Gabe Sapolsky recently spoke with Uproxx about the upcoming WWE Global Cruiserweight Series, which will feature from Sapolsky’s EVOLVE promotion.
Sapolsky also talks about how the WWE / EVOLVE relationship started, what to expect from the Global Cruiserweight Series tournament, and more. You can read some highlights below:
Gabe Sapolsky comments on starting a working relationship with WWE:
WWE got into a very progressive mindset when it came to the independents and started looking into where talent was coming from. When they did this, they looked at Evolve and guys like Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Kalisto, Neville and several other talents that came from Evolve, and they looked at me personally from my time at ROH when I booked guys like Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and CM Punk going way back… so they looked at the track record and realized it was in their interest to support us and make sure this independent undercurrent of talent keeps flowing.
Sapolsky comments on the GCS breaking WWE’s ‘indy rule’:
I believe every rule from the past has already been thrown out at this point. I mean, we’re seeing things now that a couple years ago would’ve been impossible. From Samoa Joe being the NXT Champion… it didn’t look like there would ever be a time when he would even be in WWE, to them acknowledging the past with A.J. Styles… these were all things that were unheard of, but WWE has a cutting-edge mindset at this point and anything is possible. They’ve basically taken all those old rules and standards and completely thrown them out the window, which makes this such an exciting time right now for the fans and what makes 2016 such a mind-blowing year.
How the EVOLVE style compares to the WWE style:
One thing I love hearing from WWE, and they’ve told me this several times, is they’re not trying to change who we are. They’re not giving us guidelines or restrictions or anything… they want us to keep doing what got us to the dance, and what got us this level of attention. That’s really been a great development with WWE. So, the Evolve style right now, we do have some high flying, maybe some hardcore-type stuff, but the emphasis is on pro wrestling; grappling, catch style, suplexes, submissions, striking, kicking… just a good, strong style of professional wrestling. The fans have been very receptive to it. Our business has done nothing but grow since we’ve gone to this style.
What we do at an Evolve show, we want every match to have meaning and substance behind it. There’s no four-ways or six-ways that are thrown together because we have the guys booked. Maybe they’re fun matches, but you forget about it a few minutes after they happen. Every match we do has a purpose behind it, and is part of a bigger story, which is the entire show. The bottom line is, when you sit down and watch one of our shows, it’s gonna be like a movie, something you can watch straight through in one sitting and feel like you got more than your money’s worth. That’s really what defines the Evolve style, and, from what I understand, that’s what WWE wants from us.
Sapolsky on the term ‘cruiserweight’ stereotyping some wrestlers:
It has been a lower-card term through the years, but now it’s about emphasizing wrestling. The fact that the cruiserweights are getting their own tournament and not relegated to a certain match on the show, that’s a significant investment from WWE. For them to put that kind of spotlight and emphasis on it means it’s gonna be taken very seriously and that these talents are gonna be showcased at their best.
Usually, cruiserweight refers to “high flying wrestlers,” or something like that, but when you look at a guy like Zack Sabre, Jr., he’s not a high flyer, he’s a guy that’ll twist someone’s body into a pretzel and make him tap out. That’s just an example of the new style of cruiserweights that’s gonna be featured in this. The old perception of a cruiserweight just doing a couple dives off the top rope in a three-minute match is gonna be completely changed by this tournament. It’s really gonna break every single mold that the term “cruiserweight” had before and take it in new directions.