July 2018 - The Sports Connection: Destiny Wrestling Organization
Since the debut of the WWE Network and its hit show, NXT (a show for the future main eventers of WWE), a giant spotlight has been placed upon the world of Independent Wrestling. People all across the United States flock to their local wrestling events in hopes to see the local hero as he makes a name for himself and maybe, one day, graces the Wrestlemania ring with his presence. New Mexico’s own, Destiny Wrestling Organization, has been running shows since 2007 and a decade later they’re looking to be an even bigger player in the independent scene. New Mexico Entertainment Magazine sat down with the owners running the show to get their thoughts on how they’ve been doing, their goals, and who they want to step inside the ring in the years to come.
You’ve been around for over a decade, what are some of the challenges of running an independent wrestling promotion?
John: Some of the biggest challenges we face running an independent wrestling promotion is getting the word out about shows. We are working with a small budget here and advertising is expensive. Another challenge is being regulated by the NM Athletic Commission, all of the regulations and requirements cost a lot of money.
Matthew: I think the biggest challenge is keeping the show contemporary and keeping up with what the fans want to see and bringing in the talent they want to see.
Adam: I believe that the biggest challenge we have faced has been to get the mainstream wrestling fans to give us a chance. Many of them look at the flyer and don't see the WWE logo or any familiar faces, immediately turning them off from checking out our product. The good news is that typically when they attend their first show and realize that we are a great alternative to what they see on weekly television, they are immediately drawn in to our form of entertainment.
Kevin: One of the hardest things is always the financial side. We started out very small and have slowly worked ourselves into a national brand, but at the end of the day it is still very much a show to show budget. If we do not get the fans in the seats on just one show it can really hurt us putting together our next show. The other thing that is always challenging is trying to secure our talent every show. As independent wrestlers, they are in essence independent contractors, and they always need to be hustling to make sure they can get on as many shows as possible. So trying to make sure you can lock up your talent for all you shows is a challenge as there are no contracts out there and dates can be conflicting. So working around that and trying to make sure we still put on the show that our fans have come to expect from us is always a must.
Josh: We have seen a lot over the last decade, from wrestler’s car issues to location problems to you just don't have another light bulb for this or that. However the biggest obstacle is the amount of time it takes us away from our families.
Independent wrestling is bigger than it’s ever been, are there any names you’re hoping to work with such as Joey Janela or Matt Riddle?
John: There are always names on the independent scene that we are hoping to work with. We keep an eye out on who are the top of the scene. A lot comes down to scheduling, and the price that they are willing to work for. But we also pride ourselves on creating a product that has some of the best talent from around the Southwest and creating home grown talent that the fans love. But honestly we are constantly getting messages and emails from top talent that want to work for us. We have really become a nationally recognized organization because of the way we run our shows and top talent, and name talent have talked about our organization to others.
Matthew: Don't forget even though we are a local promotion all of us work outside the state and work with some very big names such as Joy Janella and Matt riddle. But we do have a list of talent that we've been in contact with to bring into Destiny wrestling. We pride ourselves on bringing in the best name talent and independent wrestling that you most likely will eventually see in the WWE.
Adam: We have been fortunate enough to bring in quite a few names that have gone on to have much bigger success within the wrestling world. The biggest example is "Crazy" Mary Dobson, who came in for a couple of shows in 2015-2016. At her first event with us, the fans were unfamiliar with her but were quickly attracted to her ability in the ring. Less than two years later and she is now competing in WWE as Sarah Logan! This is just one example but we have had quite an impressive list of talent who are on their way up in this business and will continue to bring these athletes in.
Kevin: There truly is amazing talent out in the world of professional wrestling right now, and being able to work with some of the name guys is always fun. But I’m a big fan of trying to build our current roster into household names. Showcasing Destiny Wrestling wrestlers, to as broad of an audience as possible. With that sometimes having that big star or Indy darling can really help get extra eyes on the product. But the real win is when you find a guy or gal that really has “it” and you are able to give him or her that place to showcase their talent and the fans truly see that next rising star, that’s killer.
Josh: We are always bring in New up and coming talent. We have had WWE legends come in and we have had talent signed after being on our shows. Pro wrestling is a revolving door and talent is always going around. So the best way to find out who will be showing up in a Destiny wrestling ring is to get a ticket and come have a hell of a time, because truly you never know whom might show.
Working with big names like Bubba Ray and Tommy Dreamer, who has been the most helpful in the growth of DWO?
John: They all have been helpful growing DWO at the time that we had them. The most helpful would be Tommy Dreamer. He put us over on his social media accounts numerous times even after his appearance on our show. He also talked about us on Edge and Christian’s podcast during is segment called from around the Indies. They even had Hobo Hank fill in for Tommy when he was in Australia for House of Hardcore.
Matthew: I think Bubba Ray Dudley winning are heavyweight championship and proclaiming it a world heavyweight championship and carrying it around the country had the biggest effect on our notoriety.
Adam: Having both Bully Ray (Bubba Ray Dudley) and Tommy Dreamer involved in the history of Destiny Wrestling has helped us out tremendously, as has every other major wrestler we have been fortunate enough to bring in. When mainstream wrestling fans see these familiar faces on our material, it brings them in to see what we are about. We don't always have these marquee names on our shows but if they can help bring a handful of new fans to witness our product for the first time, it's easy to see the benefits.
Kevin: Every Single “Star” we have had come through our door has added to our product in a positive way. No doubt about it. We have been extremely blessed in that way. But for me personally there are 3 that stand out the most. Mike Quackenbush was our first big name to come in, he was amazing to work with but more than anything he really spent the time to go over the business side of stuff and things he did to make his company a success. This was extremely helpful as we truly were in our infancy as a company at that point. If you could have a guy to mentor you in how things should be done and what you could do to get there he is the guy. Second is Sinn Bodhi from day one he has always just wanted to help, you can ask they guy anything about wrestling and he will tell you. From the young guys on the card all the way up to the vets he treats everyone with respect and is an open book and a true wealth of knowledge. Sinn truly wants to see the wrestling business flourish. Finally there was Tommy Dreamer, he is everything you could hope for in a wrestling Guru. He has done and seen everything and when he was on our show he took the time to speak with every wrestler in the back and answer anyone’s questions. He respected what Destiny Wrestling has been able to do in the world of wrestling and it showed as spent a good Hour talking to the boys and the girls in the back about how we were making Destiny Wrestling something special, and that was because of all the folks that were there right at that moment giving it their all.
Josh: Mike Quackenbush was great teacher that came in years ago and gave us a lot of advice that is still helping us grow today. However every person we have had in our locker room has helped us learn and grow.
Where do you want DWO to be in the next five years? Are you looking at things like live streaming shows?
John: I want DWO to be growing bigger and bigger over the next five years, I would like to see us in bigger venues other than community centers. I would also like to DWO really become more of a territory area and that we are putting on shows all over New Mexico, West Texas, Southern Colorado, and Eastern Arizona. Currently there are no plan for live streaming our shows, however we do feature 1 match a show on Facebook Live with our Full Access Championship. If we are packing the venue on a constant bases you never know live streaming might become an option. We want people to witness our product live in person. We are currently working putting together our library for release on Amazon Prime and some select show hopefully will be on Blu-Ray soon.
Matthew: We just want to make Destiny wrestling bigger and better. People say that we are one of the top five independent promotions in the country I would love to see us number one. And we do have streaming events. Our Full Access Championship matches are broadcast on Facebook live every show. I think eventually I would like to see us on Regional or national terrestrial TV.
Adam: The sky is the limit for Destiny Wrestling! As we speak, we continue to make a name for ourselves as being the top independent wrestling promotion in the Southwest. If there is anything that we can do to help grow that image, including live streaming, you can bet that we are going to try our best to do what we need to do. As a personal goal, I would love to see us have a packed show inside a large venue like Tingley Coliseum or the Santa Ana Star Center.
Kevin: Be great to have a really solid financial backing so we can expand our territory, all throughout the Southwest. Bring Back a little of the old school, with a weekly touring schedule throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. This in turn would afford us the ability to have weekly programming on the Web and TV.
Josh: In the next five years I would love to see Destiny Wrestling in more cities running a lot more shows and bringing professional wrestling back to the art form it truly can be.
What differences do you see in the promotion now since your start in 2007?
John: We have just gotten better at what we do. We have better wrestlers; we have been able to get the word out a little better. We have invested in areas of production and focused on putting out the best possible product that we can.
Matthew: The biggest differences from then to now is the quality of the talent and the amount of fans that come to our shows and the national notoriety that we get.
Adam: In 2007, we were still young and naive to this business we knew we loved. Today, we have matured and learned a lot in our decade-plus of running Destiny Wrestling. We have become better performers, promoters and businessmen to ensure that the DWO is a brand that fans can affiliate with as being a fun and alternative form of entertainment here in New Mexico.
Kevin: It’s just better. The wrestling, the production, the presentation all of it has become better and our Fans have been with us for the ride. They have always had our backs. We started out small and slowly grew the product, and the baby steps we took are now paying off as we have been able to transform ourselves into a nationally recognized brand. The next step will be to find that one thing to push us over the last hurtle were Destiny Wrestling will be out there in your town and you can see it live yourself.
Josh: Since we opened in 2007 the company has done nothing but grow and evolve, it's almost impossible for me to put into words how proud of what DWO has become.