Hey wrestling fans. I recently got the opportunity to do an interview with Gabe Sapolsky who is currently the Vice President of Dragon Gate USA and one of the minds behind Evolve Wrestling. We got to talk for a few minutes and as always it was very informative and entertaining. What did we talk about? Read on to find outâ€¦
The first topic of discussion was, not surprisingly, Dragon Gate USA and their â€œOpen the Freedom Gateâ€ Show featuring the crowning of the first Open the Freedom Gate Champion. Gabe could barely contain his excitement for the match and couldnâ€™t wait to talk about all of the matches. He said, â€œThe best thing about this show is that every match is unpredictable. A lot of promotions have matches where you know what is going to happen up and down the card and when a different guy wins it is a big upset. On Saturday, every match can go any way.â€ He segued that into some hype for a contest going on at DGUSA.tv; in which the person who picks every single match right on the card will win a $100 shopping spree at the DGUSA.tv store. That sounds like a worthwhile venture to me. In addition to the possibilty of earning money, there will be a huge Black Friday sale (an extremely rare event) at DGUSA.tv.
Gabe was also careful to mention that this Saturday is the last chance that east coast fans will have to see DGUSA for the next six months or so with the next three shows happening in Chicago in January and Phoenix in March on Wrestlemania weekend. He continued his hype for the show talking about Brian Kendrick and Super Crazy making their returns to the Arena. (Kendrick had wrestled there once before, Super Crazyâ€¦I think heâ€™s been there a few times) He talked about all of the first round matches being completely different: two singles matches with very different styles of wrestlers, a six way featuring a lot of unknown wrestlers, and a fourway featuring a salute to Jorge â€œSkaydeâ€ Rivera.
That match was our next topic of conversation. Jorge â€œSkaydeâ€ Rivera was put over on the first show as sort of a grandfather of DGUSA. He trained CIMA and Mike Quackenbush who went on to found Dragon Gate in Japan and Chikara in America. Quack and CIMA were available to wrestle, and then it turned out Super Crazy was also free and had ties to Rivera from Mexico. Rivera took his match in a lucha de apuesta when Crazy was just a teenager. Rivera than turned out to be available and the match just sort of organically happened.
From there we started talking about his other wrestling project known as Evolve. Evolve of course is the joint venture of Gabe Sapolsky, Davey Richards, and FIP promoter Sal Hamaoui. Gabe said, â€œDragon Gate USA focuses a lot on the Japanese wrestlers, and there are a lot of great American stars who donâ€™t get the chance to shine in DGUSA. Evolve is a chance for them to make their names.â€ He made it clear that Evolve is not a minor league for DGUSA, but more of a new stage for a lot of unknown talent and even some known talent to get their names out there and make some noise. Gabe was excited about the premise Evolve and using more of a â€œsports style presentationâ€ for the promotion. If you go to the website Evolvewrestling.com, and I highly suggest you do, you will see a very different website and how it fits in with the idea of the company.
Gabe said that this is a chance for fans to see a professional company â€œevolveâ€ before their very eyes. Evolve features Davey Richards, of course, but also stars like Arik Cannon, the Dark City Fight Club, Tj Perkins, and Aeroform (a team made up of Flip Kendrick, who Gabe compared to 2004 Jack Evans, and Louis Lyndon). The Evans comparison alone gets me excited about Kendrick. The first Evolve show happens in Rahway, NJ on January 16th, so it may be a day to mark on your calendar.
I asked a little bit about the formation of Evolve and was very surprised by the answer. It turns out that recent WWE signee Bryan Danielson was suggested the name Evolve before signing with WWE. This is the first I had heard of Danielsonâ€™s involvement (click here for more & an update).
With talk of Danielson, I asked him how he felt about the recent success of some of the stars he booked in Ring of Honor. He said that he felt a tremendous amount of pride that these people were getting a chance to be a big TV star. Gabe said that he was happy to see guys that he pushed first getting a chance to peddle their wears on a larger stage and he hopes nothing but the best for them.
We concluded our interview talking about some of Gabeâ€™s favorite moments from the past decade. The first thing that came to his mind was Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi. I was in attendance for this event, and I can certainly agree that it was a special moment. He said that he made a special effort to be able to see the match, and talked about how it was the culmination of so much work and effort. Another match that stood out to him was from FIP, a two out of three falls match between Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. There were only about 35 people in attendance and Gabe compared to Apollo Creed vs. Rocky Balboa from the end of Rocky III when it was just the two of them fighting for themselves. He said that was what Danielson and Punk did, wrestled for each other and put on one hell of a match. He said that nothing from the other feds really stood out to him.
This was an awesome interview, and it was easy to see all of his passion for his current products. Gabe has been recognized year in and year out for his booking ability, and if you can judge by the first two DGUSA shows you can see that the tradition is continuing. Remember to check out DGUSA.tv; and Evolvewrestling.com for more information on his latest goings on.