The long strange saga of Apartment Championship Wrestling has taken another turn as the promotion announced a new agreement as well as the termination of an anticipated sale to a Japanese media conglomerate. These changes and the deal that fell apart would have ended the existence of the company in the United States and therefore ended the promotions North American domination. Through the twits and turns, the question that looms is whether ACW will flounder in disarray or come back stronger than ever.
Things were calmer three months ago and the organization was preparing for the media circus around the marriage of President and Founder Tanako X. The offices were going to close for a week while staff and talent were in Japan for the wedding. With all of the questions swirling about, X, days after his honeymoon consented to an interview which would end up turning into a “State of the Union for ACW.”
Is ACW still in business or is it Dead?
“Let’s just get right into the blood and guts,” said a rather blunt and animated X. “I’ve seen questions in some of the online chat groups asking ‘Is ACW Dead?’ Well, the answer is yes, no and maybe. Truthfully, ACW has been on life support several times over the last few years. While Mixed Martial Arts organizations have been growing a lot over the years, traditional professional wrestling has been struggling. ACW, and the apartment wrestling and catfight industries lie in between, but we are taking a harder hit than all of the other related industries.. With so many organizations popping up, it’s true that there are more people getting into the wrestling industries. However, that means that the quality of the performers is watered down, many of them are just trying it out rather than have this as a long term career goal and with so many options, there is no loyalty to a promotion. Years ago, a girl might spend 4 years in our training program and then 10 years in ACW. Now girls are running in and out of the promotion like it’s a bus stop. Anybody who is a fan of college basketball knows what it is like. You have a great player recruited to play basketball at your school, your team makes it to the final four and then the player bolts for the pros. As the owner of the organization, it gets hard to promote any of the talent when they may quit or jump ship at any moment.”
On top of that, these girls have been using apartment wrestling as a stepping stone to major pro wrestling opportunities or to modeling and entertainment opportunities. You just don’t see girls who are committed to this as a career. Therefore, when we choose to give a push to a wrestler, it’s based on a lot of things, but truthfully, I don’t want to push any talent that may not be here in a year. So we have been pretty handcuffed in terms of trying run our organization, planning tours of Europe and Asia, committing to promotional and marketing opportunities or cross marketing with other companies.
In the last eight years, we have had 42 lawsuits filed against ACW by current and former wrestlers. Many of these were used to blackmail the promotion and me in particular and almost all of them were without merit. Defending these however has been very costly. We settled two of the suits and prevailed in court on all of the other ones. Some of these girls find a lawyer looking to make a quick buck and hauling us in before a judge. The problem is, defending these suits takes money away from marketing and promotional opportunities as well as from pursuing new talent.
This has caused us to terminate our relationships with various feeder organization and we are seriously considering closing down the ACW Academy Dojo in Chicago, just to cut costs and stop the bleeding.
Then, we have to rethink all of our touring, all of our scheduling of matches within North America…. and then the economy is putrid. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. I don’t want to sound dire, but when you, the fan, see weird and unprofessional things going on within the promotion, you should know that we are constantly trying to adapt to the changing times, socially, technologically and economically and also trying to weather a lot of storms.
Well, there are several parts to this answer.
First of all, we have a lot of footage… a lot!
A great deal of our sales for our content are in the Asian markets. As such , we have certain guidelines that we must adhere to before making content available in that region. We had a distribution deal in place with one of our partners in Japan to roll out ACW content on DVD’s, online through downloadable clips and on On Demand services. Two days before the release of this media, Taylor Wilson, who used to wrestle with us, contacted someone from a cable network in Tokyo and said that some of the footage of her was about to be distributed without her having signed a release and that much of it involved nudity and sexual content. Although we have release form for all of Taylor’s content, the distributor got nervous and pulled all of the content until things could get resolved. There was no content of Taylor being released that was of a sexual nature. Nonetheless, by the time everything was sorted out, we had gone through every piece of footage and every release form and proved that we had the legal right to distribute our content, two years had gone by. Because Asia is so central to our market, it wasn’t feasible to putt out new DVD’s just in North America.
We are currently seeking a new distribution deal and hope to have new DVD’s available within the next 60 days.
What’s the truth behind all of the sexual harassment allegations and why is Taylor Wilson always stirring things up. Also, is this how Daniella Cartier got stock in ACW?
The truth is, I have engaged in personal relationships with a number of ACW performers. They are former champion Heaven, Dixie Monroe, Madison Payne and yes, Taylor Wilson. The problems between Heaven and ACW stemmed from our breakup as have the problems with Taylor. Taylor is a very smart woman and se spends a lot of idle time figuring out ways to screw with the promotion. She has made numerous allegation against me and the promotion, including sexual harassment, she prompted a number of girls to make similar allegations, she was behind those stupid “Fake Tanako” video sex footage last year. She has just been a constant source of problems for us. We finally sued her, but the court said that it couldn’t find that she acted in bad faith.
As for Daniella, while I really don’t like making public contractual arrangements, Daniella will simply be given stock options and able to buy into the company when she retires at today’s stock price. And no, there is nothing going on between Daniella and me and there never has been, but let me say this, Daniella is the best thing to ever happen to this promotion. More than anyone, she has been dedicated to being a wrestler, has been serious about representing the promotion and has personally stood by me through all kinds of troubles when she could have bolted for another promotion, so I don’t care what anybody thinks of our arrangement with Daniella.
The truth is that the problems in this promotion all began with the girls getting more control, more of a say and frankly more power. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely, but even a little bit o power in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand how to use it and doesn’t respect it can bring things crashing down all around them. These girls, and I mean Heaven, Taylor Wilson, Veronica Van Dyne, they have cost more jobs here than anyone knows and they simply didn’t care. Frankly, I’m tired out it and it ends here. From this point on, I will be running this promotion, the girls will be reigned in on a tight leash, they will be employees and will be rewarded according to their contributions to the company.
The DVD/Videotape division has been a complete mess for years. When Heaven was the champion, we rolled out a whole new campaign to promote our video series. Three days before the ads were to appear, Heaven used a technicality to pull us into court over her appearances on video. That caused the cancellation of the rollout and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It set us back several years. Ever since then, we’ve had one problem after another. Taylor Wilson’s latest stunt is typical. Anyway, we’re changing things around here right now. Six days ago, we called a promotion-wide meeting, all the staff, all of management and all of the wrestlers. I pulled out of their contracts out and tore all of them up. We gave every single one of the a chance to leave and sign on with another promotion or go into another area of work. The alternative was to re-sign with ACW with a brand new contract with terms very different from before. Every single person in the promotion re-signed. There will be no more of the bullshit that been going on for the last ten years. The inmates will not be running the asylum and they will not derail any more of our plans. They will either work the way we want or they will be fired. We’ve spent more time putting out fires over the last ten years than we have building product. well that ends now. We are venturing into different areas and taking a different approach with our current concerns.
First of all, we have decided to keep our training center in Chicago. Rather than incur the costs of relocating, we will make some changes that will make Chicago our home for years to come. Second, we are moving in new areas with our videos, both on DVD and on downloadable media. Third, we are looking to enter new media distribution methods such as youtube and podcasts. Finally, we have contracted to sell the rights to some of our media that involved nudity or adult situations to GID Ltd. This will take the adultthemed media into a different distribution stream.