For better or worse, one thing I think any fans or followers of RISE will give me for all my faults is I have always been honest with them, both in the good times and the bad. I have been able to break awesome, exciting news. And I’ve had to drop news that’s sad and disappointing.
I wish I could tell you this was one of those exciting bits of news. But, again, there’s that honesty thing.
In under two years, we have been able to make a lot of noise and, not without its criticisms, provide a product that was met with almost entirely positive reviews as both a Seminar and a Live Event and Video Product.
More importantly, we have been able to do a lot of good, in my obviously biased opinion, for the entire industry.
Originally designed to be a discovery and development program for SHIMMER, to date, 34 talents who have received opportunities from SHIMMER were discovered through our program.
We have been able to develop a relationship with STARDOM. 6 women who made positive impressions upon our company and representatives from STARDOM have been selected for a tour of Japan in just a few weeks.
And recently, one of our own made her debut in IMPACT Wrestling after proving herself to IMPACT Management on hand for our Pittsburgh Seminar and tapings. And there are several other talents whose names are in consideration for future opportunities.
And yet, despite all that, our Seminars, the very backbone of our company, are all but completely bare. Even after lowering prices compared to RISE 5, 6, and 7, the RISE 8 and RISE 9 Seminars combined are not even half the attendance of any prior individual Seminar we’ve held.
Los Angeles, which has historically been our best market for Live Event attendance, is quite far off the mark from prior visits. We sold out in advance our last outing. Though we are expecting a decent turnout for RISE 8, it does not appear to be close to our prior outing at RISE 6.
And Naperville, two days of incredibly stacked shows, is less than two weeks away. And the presale tickets are actually less than RISE 1? I just do not know what to say. Still in our home market of Chicago where in the month of April we set a Berwyn attendance record for women’s wrestling, selling out in advance. Where have we gone wrong?
I’ve been beating myself up something fierce for the last week.
Did we do our fans wrong?
Did we oversaturate the market?
Is Naperville, despite being on top of a commuter train station and just off the highway, too far or too difficult for some of our core fans to travel?
Did our Seminars lose their value?
I could list a million questions I have asked myself a million times. But my goal is to not make this too rambling.
Here is what it all boils down to.
100% of the revenue from all RISE Seminars, video and merchandise sales (outside of revenue donated to fundraisers) was put back into the company.
I am not a rich guy. I make a reasonable five-figure living and I did my damndest to keep this thing going. I would love to tell you I can do this forever. But, there it is again. It’s that honesty.
As of this writing, the plans are to still move forward with RISE 8, RISE 9 and RISE – ASCENT Tapings through July 8. Too many wheels are already in motion to change this now. And, somehow, some way, this will all pull together.
Also as of this writing, I have pulled all tickets from the online store for RISE 10 – INSANITY, originally slated for October 19 in Berwyn. It is my goal NOT to cancel this event. Should that happen, tickets will be refunded for those who have purchased already.
But, if I’m being honest with myself and all of you, there is a nearly 100% chance that July 8’s RISE – ASCENT Tapings will be the last RISE Event, and that just breaks my heart in ways I cannot articulate.
RISE came for me in a time when I need a brightness in my life amidst a lot of darkness. And it provided that. Getting to know these women, watch them grow, watch them become stars…that is what I got out of this. I have not made $1. I have not received “any other benefits” that some imaginations create as my reasons for doing this.
I did it to do something good for women in wrestling. No more. No less.
I can honestly say I have given it everything I have. Every spare minute. Every penny I had. Every bit of love an attention I could muster went the way of RISE or the talent within it.
I bet everything I had on RISE. But that’s the trouble with gambling, you do not always win.
And this week the realization hit me that I can just no longer do it on my own financially. I am at a point where there are going to be significant, personal hardships and struggles. And sometimes, when you’re in the hole, you eventually have to realize how deep it is and you have to stop digging.
I still love RISE.
I still believe in RISE.
I still believe there is much good to be done from RISE.
Do you want to help?
Then, please, let people know where to find us.
Let them know where they can view our shows in person if we’re in their area.
Let them know how they can see our amazing talents through our streaming videos or DVD and Blu-ray sales.
And if this is going to be it, let’s send it out in a blaze of glory. Let’s all come together one more time July 7-8 in Naperville, IL near Chicago.
Maybe we can all come together in a way that can help RISE soar once more.
Or maybe, this will be where RISE gets its final entry into the history books.
No one can ever say we didn’t try our hardest.
I am so, so sorry to all the fans and to the girls. I know this blog will disappoint a lot of people. No one is more disappointed than I am that I cannot pull this out any longer on my own.
To any who supported this idea, thank you. Whoever you are, however you did it, you were all part of the driving force behind RISE.
Thank you forever.