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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

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!

 

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We saw many top teams and several new ones pass through RISE in 2019. Above them all, fans voted reigning Guardians of RISE Tag Team Champions The Killer Death Machines, Jessicka Havok and Nevaeh as the 2019 RISE Tag Team of The Year!

One of the most experienced tag teams currently on the scene, Havok and Nevaeh spent the majority of the year embroiled in a wild feud with Paradise Lost. The two teams faced off in wild matches ending in Double Countout, a crazy Rosemary’s Rules match (where The KDMs would ultimately win The Guardians of RISE) and a match where truly just everything went at Regional Rising Stars Tournament – The Midwest Bracket.

The Killer Death Machines have defeated all challengers, but what team will step up to the plate to challenge Havok and Nevaeh in the year to come?

It will surely be a huge task for anyone stepping up to the reigning Guardians of RISE – The 2019 RISE Tag Team of The Year – The Killer Death Machines!

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In a landslide, the fans of RISE voted the No Ropes, Submission Only Match for The Phoenix of RISE Championship between Champion Mercedes Martinez and Challenger Kylie Rae from LEGENDARY as the 2019 RISE Match of The Year.

The first page of this story was turned at INSANITY. Moments after Mercedes Martinez defeated Tessa Blanchard to become Phoenix of RISE in the longest one-on-one Women’s Wrestling match of all-time, The Latina Sensation laid down the gauntlet for young girls to step up and try her, because she is at the top of her game.

Kylie Rae returned to a thunderous ovation as RISE fans saw her for the first time since she broke her collar bone representing RISE at STARDOM in Japan. It was apparent, we had a Champion. We had a Challenger.

Their first confrontation at ROW on The RISE saw Mercedes nearly tapping out to Kylie’s Charity Case finishing hold, but reached the ropes for escape. Mercedes was finally able to pin Kylie’s shoulders to the mat, but not without the using the ring ropes for leverage.

To level the playing field as both competitors had a case against the ropes factoring into the result of the match, the Main Event of LEGENDARY was set – No Ropes, Submission Only.

In what was truly one of the best matches ever contested in a RISE ring, Kylie Rae was able to make Mercedes Martinez tap out to the Charity Case, becoming The 6th Phoenix of RISE.

Just as emotional as the match itself was the aftermath involving Miranda Alize (like the drank), Zoe Lucas and New Nation and the women’s roster of All Elite Wrestling. So much happened in the final moments of this show leaving many memories and sending a shockwave through RISE the rest of the year.

If you have not yet seen this match, watch today at riseascent.com!

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The fans of RISE have spoken! There were so many memorable moments in our rings in 2019, not necessarily matches or results, it was hard to pick just one for any voter! In what was one of the closest categories for this year’s voting, RISE fans selected Cherry Bomb Returns to Face Off with Rosemary at LEGENDARY as the 2019 RISE Moment of The Year!

The Multiverse can operate in strange ways! At LEGENDARY, during the Guardians of RISE Tag Team Championship match between Paradise Lost and The Killer Death Machines, Rosemary more than made her presence known, becoming hands-on throughout the contest. When it seemed The Demon Assassin was ready to deal a death blow to Nevaeh, a mix of very familiar music started to play, and a familiar face emerged.

Happy Bunny Allie? – No!

Dark Allie? – Not even close!

IT’S CHERRY BOMB!!!

Cherry Bomb evened the odds to the match and set forth a course of events that would see new Guardians of RISE in The Killer Death Machines and rekindle a feud with Rosemary.

And a feud that put both talents on the map would see its finale inside The Steel Cage as part of the Double Main Event of LUMINOUS!

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We have listed every match from 2019 RISE Events (excluding any matches not released on RISEascent.com or DVD/Blu-ray) in the polls found at the link below. Please vote for your favorite match from each show. Next Monday, we will place the winners from each event into one final poll to determine that RISE Match of The Year, as chosen by the fans of RISE!

We also have one poll for Moment of The Year. We had a lot of emotional moments this year in RISE, not necessarily involving matches or their result.

Head on over to rise-wrestling.com/motyvoting now to cast your votes!

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Whenever you did it, however you did it, if you are reading this, I am going to go ahead and assume in some way, you supported RISE in 2019. And for that, I sincerely thank you.

Out of curiosity today, I decided to put together some stats, and I was actually kind of shocked when I started making tallies. There is a lot we accomplished this year. Some numbers I knew because we openly marketed them/humble bragged about them. But, wow…what a year.

Let’s start off with some of the more obvious numbers.

In 2019, 4 Women held The Phoenix of RISE Championship. The year began with “The Latina Sensation” Mercedes Martinez as Champion, The 5th Phoenix of RISE. Kylie Rae defeated Mercedes in a highly emotional contest at LEGENDARY to become The 6th, but her moment was cut quite short. Of course, it was cut short by Zoe Lucas, who would become The 7th. And today, The 8th Phoenix of RISE is Big Swole.

Just this week, it was formally announced Big Swole has signed with AEW. Please consider this my formal statement that Big Swole is STILL Phoenix of RISE. And she will continue to defend as Champion and compete in the rings of RISE.

In 2019, 2 Tag Teams held The Guardians of RISE Tag Team Championships. Paradise Lost started the year with Raven’s Ash and Dust defending the titles. The Killer Death Machines, Jessicka Havok and Nevaeh won the titles at LEGENDARY and reign as The 2nd Guardians of RISE Champions to this day.

Based on our upcoming schedule and potential defenses, it looks as though The Killer Death Machines will set a new record as the longest reign of either championship in our now 3+ years of operation.

In 2019, we set a new, all-time record for the largest roster of women wrestlers ever assembled for a single event at LEGENDARY. At LEGENDARY, 54 women competed in matches. 2 Women were on commentary, Allysin Kay and Veda Scott. 6 Women were involved in the event in non-wrestling capacities – Gail Kim, Allie (Cherry Bomb), Brandi Rhodes, Britt Baker, Nyla Rose and Rosemary.

LEGENDARY would also see the debut of our first non-binary competitor, Sophie King during her brief, but memorable moment is RISE of The Contender. Sophie would go on to have more moments in 2019 too.

In 2019, we widened the scope of what we do to create opportunities for development and to showcase skills at PRIDE & JOY. We transitioned from Developing Tomorrow’s Women Athletes to Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions, looking expand our efforts for wrestlers in the LGBTQ+ community.

In my opinion, the most important stat of 2019 is 100+ of the fans in attendance of PRIDE & JOY were first time Live Event fans. And I do not just mean RISE Live Events fans. A HUGE amount of people reached out to me and different members of our team to inform us PRIDE & JOY was the first time they ever attended ANY pro wrestling event. It was the first time they felt represented. It was the first time they felt welcome.

Representation Matters, and we will continue this focus as we move ahead into 2020.

And now, here are the numbers I really didn’t believe as I was tallying them.

In 2019, 93 matches transpired inside the rings of RISE, spanning 2 Countries and 4 states.

In 2019, 115 professional wrestlers competed inside the rings of RISE:

102 Women Athletes

12 Male Athletes

1 Non-Binary Athlete

In 2019…I cannot even tell you how many people attended Seminars. Honestly, it’s just too much labor to count it up, going through old emails and PayPal invoices. But, it was a LOT. Easily over 100.

In 2019, we formally joined forces with Freelance Wrestling Academy. This is effectively the RISE Wrestling School for anyone who asks the question. Isaias Velazquez handles the beginners classes. Jesus Bryce (Benjamin) handles the advanced classes. I have joined both more often than not every training day possible the back half of this year, doing whatever possible to use RISE resources and pay it forward to the new generation of talent from our local scene.

Whether you’ve realized it or not, several wrestlers who’ve been part of RISE this year came by way of Freelance Wrestling Academy, some in dark matches, others making formal debuts at Live Events. Those wrestlers included, Davey Bang, August Matthews, Elayna Black, Storm Grayson, Warbear Eda and Jay Raves. And that list will grow in the months to come.

In 2019, tonight in fact, we start HORIZONS Weekly Seminars. Open to all wrestling roles, all gender identities. We will offer formal RISE training, on par with our World Class Development Seminars every single Thursday. For now, the Seminars are based in Berwyn, IL. In 2020, we are looking to take these on the road as well as move into a new facility in Chicago, but more on that as time passes.

We will also have LIVE content every Thursday on YouTube. We hope to have matches most weeks, but that will depend on Seminar signups and experience levels in each Seminar. Tonight for example, only one Seminar attendee has had matches prior, so we likely will not have matches tonight.

In 2019, we had 5 LIVE iPPV Streams on FITE. Thank you to my dear, longtime friend Mike Robles of Smart Mark Video Without him, these would not have even remotely been close to possible to make happen.

And I was torn about putting this last part in, but, here goes.

In 2019, there is one very important number where we have to place focus. For as many moments as we had, for the sold out shows and fairly well attended Seminars, one thing we did not do – profit. Not one cent. That cannot and will not continue to happen in 2020. RISE will simply cease to exist if we cannot turn the financial boat around and sail for profitable waters.

The Live Event Model, if I’m being frank, will never make money. The level of talents involved, the transportation and logistical costs, we would have to double or triple ticket prices to make the Live Event profitable. And I’m not about to do that.

So, we can either scale back…immensely…in a way where the caliber of shows would change. Or, we can simply try this.

Let’s get more EYES ON RISE. Tweet it. Instagram it. Facebook It. #EyesOnRISE.

There is no such thing as a bad way to support. Even the free ways help in some way, because it’s all #EyesOnRISE.

One FREE way everyone can support, watch our YouTube Channel. We have uploaded the entirety of Year One. I started uploading Year Two this week, and you will see more and more content from 2018 soon, including the first several episodes of ASCENT. Watch our stuff, share our stuff. It all helps get #EyesOnRISE.

Subscriptions to riseascent.com are also a big help. Though not free, $4.99 is a pretty solid price to get our entire library of content (including full shows as opposed to heavily edited down YouTube matches). Plus, you get all Bar Wrestling Shows featuring many, many talents you know and love from RISE. You also get content from these great providers: AAW Pro, Angel Gate, Atomic Championship Wrestling/Rogue Women Warriors, Bombshells Ladies Wrestling, British Empire Wrestling, Chaotic Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Eve, Ladies Night Out – Title Match Network, Queens of Combat, Gangrel’s Wrestling Asylum and Wrestling Theology Fellowship. And remember, a login to riseascent.com also opens access to our Apps on iOS and Android.

You can get 12 months now for a discounted price of $40 through December at rise-wrestling.com/holiday.

And, though it’s not exactly #EyesOnRISE in-ring product, it certainly helps. A couple of ways you can wear RISE, getting our tees, hoodies and more:

prowrestlingtees.com/kevinharvey

teespring.com/stores/rise-wrestling (20% off using code HOLIDAY through December)

I do NOT share this to be Mr. Doom and Gloom or be some carny SOB to spike any particular sales, etc. I do NOT share this to try and shame anyone for “not supporting enough.” Let me circle back to the first paragraph of this article.

“Whenever you did it, however you did it, if you are reading this, I am going to go ahead and assume in some way, you supported RISE in 2019. And for that, I sincerely thank you.”

I thank you for all you do to make what we do worth every bit of investment we put into developing a worldwide pipeline of talent for ALL of professional wrestling. If you love what we do, share it with others you know who love wrestling.

Let’s share what we love.

Let’s not look at any of this as a negative.

Let’s look at this as making 2020 the year of getting more fans involved in what we do.

Let’s make 2020 the year we get more #EyesOnRISE.

Our fans are amazing, and we continue on through your support.

You really are THE BEST!

Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Kevin Harvey

Executive Producer, RISE – Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions

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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…

Mia Yim

Kay Lee Ray

Viper

Karen Q

Britt Baker

Kris Wolf (retirement)

Rachael Ellering

Kylie Rae

Chelsea Green

Allie/Cherry Bomb

Deonna Purrazzo

Leva Bates

Jinny

Toni Storm

Penelope Ford

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?

VERY!

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.

 

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This one is not going to read like a press release, but please consider this an official statement from RISE – Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions.

My name is Kevin Harvey. As most who will read this already know, I am the Owner and Executive Producer of RISE – Developing Tomorrow’s Wrestling Attractions. This piece is not about touting whatever self-important titles I could give myself. This piece is falling on my sword as everything day to day outside of show dates falls on me.

As many of you probably saw today, RISE, through our Social Media and website, were openly marketing our Video Library available at Twitch.tv, an Amazon property.

Only now have I had a chance to review the day’s social media engagement in full. After hearing concern from a few of our followers, only then did I realize the bigger picture of some things happening in the world outside my bubble.

I had zero knowledge there was an Amazon Strike today. Being at work all day (outside of wrestling), being generally caught in my own bubble within wrestling, and nearly all things I follow outside those worlds being overrun with headlines and commentary in the world of politics – this somehow was completely off my radar.

As such, I did know it was Prime Day. I knew little else of it beyond the fact it was a hashtag. I took a brief moment after hearing from a few RISE fans to inform myself about the issues at hand by simply searching #PrimeDay and #AmazonStrike.

I encourage all to do the same.

What I learned in this brief research was this. RISE has been promoting our channel, touting #PrimeDay and directing our fans to use their Prime Accounts to get free subscriptions to our Twitch Channel.

And knowing now what I did not earlier today, I really wish I had not done so.

For better or worse, the filter used in RISE decisions is “what is the right thing to do.” And promoting and directing traffic to this channel was not the right thing to do.

As such, anyone who signed up for our Twitch Subscription Service today will receive a code for one free month instead to riseascent.com. We made the promise of free access to our content today, and this is the best way we can deliver. Those who signed up for Twitch today will receive a direct message from me with a coupon to use for access on our other platform.

In the long term, we have several subscribers to our Twitch Channel who have paid for access to content too. We cannot simply pull the plug on the service entirely without negatively impacting those to whom we’ve made a promise of content delivery.

I will be watching the Amazon situation from here out, and time will tell if we elect to continue to use this platform.

For now, my personal apologies to employees of Amazon and their friends and families. Once I became aware of bigger picture issues, I too was put off by my own actions and promotion of Twitch today of all days.

We can do better.

We can be better.

And it all gets better when we all work together.

Thank you to those who shared your feedback. Thank you those who support us every day.

Thank you for reading.

Kevin