I don’t know that there will ever be a better piece of marketing material for a RISE Seminar than the image at the top of this blog. It’s been said a lot of our Seminars and Shows, “Talent took a chance on us. Now we take a chance on them.” I don’t know that any collection of four women personify this more than New Nation, the stable lead by The 7th Phoenix of RISE Zoe Lucas, and rounded out by Charli Evans, Jessica Troy and Steph De Lander.
Charli and Jessica, two young dreamers from Australia took a chance, flying to America to take part in a RISE Seminar with Dr. Tom Prichard. They had no guarantee other than a world class learning experience. They ended up making their American debut as Team Blue Nation taking on Britt Baker and Chelsea Green, Fire and Nice at RISE 3 – MEDIC. Just months later, they would take that same chance once more, only this time they found themselves in an unreal position for an up and coming tag team, they joined forces with the legendary Aja Kong to take on the team of Hiroyo Matsumoto, Rachael Ellering and Dynamite DiDi.
After this standout performance, staying cool under pretty intense pressure, Team Blue Nation would become permanent members of the RISE Roster. They would be part of the Tag Team Awakening, nearly winning the Four Corners Elimination Match at RISE 9 – RISE of The Knockouts to become the first Guardians of RISE Tag Team Champions. Though they came up short in this bout, Blue Nation has worked their way to a future title shot after their victory at LEGENDARY over Team Sea Stars, Ashley Vox and Delmi Exo.
Now, let’s talk for just a minute about Steph De Lander. The young Australian once known as Facebrooke, she took a chance on RISE 7 – SENSATION with no guarantee other than a world class learning experience with Mercedes Martinez. Facebrooke would make such a good impression in the Seminar, she received an opportunity to be part of the famed #TFAZLGGOTPWEPWEP – The First Annual Zoe Lucas Global Gauntlet Of True Pro Wrestling Excellence…Plus Whoever Else Participates. This would be Facebrooke’s first brush with Zoe Lucas, but certainly not her last.
Facebrooke returned to train with Gail Kim at LEGENDARY. Her career in transition after returning from injury, it was time for a change. Facebrooke had recently shed her mask in her home promotions in Australia, showing the world the true identity of Steph De Lander. But, the timing needed to be right to show fans in America just exactly what she means to do in pro wrestling.
With the best draw in RISE of The Contender, Facebrooke entered at number 30. With only her former opponent Zoe Lucas and her best friend from home Shazza McKenzie in the ring, Aerial Monroe down and out after the attack of Blue Nation, it seemed Lucas was doomed and Shazza was poised for revenge after the attack introducing New Nation at RISE – ASCENT, Episode 20 – Something New. Shazza and Facebrooke gave the big “Likes This” thumbs up. However, upon Zoe’s warning, Shazza turned around to eat a monstrous boot to the face from Facebrooke.
After disposing of McKenzie, Facebrooke removed her mask, tossing it on the fallen body of Shazza and revealed Steph De Lander as New Nation’s newest muscle.
And then there’s Zoe Lucas.
Zoe originally was not even supposed to attend the RISE 4 – WARRIORS RISE Seminar in Norwich, England with Mercedes Martinez and Madusa. There are not many times in a wrestler’s career when a booking cancelling is a lucky scenario, but in this case, it may have truly worked out for the best. Zoe attended the Seminar with no guarantee but a world class learning experience.
After making an impression upon Dave and me in the Seminar, we let Zoe know she was our pick to come to America for opportunities with RISE and SHIMMER. As it turns out, this would be the last we would see of sweet, young Zoe.
Marking her American debut at RISE 5 – RISING SUN, Zoe would have the unenviable task of taking on a true Legend of The Eagles Club, Cheerleader Melissa. Though she would not come out of this scenario with the win, she showed our audience her personality, tenacity and refusal to give up. It’s not unfair to say she took a beating and just kept going. She proved herself a contender in a building where much of the best women’s wrestling in history has occurred.
Returning at RISE 7 – SENSATION in the aforementioned #TFAZLGGOTPWEPWEP, Zoe may have used smoke and mirrors with laughs at the sheer ridiculousness of such a hashtag, she proved herself the victor. In one match, she bested La Estrella, Facebrooke, Skilled Death Artist #6, Valentina Loca and Thunder Rosa. Though some competitors in the match were more formidable than others, no one could take a victory over five wrestlers away from Zoe.
And then, the fall came around, and this is where this story starts to take a turn.
Prior to RISE 10 last October, we taped a few Episodes of RISE – ASCENT as part of the VIP Meet and Greet before INSANITY. Some, including Zoe, Charli and Jessica felt this a bit of a slight, being on a “pre-show” match (despite being filmed for ASCENT) after their successes in the rings of RISE. So on Episode 20 of RISE – ASCENT, something happened… Something New.
This Episode sparked the birth of New Nation, and it would prove to be the very beginnings of a stable that would send a ripple through RISE and place them in one of the most controversial and highest profile moments to date.
Zoe Lucas, having won RISE of The Contender, also had “A Guaranteed Match for The Phoenix of RISE at an Event She Will Be Able to Name.” No one ever said, “Zoe cannot name LEGENDARY.”
And that’s how it went.
After the shocking turn of events seeing new Phoenix of RISE Champion Kylie Rae’s friend and Wily Smilies Tag Team partner Miranda Alize beating her down mercilessly until being stopped by Mercedes Martinez, the apparent long game, a months long plan was revealed by New Nation. And, suffice it to say, they won.
After exercising her contract for a title shot, Zoe Lucas, flanked by all members of New Nation, Charli Evans, Jessica Troy and Steph De Lander, walked in and defeated Kylie Rae to become The 7th Phoenix of RISE.
And only moments later, New Nation would find themselves across the ring from some of the most buzz worthy women in all of wrestling, the women of AEW – Brandi Rhodes, Britt Baker and Nyla Rose.
Now, to bring this back to the original point of this blog.
What can attending a RISE Seminar do for Prospective Talents? We would not have known any of these talents had they not reached out to us to take part in their first Seminars.
They took that chance on us.
And clearly, we are taking that chance on them.