Monday, January 9, 2012
13 Questions With Gabe Sapolsky; EVOLVE 10 Preview!
EVOLVE 10 will occur live from South Philadelphia, PA at the "World Famous" Arena on the corner of Swanson and Ritner (Tickets still available by calling 267-519-9744 or you can watch live on iPPV, by ordering here: http://www.wwnlive.com/signup.php?id=219). Rather unbelievably, this event will mark the final pro wrestling event scheduled for the venue were Sabu made his name as a "Homicidal, Suicidal Maniac," Tommy Dreamer was the "Innovator of Violence," Public Enemy danced around the ring to Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes The Hotstepper," Terry Funk cemented his legacy as a "Hardcore Icon" and so much more!
Gabe Sapolsky shared his time with us to talk EVOLVE 10, why this show is important for him on many levels and much more!
1. It has been just about 6 weeks since the announcement of the union of Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE. Describe your feelings as EVOLVE 10 approaches, being the first show since that announcement?
Gabe: I am very excited because EVOLVE 10 on January 14th will showcase all the benefits of the union between Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE. Enough of talking about it. Now it is time to show everyone what this means and blow everyone away.
2. EVOLVE 10 will be the final event at former ECW Arena on January 14th and broadcast live, world-wide on iPPV at WWNLive.com. For DGUSA/EVOLVE fans who don’t know, what was your role with ECW from 1994-2001 and why “A Tribute to The Arena” is important to you?
Gabe: I did some of everything behind the scenes in ECW, including running the ticket office upstairs at Tod Gordon's office and then at my apartment, yes my apartment, for those years for all the ECW Arena shows. It is very important that we send the building out the right way because now it will become a legend. Everyone who went there will talk about the time they went there 25 years from now. Those who never got to go there will forever regret it. So much has happened in that building including a great deal of personal history. I can literally look in every corner of the building and think of a memory like a friend I met or a match I saw among other things. Now we have a chance to write the final chapter and it has to be special.
3. EVOLVE 10’s Main Event is Johnny Gargano’s first Open The Freedom Gate title defense and is against Ricochet. You’ve released an excellent video to highlight this match and it can be said for both guys, but with Gargano specifically, there has been so much growth by both talents the last two years from when they debuted in EVOLVE. Do you find that to be extremely rewarding and a great return on investment, professionally and personally or both?
Gabe: Yes, it is definitely very rewarding. It's also the most fun thing to watch as a booker. There is nothing like watching a talent work hard, have that drive and motivation and improve. Gargano and Ricochet both have those qualities. It is inspiring to watch.
4. DG USA and EVOLVE has really made a mark with their on-line, “viral” videos, like the one mentioned before, along with Sami Callihan and Bobby Fish as well. How important do you consider those videos are in terms of creating a buzz and generating interest for the shows? Is that something you urge or encourage wrestlers to do or do guys like Callihan etc. take charge on their own?
Gabe: Yes, I urge everyone to do it. It's all free advertising. It's a great way to get your name and character out there. It's great promotion. There are no negatives about it.
5. Sami Callihan vs. Bobby Fish will also meet for the 2nd time on 1/14. Callihan earned “Wrestler of the Year” talk in various placed for his 2011 efforts. Fish has arguably been the “best” story in EVOLVE since the beginning and is truly an example of the “homegrown star” efforts for wrestlers in these companies. What should fans expect to see or look for in this match?
Gabe: Both Callihan and Fish are great talents who have done a tremendous job and have that drive to get better. I think this could be the show stealing match. Both are really fired up for it.
6. Speaking to the approach of building “homegrown stars/talent,” which we talked about just about 6 months ago, has that process met your expectations?
Gabe: Yes, it has surpassed my expectations actually. I am very excited about our talent roster now. I feel we have a very diverse roster where everyone brings something different to the table. It has given us a very fresh and exciting product. This talent roster is also a lot of fun to book. I think the EVOLVE show this Saturday will really show how good these guys are. I've been calling them today's new stars and I firmly believe that. The next wave of talent aren't coming tomorrow, they are here today, and it has given us a tremendous homegrown roster. Please know when I say that I'm not taking credit for developing them or saying they were unknowns before they came to us, when I say homegrown talent roster I mean we have been able to brand a roster as our own when they are in DGUSA and EVOLVE. It takes nothing away from any other promotion they are currently in or where they cut their teeth.
7. On the flipside of that, do you ever have to resist or fight the urge to book wrestlers that could be an additional draw or provide an additional boost to DG USA or EVOLVE?
Gabe: No, if the right talent is available who can add something to the show and we can come to a business agreement we will book them. Our goal is to give the fans the product possible. If there is someone who can add to that we will book them. It is all about giving the fans more than their money's worth.
8. You have been sharing very important and personal ECW Arena reflections via Facebook over the last month. What type of emotion has that stirred up for you and have you used it to motivate you in planning and prepping for EVOLVE 10?
Gabe: Thank you for reading. For people out there you can read it at www.Facebook.com/BookItGabe. It's funny you put it that way because it definitely has stirred up a lot of emotion for me. It got me thinking about all the stuff that I will never forget that happened in that building whether it was during ECW or booking ROH or DGUSA or any of the other shows I have seen like CHIKARA and CZW. All of that has just got me really hyped up to make sure the building goes out the right way, that we have a proper farewell and that we have a killer show.
9. How are wrestlers approaching being a part of the final event at such an important building? I know some wrestlers have shared some thoughts in the most recent WWNLive.com Magazine, but is it something organic where they’ve come to you because they know they are about to be part of history?
Gabe: It is very organic. Everyone grew up watching something in that building, whether it was live, on TV, on videotape, on DVD. Everyone who got into wrestling was influenced by something that happened there. It is a goal of everyone to wrestle in that world famous building one day. I'm not just talking about American indy wrestlers, but wrestlers all over the world. It is a very special place and now we have a special opportunity to have the last show there on January 14th.
10. What is the “sleeper” match of EVOLVE 10 and which wrestler has the best opportunity to really break out?
Gabe: That's a tough question to answer because I feel we have put together a really strong card from the opening bell to the Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet main event before the final Tribute To The Arena segment. I think if everything goes well that everyone has a chance to get over. I'm looking to have a statement show here.
11. EVOLVE 11 is scheduled for April 13 and a Canada debut. Is a goal for 2012 to have EVOLVE run bi-monthly at a minimum as part of the plan with mixing the DG USA events? Are there any other markets drawing strong consideration to host a show?
Gabe: I'm not going to say we have a goal or set number of shows in mind. We are going to hold shows when we have a good opportunity and it makes sense. It will be more regular than 2011 and easier to follow, especially with the union.
12. What is your biggest challenge in 2012?
Gabe: Good question! There's a lot of challenges ahead. I'd have to think about it.
13. How can fans best support EVOLVE, DG USA, WWNLive.com and also connect with you?
Gabe: It's simple- come to a show, buy a DVD, buy an iPPV, buy a shirt, if you feel we are worth supporting please support us. Every sale counts on this level. I can be reached on Twitter @BookItGabe and Facebook.com/BookItGabe. Also make sure to check www.DGUSA.tv for all the news and info on upcoming shows. You can also sign up for our Email News Express and WWNLive.com Email Magazine which are great ways to get the news delivered right to you. Thank you for the interview.