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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Fans have voted, and they have selected LEGENDARY as the 2019 RISE Live Event of The Year. Looking back at our history and listening to how many fans felt since seeing LEGENDARY, it may well be the best RISE Live Event of all time.

LEGENDARY has it’s place in the history and record books. It was our first iPPV on FITE TV. It set a new, all-time record for the largest amount of Women Wrestlers ever featured on a single event.

What a roller coaster LEGENDARY truly was. Zoe Lucas wins the first-ever RISE of The Contender Match. Big Swole went the distance from Number 1 to the very end. New Tag Team Champions as The Killer Death Machines, Nevaeh and Jessicka Havok won The Guardians of RISE. The formation of New Nation. A heartfelt farewell to Kris Wolf. All capped off by a whirlwind of emotions seeing Kylie Rae defeating Mercedes Martinez to become Phoenix of RISE, only to be betrayed by her close friend Miranda Alize (like the drank), leading into Zoe Lucas seizing the moment to become Phoenix of RISE, defeating the already fallen Kylie Rae.

If you have not seen LEGENDARY yet, please check it out now 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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The fans of RISE have voted for their favorite match from each RISE Live Event of 2019. Now, the winners from each event have moved onto The Final Round! Fans can vote now for RISE Match of The Year – 2019!

We have also opened voting for RISE Wrestler of The Year, Tag Team of The Year and Live Event of The Year.

Vote for your favorites now at rise-wrestling.com/motyvoting! Voting is open until next Monday, then we will announce the winners right here at rise-wrestling.com!

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Beginning January 7, Tuesdays from 8 PM to 11 PM Eastern Time, RISEedu Online Development presents a 6 Week Course called Making The Most of The Microphone, a course designed to train pro wrestling announcers, commentators and interviewers both from the ground up for those looking to break into the industry as well as refresh and sharpen the skills of those currently in these roles looking to become better overall performers.

The curriculum for the 6 Weeks is as follows:

Week 1: Facilitator and Student Introductions; Outlining The Three Primary Announcer Roles – Interviewer, Ring Announcer and Commentator; Match Structure – Understanding Stories Told in the Ring

Week 2: Card Structure – How to Build Emotion in the Audience from Match One to Match Done; Interviewer 101 – Be More Than a Glorified Mic Stand

Week 3: Ring Announcer 101 – The Conductor of the Live Event Emotional Roller Coaster; Commentary 101 – Calling It Like You See It

Week 4: Interviewer 201 – Filling in the Blanks; Ring Announcer 201 – Special Situations and Pacing the Show

Week 5: Commentary 201 – More Than What You See – Special Attractions and Main Events; All Roles – The Art of Smoke and Mirrors When Things Go Wrong

Week 6: Putting It All Together; Group Feedback and Ideas

Registration fee for this 6 Week Course is $500. Registration is now open at rise-wrestling.com/riseedu.

 

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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