity to our events, we know there will be hope to be picked for an opportunity, and our days of charging for the prospect of that opportunity are over.

If you are serious about recruiting. If you are serious about seeing what talent is out there. If you truly want to build the best possible pipeline of talent for your respective promotions, we are putting our money where our mouth is, not the money of the participants.

And we cordially invite you to take that first step with us March 26-27.

I have reached out to many of you in the last few days, and I anxiously await your responses.

If I have not reached out to you directly, to accept my invitation, please email me directly: kevin@wrestlingpipeline.com, Subject: Case for Change Participant Promotion.

And my final ask for everyone, fans and those inside the industry, is this:

It is unrealistic for EVERY promotion EVERYWHERE to magically be part of this event in March. If a promotion is not listed among those participating, there are no reasons to criminalize or demonize anyone. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as, “it just did not work out.”

A Case for Change – This is NOT to fling mud. This is NOT to start a Social Media fight.

This IS, I hope anyway, a chance for many of us to unite and help move the industry forward, building a better future, not bleeding it.

Having said all that, I truly hope we will be adding many more logos to this initial graphic and future graphics.

Thank you for reading. And thank you, however you do so, for caring about the future of professional wrestling.

Regards,

Kevin Harvey

Executive Producer, RISE – Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions

Copy of Horizons Dec 19-2

Beginning this Thursday, our Weekly HORIZONS Seminars will be available LIVE online via streaming video with interactive chat for Q&A and other interactivity. We will also make HORIZONS available online for those in different parts of the world, different time zones or otherwise unable to be with us LIVE in person or online.

Perhaps the biggest goal of HORIZONS is to make the RISE brand of training and development as accessible as possible for all wrestling talent around the world.

Pricing for 1 LIVE Online Session of HORIZONS is $15 per week.

Pricing for 1 Online Session  of HORIZONS after the LIVE Seminar’s conclusion is $10 per week.

For anyone interested in volume pricing for multiple Seminars, we are working on what bulk pricing or a possible subscription model might look like. Please contact us for more information if desired.

We have updated the signup form at rise-wrestling.com/horizons to incorporate online access. Click the link to sign up today.

And this isn’t even touching on cool stuff on deck for February yet…

Be part of the fun of learning with RISE as we continue our mission in Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions, building a worldwide pipeline of talent for ALL of professional wrestling!

It was close. It came down to the wire. And in the end, the RISE fans votes resulted in a tie for 2019 RISE Wrestler of The Year. This year’s honors go to reigning Phoenix of RISE Big Swole and “The Ballsy Badass” Shotzi Blackheart.

Big Swole had a BIG year in RISE! She went the complete distance in RISE of The Contender at LEGENDARY. Entering at #1, Big Swole was in until the very end. She survived fighting in a ring with 29 other women…well 31 if you count the outside attack from Team Blue Nation. The attack from Jessica Troy and Charli Evans seemed to take Big Swole out of the contest. But, in the final moments, Big Swole would power her way back into the ring, eliminating Steph De Lander and breaking the contest down to Big Swole and Zoe Lucas.

That final showdown would set the stage for several Main Events for RISE. Swole got her first chance at Zoe Lucas’ Phoenix of RISE Championship at LUMINOUS. Zoe was ruled the victor. However, due to the underhanded circumstances of the match’s conclusion, a rematch was granted at The Summit.

And it was at The Summit Big Swole defeated Zoe Lucas to become The Phoenix of RISE. And to top off one of her career’s biggest moments, she was crowned champion by one of the greatest legends of all time, Bull Nakano!

To date, Big Swole has defended her title successfully against Double D Rose and Laynie Luck. And we know Kylie Rae is now the #1 Contender going into LEGENDARY 2020 this March in Berwyn, IL!

Through our first few years, there are few names as synonymous with RISE as Shotzi Blackheart. The Second Phoenix of RISE, Shotzi was the one of the key players at RISE, helping put the promotion on the map.

This year, Shotzi was entangled in a brutal feud with her former Balls of DOOM partner, Delilah Doom. They faced each other several times, the feud only growing in intensity each time out. Shotzi Blackheart and Delilah Doom added three more matches in their storied history in RISE, their final contest happening at The Summit.

In her farewell to RISE, The Ballsy Badass finally had her one-on-one match with “The Demon Assassin” Rosemary. At LA ESCALERA, Shotzi was able to vanquish her tormentor once and for all in a No Holds Barred match.

Shotzi moved on from RISE to WWE NXT in 2019. And our entire team could not be happier to see the young lady we first met as a Seminar hopeful at RISE 1 continue to learn, grow and improve to catch the eyes of the whole world, and now The WWE Universe.

Congratulations to Phoenix of RISE Big Swole and “The Ballsy Badass” Shotzi Blackheart, 2019 RISE Wrestlers of The Year!