No Alternative? is an annoyingly titled series of interviews that will hopefully introduce you to some of the independent wrestling promotions that we have come to love here at the blog. Rather than forcing yourself to sit through a dreary episode of Raw or a frankly embarrassing episode of IMPACT Wrestling (or whatever it’s called now) we want to show you that there is an alternative out there.
The fourth interview in the series is with Gabe Sapolsky, vice-president of Dragon Gate USA – originally an offshoot of the established Japanese promotion, but rapidly gaining fans off their own talent roster.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview. For some of our readers that might not be familiar with you could you give us a brief introduction to Dragon Gate USA?
Dragon Gate is the most cutting-edge promotion in Japan, based on incredible, athletic wrestling. We are Dragon Gate USA, which is the American branch of Dragon Gate. We have forged our own identity and talent roster based on the principles of Dragon Gate in Japan. DGUSA is all about action, excitement and the most amazing wrestling in the world
What would you say sets Dragon Gate USA apart as an alternative from the mainstream promotions such as WWE and TNA?
We cater to the diehard fans that love great wrestling. We won’t have over the hill wrestlers, a cookie cutter wrestling style, too many promos or all the negative things that come with sports entertainment. If you sit there and watch Raw waiting for an awesome CM Punk or Evan Bourne match to come on or sit there and watch TNA waiting for the X Division to be given a chance to shine than you can get those things with DGUSA, taken to the next level, without having to sit through all the crap and other stuff to get there.
Do you think WWE and TNA present a reasonable view of professional wrestling to the mass market? Do you feel they do anything right or are you not a fan at all?
They definitely do things right. They wouldn’t be around if they didn’t. In fact, you can’t argue with what WWE does. They are going for the mass, mainstream market and they do that very well. We are going for our niche of diehard, appreciative wrestling fans. It is all about what audience you are trying to satisfy.
One side of the 2 main promotions which gets heavy criticism (and that we on the site have been more and more interested in) is the womens’ divisions. Where does Dragon Gate USA stand on womens wrestlers? Are you fans of the more hard-hitting female wrestlers and intergender matches or would you prefer a more Diva/Knockout style division?
I think if you are going to do a serious women’s division, not like a Divas T&A thing, you need to really devote a good deal of your show to it. While we appreciate women’s wrestling in DGUSA, we are concentrating on the Dragon Gate stars from Japan mixed in with our homegrown talent roster we have developed so it’s hard to devote the proper amount of time to women’s wrestling without ending up with 4 or 5 hour shows, which we don’t want to do.
Are there any WWE/TNA wrestlers you would like to bring into Dragon Gate USA? Conversely, are there any of your roster that you feel would fit in well in one of the mainstream companies? And would you want them to?
Yes, of course there are WWE and TNA wrestlers who would make great fits in DGUSA. At the same time, I feel anyone on our roster would fit in with WWE or TNA if booked properly. I believe every wrestler, especially once they get near 30 years old, should go to WWE and make tons of money. I think younger guys, like 25-27 or so and younger, should work the indies and Japan so they can vastly improve themselves, gain confidence and maturity and also so they can fulfill themselves artistically.
What do you have coming up?
We have a full schedule of shows coming up including 9/9 Indianapolis, 9/10 Chicago, 9/11 Milwaukee, 11/11 Boston, 11/12 Philadelphia, 11/13 Manhattan, 1/27 in LA and then in Miami on Wrestlemania weekend. We also have several new DVD releases including all three “United” weekend events with the awesome Open The United Gate Title tournament, which was a round robin tag team tournament over all three events. Akira Tozawa also had an incredible weekend, which is worth going out of your way to see. We have so much great stuff on those shows. I’m really proud of them.
Do you have a match/trailer online that would give people an idea of what to expect at an Dragon Gate USA show?
We have lots of free videos on our Youtube channel at Youtube.com/DGUSAdotTV so hopefully anyone reading this will take a few minutes and go check it out. You can really get a good idea of the kind of action we offer with all the free videos we have.
Any last words for the readers?
We are here to serve true pro wrestling fans and give you the kind of action you crave. I think if you give us a chance you’ll end up really happy. Go to www.DGUSA.tv for all the info.