A Shore Special--Through the Curtain: Defining the "EVO Style"
By Chris Shore
This is part four of my series on Pro Wrestling EVO, an upstart independent promotion in Salisbury, NC. You will find parts one and two of A Shore Special—Through the Curtain here. In this article, I get a clear explanation of what the "EVO Style" is.
After discussing what it took to make the first EVO show happen, and the talent that was on the show, the conversation naturally turned to the product. I opened with the most obvious question. "Everybody has a different style when it comes to what they are presenting. TNA uses a "hidden camera" approach a lot while WWE tells its stars to just ignore the camera backstage in most segments. And the differences in in-ring styles between companies are too many to even go through. What is the EVO style, and what makes it different from everybody else?"
I could tell Patrick had been waiting for this question. "Well, I look at our product from three different angles, and each one is absolutely paramount to our success in telling the story we want to tell. The first is in-ring. More than anything, I picked the guys I picked because I know they can work the style I want and not kill each other.
"You could rank us on a scale somewhere between ROH and Japanese strong style. I like to call it a 'very tight' style. It's more hard hitting, or stiffer if you like that word. We want to develop a sense of real competition amongst the boys. Sure, the end may be predetermined, but just because I lose doesn't mean I had the worst showing. We've all seen that in promotions since wrestling began, guys looking amazing in defeat.
"So that's why I have a bonus system. Whoever has the match of the night gets a bonus in their envelope at the end of the night. I really believe that the two guys who go out there and do the most with the time they have been given deserve to be recognized. And while they may not be our top story, they can still be rewarded for their effort. That's why I use the term 'tight.' Whoever is the tightest in the ring gets the bonus.
"But our 'style' is more than our in-ring product. I mean, there are 90 promotions in the Southeast alone that have guys that can do 450 splashes and other 'wow' moves. We can even see them on TV. So I also push fan interaction. And I think this is something that is missing from all of the bigger promotions, and even many of the smaller promotions.
"Have you ever seen your favorite band perform in a setting like The House of Blues? There is something so incredibly intimate about that because the band has to interact with the fans because there's no light rig or pyro to hide behind. You saw Joey Silvia interact with that woman who called him 'pretty boy.' She will remember that forever. And I want even go into all the interactions between Zack Salvation and that little boy. The kid will hate Zack for the rest of his life.
"My point is wrestling should be more than a show. It should be an experience. And the best way to ensure that it is an experience is to move fans from passive observers to active participants. You don't do that by putting them in the ring, you do it by bringing the characters and the action to them in a personal way. And so I instruct my guys to be looking for those opportunities.
"The last aspect of our product is the look. At the risk of sounding arrogant, my production and editing skills are top notch. I worked hard to perfect my craft, and I expect the guys to do the same. I will do everything within my ability to make them look like a million dollars. But I'm only part of the equation, and a minor part at that.
"These guys know, if they are going to work for me, they are going to look their part. Now we don't have to have big roided out guys who can't move. If anything, that kind of worker prevents me from having the action I want in the ring. But I expect them to go to the gym, to constantly improve their bodies and their cardio. We want to position our guys as athletes. So they better work out like an athlete put that same effort into their gimmick.
"Look, if you want the short version, we are about a hard hitting form of wrestling that is made possible by our athletic ability, enhanced with our gimmicks and characters, and polished with our fan interactions. And that is not only my style, but what I hope to accomplish every time we open the doors for business."
Questions and comments to css3238 or on Twitter @the_shore_slant. Check out more on EVO and order EVO Eight, the first DVD production from Pro Wrestling Evo on the EVO website. Don't forget the promocode DOTNET (all caps) to save $3 off the DVD price!
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