Gabe Sapolsky sent out the following “State of EVOLVE & DGUSA” address today…
We are extremely proud of the roster we have built over the last few years. It’s been an amazing journey watching the new generation grow and develop into today’s new stars. This is the strength of DGUSA and EVOLVE.
2012 was a landmark year. We said goodbye to PAC and Brodie Lee, who both signed WWE contracts. Recently, we saw Jon Moxley, who has an extensive history in DGUSA and EVOLVE, make a sudden impact in WWE as Dean Ambrose. These developments prove that the new wave of major league talent is on the current DGUSA/EVOLVE roster.
DGUSA/EVOLVE does not have tomorrow’s stars, our roster features the best going today. We have strengthened our roster this year with over 15 talents signed to contracts. In addition, our positive work environment and growth potential has allowed us to re-sign several of our established stars to multi-year contracts. This means we have secured a tremendous roster for you to follow.
We are also pleased that several talents have been able to travel to Japan to have a strong presence in Dragon Gate. Ricochet is a legitimate star in Japan. Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano, half of the Open The United Gate Champions AR Fox, Rich Swann, Larry Dallas and now Scott Reed have all had successful tours of Japan in 2012.
Another positive development was the arrival of guest stars, particularly El Generico. He has been a significant force in both DGUSA and EVOLVE after his unforgettable surprise debut at Mercury Rising 2012. Other notable guests in 2012 include Colt Cabana, The Young Bucks, Sara Del Rey, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and some extreme favorites at EVOLVE 10. There is no telling who will show up in 2013.
This might sound like a lot of hype and bragging, but we are this proud of our roster. We are very excited about the possibilities going into 2013.
It was a very mixed year for DGUSA and EVOLVE live events. We entered 2012 with a goal of running more live shows. We felt that only running three EVOLVE cards in 2011 stalled the momentum of the promotion. In addition, we felt there was too long of a gap between DGUSA weekends in 2011. The solution was to form a union between the two brands, run more EVOLVE cards between DGUSA weekends and build momentum. This was both a success and failure.
The first failure was losing three of our mainstay, “go to” buildings due to various reasons. BB King’s in Manhattan wasn’t happy with the food and drink sales at our events and would not book anymore shows. The former ECW Arena in Philadelphia and the Ace Arena in New Jersey both closed down. This left us without any homes in the Northeast. We are still struggling to find a new one. We do have hopes for The Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, which is a first class, centralized facility.
This has led us to try new areas with mixed results. The year started out hot with great crowds in Philadelphia for the final Arena show, Los Angeles and Miami. However, we were unable to draw good crowds in new areas like the Carolinas and Florida. We also had decent results in the Midwest and Toronto, and were devastated by Hurricane Sandy at the last DGUSA tripleshot.
However, we do feel positive about the fact that we tried some new areas. We hope to continue that in 2013 and even build on what we started this year. We do not rule out running shows anywhere.
We were very pleased with the in ring quality of all the shows and felt more events provided a stronger product for you to follow. The outlook for 2013 is on the upswing. WrestleCon could be the biggest crowds in DGUSA/EVOLVE history. There are some leads in the New York City area for a new venue. A West Coast return in the works and there is some other stuff in development. We recognize a crowd can make or break a show. We will do our best to bring the most exciting action with a fun, good live atmosphere to you.
We realize this is a controversial area with DVD vs. iPPV distribution. We also know that we promised that DVDs would be out faster and while we have had several recent releases, we haven’t delivered. You don’t want to hear excuses, you just want DVDs. Now we will fill you in on what’s going on. So here’s the deal.
DGUSA/EVOLVE is a mom & pop small business operation with limited resources, both financially and from a manpower perspective. Late last year we lost a key member of our staff for several months due to a medical emergency. This was a huge setback. However, we were getting back on our feet with DVD production when we had to make some choices.
It is no secret that DVD sales are down everywhere. You just have to walk into the shrinking DVD section of Best Buy to see that. Now don’t get us wrong, we still know that DVD collectors are plentiful and many of you want to own our shows. We appreciate that and we will always serve you with high quality DVDs that play anywhere in the world with top notch packaging and production. Our recent Mercury Rising 2012, Open The Ultimate Gate 2012, Heat and EVOLVE 11: Finlay vs. Callihan DVDs prove that.
We were faced with a choice earlier this year: Put our limited staff and financial resources into DVDs or www.WWNLive.com iPPV? It is clear that iPPV is the future. We heard your demand for it. The growth in iPPV sales, both live and On Demand, backed that up. We made the decision to put our resources, for the time being, into WWNLive.com.
We have been very pleased with the results. We had flawless streams all year, except for an under five minute hiccup due to human error in January, which won’t happen again. WWNLive.com On Demand also has every DGUSA and EVOLVE show in history available to watch anytime. This has given us the opportunity to run a huge sale the whole holiday season where every show is 33% if it happened in 2012 to almost 50% off for all shows from past years.
In addition, we have seen growth with several partners including Kayfabe Commentaries, Combat Zone Wrestling, Extreme Rising, Family Wrestling Entertainment and $5 Wrestling all presenting live iPPVs through WWNLive.com. The emergence of this platform also paved the way for the SHINE promotion to be launched. In addition, several other promotions have taken advantage of the On Demand option to showcase their brands.
You can also now watch iPPVs at WWNLive.com on your iPhone, iPad, Droid device and just recently Xbox 360 and PS3. We have learned that both Xbox 360 and PS3 play our On Demand streams flawlessly, but you can only watch live events on PS3.
This has all happened in under two years! We are thrilled with the results and the best is yet to come. There will be a WWNLive Roku channel launched in early 2013.
This is all good news for DVD collectors. Why? This means that we have gotten WWNLive established so we can turn our resources back to DVD production. We will get the DGUSA and EVOLVE DVDs you want in your hands. In the meantime, we do have several great DVDs for you to catch up on, which you can get at huge discounts until this Friday night.
If you have any questions or comments about the above explanation we welcome it. We appreciate all of your support. It is only with your business that we are able to make WWNLive.com better for you and speed up our DVD production. Thank you for making it happen.
First of all, we appreciate you reading this State Of DGUSA/EVOLVE Address. I want to hear your feedback. What are we doing that you like? What can we improve on? What can we make better for you? Shoot us an email at [email protected] or use the social network buttons at the bottom of this WWNLive Alerts to give us your thoughts. We can only get better with your feeback.
2012 had its successes and failures. In 2013, we will build on the successes and correct the failures. We will end 2012 in style with EVOLVE 18: Gargano vs. Callihan on December 8th and build momentum to the huge WrestleCon weekend on April 5th-7th.
For me, 2012 has been a year of personal growth. My son turned three-years-old in October. I had no idea how to deal with kids before he was born. In fact, I’ll admit I pretty much ignored that kids existed. The last few years I have learned how to be a father. When I was with ROH, the company was my life. I lived it 24/7. The result was me going kinda crazy. It’s not something I can do now. It might sound weird, but it took me until a few months ago to figure out how to juggle being a dad and a pro wrestling booker. I have now found that balance.
I am really enjoying the Road To WrestleCon we started a few months ago. I look forward to the next chapter unfolding on December 8th. From there we will add some more events leading to the EVOLVE Title tournament on April 5th and then the biggest DGUSA shows of the year on April 6th and April 7th.
You will see EVOLVE, for lack of a better word, evolve over the next few months to the tournament. The EVOLVE concept was originally developed by Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) and I. Davey Richards then came in when Bryan left and had influence. However, we were unable to move forward with him. We tried to stay true to the original concepts, but now a new vision for EVOLVE is emerging. It’s not going to be a radical departure from the EVOLVE you know now, but it is time for some tweaks and changes. The new vision will be develop up until April 5th and the crowning of the first EVOLVE Champion.
Our next WWNLive Alerts will be sent when the new www.DGUSA.tv is live. In the meantime, please take advantage of our extended Black Friday Sales in the DGUSA.tv Store. They expire on Nov. 30th at midnight EST. and then they are done for good. Thank you for your time and support. We will close with a look at the EVOLVE 18 lineup.