Not too long ago, I was going through my text history with SHIMMER Executive Producer and my best friend in wrestling, Dave Prazak. I was trying to find a specific exchange. The date was August 2, 2016 and this was the exchange.
Within hours, an idea was pitched, a necessary blessing granted and a concept greenlighted. The concept didn’t even have a name at the time, but we knew it would begin November 10, 2016. That concept is what the world now knows as RISE – Developing Tomorrow’s Women Athletes. Still months shy of its official one year birthday, I honestly don’t know how to process everything that has happened or wheels that are currently in motion to happen by the end of 2017. I am proud. I am happy. I am humbled.
I am overwhelmed.
And hopefully as you read this, I’ll show you that’s not a complaint or a remotely bad thing.
The idea for RISE was born for just a few primary reasons:
• After November 2016, several key SHIMMER talents would no longer be available to us.
• WWE is heavily recruiting women wrestlers with their exciting new focus on building their brand of Women Superstars.
• Some variety of women’s tournament is in the works, and we have to be prepared for any of our A players to be unavailable to us at any time.
• We need to build a bench, and we need to do it now, not after the bench has been cleared.
• There is an immediate need for “next level” training in wrestling, and there just might be a place in the world for a wrestling company that puts learning first and all other matters second.
There were some loose facets of a formal business plan in place, looking roughly like a 2-3 year span. If there was enough interest, we could maybe, theoretically, eventually get there.
Why am I overwhelmed? Because before the end end of year 1, we will have executed the entire 2-3 year plan. The whole damn thing, including stretch goals, some of those what I openly called “pie in the sky,” because they were likely unattainable.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, and that’s a positive thing.
RISE was supposed to be the thing I’d do for Dave the day before SHIMMER’s Chicago tapings twice per year to help recruit and develop a bench of talent for SHIMMER. It was supposed to be a way for me to invest in future generations of women wrestlers and give them a platform to show us what they had live.
By the end of 2017, we will have held six RISE events in the Chicago Market, Los Angeles Market and Norwich, England?! And we launched the GAIN Co-Ed concept. And the VOICE Online Seminar Program… What happened to twice per year?!
I am overwhelmed.
Unexpected, unprecedented growth and success are all good things, but it has resulted in a whole lot of a business practice I like to call, “Ready, FIRE!!!, Aim?”
That’s not to say things are disorganized. That’s to say we’ve changed direction, largely due to supply and demand. Yes, it’s overwhelming, but it’s the best kind there is.
Over 100 people have passed through PIPELINE – Wrestling Talent Development Systems Programs of RISE, GAIN and VOICE. And we are about to open the floodgates for a whole lot more people.
Call me crazy. Call me foolish. You’ll be right. But a lot of the world’s coolest ideas were executed by people who were just crazy and foolish enough to try.
And it’s not just me. I’m lucky enough to have some crazy, foolish friends to help me execute these plans. Without partners like Dave, Bart Kapitzke, Saraya, Ricky and Zak Knight, this whole concept would be dead in the water. And there are more crazy friends coming to support the cause.
Add to that our Seminar Facilitators Saraya, Colt Cabana, Michael Elgin, Ace Steel, Rosemary, Dr. Tom Prichard, Madison Eagles and more to come this year, how lucky could I be?
But now, if we are going to promote truly World Class Development Seminars and are truly trying to find the best, new talent worldwide, it’s ignorant to think we can do that only in Berwyn, IL. That’s why we did our second outing with AWS in California. And that’s what brings us to the real motivation behind this blog.
September 15, RISE comes to Norwich, England. Holy hell! I cannot believe I am typing that, but it’s a thing. It’s a very real thing. I’ve got the credit card statement with the airfares to prove it!
What does this mean for RISE? This means we are taking a giant financial risk coming to the UK solely for the purposes of scouting talent for SHIMMER and to support WAW and Bellatrix for their huge weekend of shows at Epic Studios. That’s what’s in it for us. This is not a money maker. Full disclosure, the budget for this seminar and event is designed to be a financial loss because of what it can mean to the long-term success of the company and building a truly global brand of independent wrestling. This is what talent development and talent recruiting means to us. We are willing to take these risks if it means securing the best possible future of women’s wrestling.
Personally, one could fairly say I am “betting the farm” on RISE 4. Take that however you want, I won’t delve into all the specifics. This is truly independent wrestling. No sponsors. No corporate backing. No crowdfunding. I’m just a regular guy who works his regular full time job doing what he can to fund a vision, a vision I’m lucky enough to have a lot of people supporting.
I am overwhelmed.
What does this mean for talent? For one, I would like to think the opportunity to train with one of the best wrestlers active today, SHIMMER Champion Mercedes Martinez is a selling point, regardless of where it happens on the globe. And Madusa (more on her soon…) added to the mix? Who wouldn’t want to gain perspective from one of the absolute trailblazers for women’s wrestling?
Talent from the UK and Europe, why wouldn’t you want to do this? We’re bringing these trainers to you! And add to that, this is a direct tryout not just for RISE, but for SHIMMER Women Athletes, WAW, Bellatrix, British Empire Wrestling and more. You don’t have to cross the ocean. All the key players for all these promotions will be present in Norwich. Add to that, if you’ve ever had a goal of working in the United States, I have openly stated we will be picking at least one person from the seminar to be flown to the US for a guaranteed spot on RISE 5 – RISING SUN November 10.
We are taking the risk, hoping for the reward of discovering the best talent out here.
Won’t you take the risk, hoping to have line of sight from some of the top places worldwide for women wrestlers to ply their trade? Even in a worst case scenario, for your seminar fee, you will spend a whole day learning from the SHIMMER Champion and Mae Young Classic competitor and a WWE Hall of Famer. When I personally think of it that way, that doesn’t seem like a risk at all. That seems like an investment.
The success of RISE 4 – WARRIORS RISE in conjunction with Bellatrix 26 is critical for so many reasons. And we appreciate all the support we can get! We will post ticket and iPPV information by Monday, so fans round the globe will be able to see us live or on replays. The commemorative RISE 4 Shirts are now on sale available immediately at prowrestlingtees.com/kevinharvey or you can pre-order for pickup at Epic Studios September 15 at pipeline.ecwid.com.
We have every intention of coming out of the gates hot on this one, and we invite everyone worldwide to join us for the ride!
The Importance of Madusa
I sent what I would call a “Hail Mary” of an email to Madusa several months ago, fully prepared for the pass to get dropped or intercepted. It was one of those emails I thought I may never see a reply, but was worth a shot. Not only did Madusa reply, I am pretty sure she did so first thing the following morning.
Not only was she interested in what we were doing, but clearly she wanted to be a part of it. Madusa has a three event commitment with RISE September 15 in Norwich, November 11 in Berwyn, IL and December 1 in South Gate, CA.
Madusa has her reasons why RISE is lucky enough to have her as a Guest Facilitator for our World Class Development Seminars. And believe me, they will be way more interesting to hear from her than they would be to read from me. You’ll hear those details direct from her soon enough.
To the best of my knowledge, the only talent fortunate enough to have had formal training from Madusa were WWE Developmental Contracted Talents at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL… until now. The talent, skills and abilities of this WWE Half of Famer are now available to independent talents exclusively through RISE.
And that is pretty much the coolest thing in the world to me right now.
I cannot wait to share with the world what she has shared with me so far. That’ll be happening soon enough. Madusa isn’t coming in to grab a paycheck and leave. She’s all in on what we do, and she’s ready to blow some minds!
The fact that Madusa even entertained the idea of being involved?
I am overwhelmed.
RISING SUN and BRUTALITY
This is already a lot longer than I would have liked it to be, and I’m not even scratching the surface of what’s in store for RISE 5 and RISE 6. Here’s what I will hit for now briefly on RISE 5 – RISING SUN that’ll bring this whole blog full circle.
That first conversation I had at the Chili’s with Dave, I threw out a lot of names for potential seminars, some were more realistic than others. One idea I threw out involved the name of a true Joshi legend, and we laughed. It just seemed like another one of those “pie in the sky things.” It just wasn’t very likely.
That very name is who will be facilitating our World Class Development Seminar November 10. And, to the best of my knowledge, they have never been made available for training anywhere outside of Japan…until now (noticing a pattern here?)! Then the girls also get Madusa November 11?! And we’re back in LA December 1?!?!
Seminars for RISE 5 and 6 are open for registration at wrestlingpipeline.com/rise.
Tickets, including VIP Meet and Greet are also on sale now at pipeline.ecwid.com.
All Bets Are Placed, We’ll See You in Norwich!
That was a whole lot of reading, and I hope those of you who made it all the way through found something interesting in what was thrown out here.
Talent, we are here for you, and truly want to invest in your development, no matter where you are in the world.
Fans, you’re the reasons we all do what we do. Without you, we cease to exist. Thank you for your undying support. There’s never been a better time for women’s wrestling, and we’re excited to be a part of it. And we’re even more excited to be part of it with all of you.
Did I mention I am overwhelmed?
Thanks for reading,