The Epic Disaster

Although I drove (or Steve drove me more accurately) almost all the way to the LA Entertainment Center for the phantom show, I do not find myself as angry as many other fans. I think a lot of fans failed to realize who Gary Yap was and what EPIC really was for a long time and being burned like this came like a wild Excalibur elbow to the face. I, and Steve and Scrub and many others, actually predicted something like this long ago before EPIC had even run a show. Gary thought that was unfair, which one could argue for, but based on the fact that this is pro-wrestling, it was not such a terrible prediction to make.

When I described EPIC as being another “money mark promotion” in May on, I was given a message by a wrestler that Gary was very displeased with the comment, thought I was totally unfair, and was determined to prove everyone wrong. I never questioned his motives or his desire to succeed, but once again, this is pro-wrestling. In the end, everything about EPIC screamed “money mark”. I even question why some wrestlers felt so cheated and victimized by Gary after this last show. Wasn’t he just another mark with big pockets for you to squeeze some big pay offs and exposure out of? Just be glad you got what he gave while he still had green.

News that Gary has yet to call anyone twenty-four hours later is disappointing. It is tough to argue that he is a good man at heart when he is either too terrified or too stupid to face the people he disappointed. A very weird man, he is, speaking eloquently and passionately about what he wanted to accomplish and yet making the same mistakes hundreds had made before him.

I was told before the first EPIC show that the budget for the first show was $10,000. They needed five hundred fans at twenty dollars a pop to break even. By show time, expenses had gone beyond that figure and the show drew about three hundred paying fans. After losing at least $5000 on the first show, did EPIC change plans? I’ll give them credit for saving thousands on a cheaper venue but at the same time they continued wasting thousands in production on a TV show that brought them no new fans, using CZW guys when CZW itself would not bring back any EPIC guys, and allowing New Jack to tear morale apart backstage while also likely giving him a nice pay off despite being no draw at all. EPIC then lost over $20,000 on its August show, and all for what ? Some nice looking footage? Didn’t he pay attention when XWF pro-shot a pilot with Hulk Hogan and found no buyers? Gary tried to run EPIC like a “television company” when only one promotion in the country makes viable money off the medium. TV expenses only helped kill ECW, but apparently it somehow was going to help EPIC.

In the end, Gary resembled the typical “money mark” that was predicted months ago. Actually, he ended up far worse. Stringing along everyone with no actual money is the mark of a carny. With all the criticism levied towards Roland Alexander for his “carny” tactics, I don’t recall anything as embarrassing as this. When Alexander lost $14,000 on King of the Indies, people gasped. Yap lost almost twice that on one show, and Alexander has never cancelled a show on a couple hours notice leaving dozens of people stranded.

Now if he decides to continue EPIC, he will have to start over. How wasteful, to have built up something so remarkably potential only to tear it down. I’d compare EPIC to a phoenix but I don’t really think the fed ever shined brightly enough to warrant such a comparison.

Sorry, Gary, you fucked up about as worse as it gets. It does not matter what your intentions were, actions speak louder than words. Remember that when people you always expected to show up at EPIC do not at the next.

Year End Awards

In a prior column I listed EPIC as my #1 promotion of the year. Mark that down as a big mistake for anyone that would like to keep tabs on stupid things I may write. I have little idea who I will vote for Promotion of the Year at this point. Maybe UPW which has run consistently, drawn well, created a few memorable storylines (Corino’s turn on Howard was a hot angle even though it seemed jarring), and put on some decent matches too. Maybe FMLL which ahs also run consistently and probably put on tons of great matches no one has seen since no one from the net seems to watch their shows! Even RevPro has come on strong lately by running consistently and putting on some great matches. And of course EWF who run more than anyone. EPIC deserves mention for the great matches it produced but that is all it had. The storylines were inconsistent and the management too terrible to warrant the top position.

Here are some more picks:

Tag Team of the Year

1. Mexico’s Most Wanted

2. Havana Pitbulls

3. Lost Boys

Rookie of the Year

1. El Gallinero Tres

2. Shawn Riddick

3. Skulu the Savage

Show of the Year

1. EPIC 7/14

2. RevPro 3/22

3. EPIC 8/11

Mexicos Most Wanted have wrestled relatively consistently in SoCal for both XPW and different lucha feds. Their lucha offerings I have seen have been decent, with one off the charts performance in Tijuana although I suppose that doesn’t count. They have been XPW’s most over tag team and my one experience watching an XPW show this year, they were the highlights, carrying a four way tag with Halloween looking especially amazing in the match. The Pitbulls have been consistently good and pushed in every fed they’ve wrestled and the Lost Boys have improved leaps and bounds when they were already good rookies to start.

Gallinero’s gimmick is hilarious (at least to me) and he is also one of the most athletic wrestlers in the area. He and Top Gun Talwar had some decent rookie matches but where he’s really shined was against Super Dragon, who is also one of the greatest indy wrestlers at carrying more inexperienced guys. Riddick is much more polished but doesn’t have the charisma or great matches Gallinero has. Skulu is a dancing machine. This year’s crop is tough to pick.

The shows are also tough since no show was a total slam dunk. EPIC’s July show is the closest, with two MOTYCs and a really good opener as well. It also featured the only show in EPIC’s short history to use angle development wisely. The March RevPro show had a great main event and many solid undercard matches as well and the August EPIC show had a lot of good matches.

Next column will start a series of columns where I go more in depth on wrestling school safety in SoCal. Schools being featured will include UPW, EWF, WPW, RevPro, and XPW. I’ll also comment some more on year end awards and look back on some of last year’s winners and see where they are.