A few nights ago, I was sitting on my deck, enjoying a nice breeze on a pleasant Chicago area night. I did some thinking while I was out there. I did a lot of thinking actually, a lot of reflection. I thought about how much changed in the wrestling world looking looking at a precisely one year span – July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019.
July 1, 2018, RISE was not in a good spot. As a business, times were tough – very tough. Times were tough enough that RISE – ASCENT Episode 13 slated to be taped July 8, 2018 had two versions – what Jimmy Jacobs and I had on paper, and the alternate ending I kept to myself. That alternate ending would have been the formal end of RISE. Obviously, we lived to fight another day. We lived to fight another year. We live to fight to this day.
July 1, 2018, no one would know All Elite Wrestling was even on the horizon. Heck, even the global landscape of WWE has changed so much in that time. What I really want to center on here in this moment is one of the hardest things any independent company can go through – losing their talent to exclusive contracts.
Before anyone goes too into reading between the lines, I am happy as a guy could be to see talents who used to perform for us be able to MAKE A LIVING with ANY MAJOR COMPANY. There, I said it…moving on…
Whether they were part of just one event, or like most on this list, part of some of the most crucial stories ever told in our rings, they were extremely important to our company and our fans. The following is a list of talents who RISE has been fortunate enough to have be part of our events who we have bid farewell to since July 1, 2018 in no particular order…
Kay Lee Ray
Kris Wolf (retirement)
On JUST this list alone, 5 teams we worked so hard to establish starting at RISE 7 to introduce The Guardians of RISE Titles strong out of the gate are now gone from RISE. WDSS, Bones of Contention, Fire and Nice, Fight for Evers, Wily Smilies – all no longer able to compete in RISE.
If you think the point of this is to complain, it’s not. It’s to illustrate just how important this Sunday is to RISE and just how important future of RISE is to the future of all professional wrestling. But we’re going to come back around to this Sunday in Berwyn, IL.
Still looking at that same one year span, even more has changed. With PRIDE & JOY, we learned so much about the landscape of pro wrestling. We learned about so many talents worldwide who identify as LGBTQ+, talents who showed us just how much room there is for pro wrestling to be better, to showcase LGBTQ+ talents year round, not just on Pride centric shows.
July 1, 2019 was the day after Pride Month ended. It was the beginning of a new year, a new era for RISE. We let it be known at the conclusion of PRIDE & JOY we were no longer just a company Developing Tomorrow’s Women Athletes. We are now Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions.
We continue our work to identify, develop and showcase talented women wrestlers from around the world.
We also have a new scope of work. It’s important work. And that work includes identifying, developing and showcasing talented wrestlers who identify as LGBTQ+. We have very plainly stated, it does not matter what your gender identity or sexuality is, you are welcome in RISE – in our locker room for talent and at our events for fans. Whoever you are, however you identify, you have a home with us, friends!
Now, let’s circle back to this Sunday…
This Sunday at 3 PM, RISE kicks off one of the most important events we have ever done. This event is our first making good on our promise, our commitment to showcasing LGBTQ+ talent since June 30. This event is centered around a tournament to showcase 8 of the top up-and-coming talents based in the Midwestern United States.
Yes, we have lost some very important players from our team. But the very nature of RISE has ALWAYS been to build a bench of talent, that worldwide pipeline of talent for ALL of professional wrestling that we mention so much.
Does the advancement of talent such as Deonna Purrazzo hurt RISE? No! It gives us pride to see one of our team showing the global audience why she is so special.
The advancement of Deonna Purrazzo opens a window of opportunity for a young talent like Elayna Black.
The signing of Karen Q gives us the chance to cast a spotlight on someone like Hawlee Cromwell.
As Britt Baker sets out to change the world, our world changes and gives Queen Aminata a place to shine.
Kylie Rae’s smile lit the room brighter than any ring lights ever would. And now, talents like Laynie Luck have the opportunity prove they are Today’s Best, Tomorrow’s Brightest.
Yes, we’ve said, “Farewell,” to Allie, Chelsea, Rachael and Mia. Now, we help the world say a more profound, “Hello,” to Max The Impaler, Evil Sierra, Sophie King and Valentina Loca.
Just how important is Regional Rising Stars – The Midwest Bracket’s actual bracket?
Add to this our showcase matches with Effy vs. Devon Monroe and Jake Atlas vs. Priscilla Kelly, the bigger picture of the future of RISE starts to become clearer.
And personally, I just cannot wait to see what The Bunz of Steel Challenge – Fans Bring The Weapons from Double D Rose brings. I think this whole segment is poised to steal the show.
All these words, and I haven’t even MENTIONED the Championship Matches yet?!
The Final Battle of The Killer Death Machines vs. Paradise Lost for The Guardians.
Big Swole’s first defense of The Phoenix.
Folks, the nature of RISE is to be constantly building. Constantly rebuilding. And not just our own roster – helping develop talent for the betterment of all of wrestling.
This day one mission remains unchanged.
And to succeed in this mission, we need everyone’s support – always.
See just how important this next step in the constant evolution of RISE is.
See what happens when new talent gets the brightest spotlight.
Be with us in Berwyn, CLICK HERE.
Or be with us from the comfort of your own home via your internet connected devices, CLICK HERE.