It depends what you consider "from scratch." Being on top in your local indy like someone like Ray Rowe was is one thing, but being on top in ROH or EVOLVE or even somewhere as "small" as CZW is different. Where does a promotion like AAW or AIW fall? Does PWG get credit for Trevor Lee when he was already working on top in PWX? Or how about someone that people already knew was good but who Gabe just happened to be the first one to really do something with? Everyone knew Joe was great, but Gabe made him SAMOA JOE. The Briscoes were pretty darn good and were well known on the east coast indy scene before ROH ever started, but everyone now associates them with ROH because of what Gabe did with them. Stuff like that. It's not about being the first guy to use someone on top. It's about your ability to take someone who the majority of the fanbase doesn't already view as a top guy and get them over.cero2k wrote:I'm not completely discrediting Gabe in his booking, he has made a lot of things worked, primarily as you mentioned, he keeps his booking in a way that 3/4 of the roster could main event a show and not feel out of place. But what i think is his best quality is his eye on talent (since his ROH days), he is like NXT to me, he knows who to bring in to maintain the quality of his shows, Gatekeepers, Williams, Gulak, now Cobb, etc. they're all working because they were already to the top guys in their first promotions, aside from Riddle (who is a natural) and Yehi (who i really don't know where he's been before, and I still don't see him as a top guy), I don't know many guys he has taken to the top from scratch (granted not many 'big' promotions are doing this now a days), once you have the talent, you just pay attention to your booking, your records and you're good to go, because that's his thing, he pays attention to wins and loses, but it's not like he is creating super intricate storylines or awesome gimmicks that everyone is talking about. Tracy Williams is awesome in EVOLVE, but if he shows up anywhere else, he's not that well known.
And with that definition, I think most of the Evolve roster qualifies (and if we're going back to ROH, I'd add in Aries, Shelley, Nigel, London, Roddy, Joe, Doug Williams, Jimmy Rave, Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black, plus Erick Stevens from Gabe's time booking FIP, and you could also make arguments for Dragon, Gibson, and Homicide based on how much you thought people really saw them as top guys as opposed to just good hands before ROH [remember that when Cide was on top in JAPW it was mostly a slice-and-dice promotion), plus Davey Richards, who Gabe had already pegged to take the belt from Tyler after Tyler was going to take it from Nigel at Final Battle 2008).
And booking is a lot more than wins and losses. Booking is finding the right way to get the specific talent over. A guy like Williams needed to be Gulak's second in command so that he could be made to feel like a main-event worthy in-ring talent while he improved his mic skills to the necessary point. If he tried to get Williams over as a loudmouth the way he did with Gargano it never would have worked, and if he tried to get Williams over the way he has with Darby Allin, it never would have worked, either.
If you can find it, listen the Jimmy Jacobs shoot on the ROH comp DVD. Jimmy Jacobs becoming a main event talent in ROH had nothing to do with Jimmy's in-ring abilities. In fact, Gabe was going to stop using Jimmy in late 2005 until Jimmy did Ballad of Lacey and they figured out that Jimmy (in his own words) wasn't the kind of guy like Dragon or Aries that wasn't going to have awesome, DVD-selling matches on every show, but rather he was a guy who, if you give him a good storyline (especially one that plays to his strengths on the mic and in terms of dramatic theater-craft), can provide you with a DVD-selling match two or three times a year that will be completely different from anything anyone else can provide you with. And I don't think that anyone, anywhere has done that as consistently in the "indy" era as Gabe has.
I didn't see the years when John Davis or the Bravados were top acts, so I can't comment on them, but as for the others:cero2k wrote: But some guys definitely didn't work out that much IMO, Rich Swann, Ciampa, Busick, Barreta, Trevor Lee, Dragon Azteca (they could still use him as Rey Horus), Tommy End (even as a champ), Scurll, ECIII, Zack Sabre still feels like a special attraction. Bravados and Dark City Fight Club only worked because there wasn't much competition those years. The Premier Athlete Brand felt big as a group, but I never saw Nese, TJP, or Konley as top guys by themselves. DUSTIN I actually give props to Gabe because, aside from the FIST years, he's the only one that has made Chucky T seem credible, even his current PWG streak feels like a fluke.
Biff and Swann definitely worked.
Lee... maybe not. I only saw the last two thirds or so of his run, but he never really stuck out to me as being that over.
Ciampa barely worked in Evolve (only four matches, and the first two were because WWE sent him over as a favor because it was Royal Rumble weekend in Orlando and Thatcher had to pull out for medical reasons). He never had the chance to do anything.
As an in-ring competitor TJP was (that win over Ricochet did that in almost one night), and Stokely brought him there on the mic (and Gabe was definitely the first person to give Stokely the chance to unleash his full potential on the mic).
End actually only worked seven shows for Evolve before WWE signed him and was never there two weekends in a row, but despite that the End/Hero team (which was more than half of his matches was definitely main event level over. If you really want to credit that to in-ring work alone you probably can, but at least credit Gabe for finding End the right tag partner.
Nese wasn't a main event level guy year (you can argue that he and Konley and Val were almost there as a unit) but then they had to be broken up because of Konley signing with TNA and Nese didn't get enough time to do anything as a babyface that wasn't related to the Drew vs. Evolve/WWE angle before WWE signed him.
Scurll was only around for six shows, and Gabe spent all of that time building him up for a title shot. The fans definitely accepted him as a main eventer, but I'll accept it if you say that that was more due to Marty's ability than anything Gabe did other than simply booking him strongly.
I also totally disagree about Sabre feeling like a special attraction. He's 100% part of the roster.
If you're putting Taya out there as a "star," I think that bar is a little low. LU is a bit of a different animal in some ways because they (like CHIKARA) basically have the ability to create a "star" out of guys who are already stars. Ricochet was seen as a main event level guy before LU, but I'd certainly give LU credit for making "Prince Puma" a star. And I'll agree that they have created a number of stars in the US (Puma, Fenix, Pentagon Jr. Mil Muertes, Drago, Sexy Star, and Matanza- I don't think it's fair to give anyone credit for Jeff Cobb separate from Matanza because people only discovered "Jeff Cobb" when it was leaked that he was Matanza), though in terms of places like PWG I'd argue that Cobb really isn't any kind of star himself so much as people just want to see Matazna and they know he's Matanza. The Matanza character on Lucha Underground is a star. Jeff Cobb anywhere else is not.cero2k wrote: I don't think it's fair to compare all promotions on how they have created stars, personally LU and PWG have created more stars in the US this year (and in Mexico actually), two years ago not many knew guys like Pentagon, Fenix, Mike Bailey, Taya, Trevor Lee, Scurll, Ospreay, Cobb, Dragon Azteca. LU revived the careers of Mundo or Vampiro for example. PWG made Candice and Joey worth booking. From scratch Dario Cueto is now one of the top gimmicks. if you ask me, PWG did more for O'Reilly and Cole than ROH did when they were barely becoming main eventers.
I honestly don't see Azteca as that much of a star. My interest in him is almost completely storyline-driven. Same with Cueto. Cueto's "ring work" is his acting that is definitely fantastic, but if it wasn't for the big mystical storyline stuff I wouldn't really be particularly excited to see him.
"Reviving your career" doesn't mean sh*t if you are someone the fans are predisposed to think of as a big deal already. Vamp was a main eventer in Mexico. If CM Punk went back to ROH, would they get credit for "reviving" his career? No.
Mundo is similar. If, after leaving WWE, Mundo had gone to TNA, or ROH, or Japan, or Mexico or DGUSA/Evolve, or whoever, he would have been treated as a main eventer from day one (exactly like what happened with Alberto in AAA and LU and ROH). The only reason that Mundo is seen is having his career "revived" by LU is because he spent the two years after he was released from WWE only working money mark promotions like FWE or NEW or Resistance. And in a way, LU is one, too. He did LU because of the ability to do acting and because they threw a lot of money at him. The reason he is seen as a main event guy isn't LU. It's WWE.
Giving PWG credit for Cole & Kyle is ridiculous. Not only was ROH CLEARLY lining both guys up as future main eventers, but they had both worked two only shows for PWG (which they were brought into as Future Shock) before ROH did the big main event that was the "Young Wolves Rising" part of ROH's 10th Anniversary Show: Young Wolves Rising, and not much more than than that (one more show for Cole, two for Kyle) before they had the TV Title match at BITW 2012 that made both guys... although even that is assuming that you don't think that the credit for making Cole should really go to CZW for his Jr. Heavyweight Title run. PWG was faster to put the belt on them, but that's because PWG has no vision and usually has no problem just throwing belts on people whenever and however they want. Was Cole's PWG Title reign a big deal and generally well-executed and important for Cole's career? Absolutely. But it didn't show us anything we didn't already know was there from what we had already seen in ROH and CZW.
CZW are also the ones who deserve credit for Bailey. They were booking him long before PWG was and were making a big deal out of him before PWG was (he won Best of the Best the week after he had his second PWG match).
I'll definitely give PWG credit for Trevor Lee. I'm sure he was already working on top in Carolina indies at the time but PWG got him attention because of how they used him, with the wins over guys like Steen. Same with Candice and Joey (and with Candice and Joey as unit).
As for Ospreay and Scurll, PWG definitely deserves credit for being the first ones to bring them to the US, but I will dispute that "PWG" did anything to make them stars so much as they got themselves over in the PWG ring. It's the same with Gabe and Tommy End. If you stick Ospreay and Scurll in a ring in any other indy in the country with the same exposure-level as PWG and they have the same level of in-ring performance, they would have become just as big as they did in PWG. There is nothing unique about PWG to that made Scurll and Ospreay stars.
If we're going to do that then do we give the APW guys credit for "discovering" half of the guys in the 2001 King of the Indies when all they did was bring them in for one weekend? They gave them the first place to showcase their talents, but how many of those guys ever make it anywhere if Gabe, Rob, and Doug aren't at the shows, or if no one from TNA checks out the tape? Most of those guys really became stars when a booker with vision gets their hands on them. Ki, Daniels, AJ, Dragon, and Spanky were known to WWE at the time as guys with lots of talent but if WWE wanted them they would have signed (or resigned) them (and I'm not really sure how well known Dragon and Spanky were outside of the people who saw MCW TV). Morgan and Modest both had a bit of buzz, and Scoot Andrews was definitely a well known in indy circles, too (and to a lesser extend Pearce and Super Dragon). But what happens to most of those guys if a booker with vision doesn't get their hands on them Without Gabe, Dragon, Spanky, Joe, and Doug Williams, would have become nothing more than the guys in that tournament who didn't go anywhere were. Guys who were top regional indy guys but no one would really pay to bring anywhere aside from maybe getting some Japan tours. I'll say the same about Kaz if TNA never starts using him. I think Super Dragon would have risen to the level that an AJ or Ki or Daniels was at the time, but that's it. The rest of those guys don't go anywhere other than maybe Danielson to Japan. Major props are definitely due to guys like Roland Alexander and Jim Kettner and Ian Rotten and the "modern" PWG crew and even Zandig for being willing to take chance on new talent the way they have been getting that talent major exposure (and Gabe definitely falls into this category at least for the TWA guys, and London in particular), but without a booker with a vision like Gabe Sapolsky or Dave Prazak or Quack, or whoever was running the show in TNA in 2002-2003, most of these guys wouldn't have become anything more than regional indy guys. What PWG did for them is just like what Zandig did when he let the Steen/Generico/SeXXXy Eddie/IWS crew come in to work a match for CZW. He just let them have a match and they had a match that was good enough that it made other people want to book them. It was the wrestlers that did everything there, with no help from the promotion other than giving them a platform on which they could be seen by others who then actually booked them to make them stars in the US.
I'm not disputing that ROH's Dojo sucks, but it's not the Dojo that is the issue. The only guy who has ever matteedr who came out of the ROH Dojo was Rhett, and he was only in the middle of his first angle when Gabe was fired. The Dojo has always failed to attract anyone who has felt like they could be a top guy (my theory on the reason for this is that ROH rarely gave their guys a platform to do anything but have five minute matches and get squashed, as opposed to CZW and especially CHIKARA who helped you get in the ring and get real experience in front of a crowd and work decently regularly and try different things). But the Dojo stunk all the way from the moment it opened until the 2014/2015 creative collapse, and ROH was always making new stars basically until that time, from Paul London to Michael Elgin. Since then they have made Moose (although he barely qualifies as a star, IMO). You can also give them some credit for making Bennett (if you want to say Moose is at "star" level then Bennett is, too, and same with Taven). They also definitely deserve credit for being the first ones to push Lethal to the heights he has been pushed to, and that definitely counts as post-2014 collapse. With Jay White it depends how everything plays out, but they seem intent on pushing him. As for Rush... ROH jumped on his bandwagon early and did give him a big accolade, so I think the real determining factor will be how his tenure plays out. If they do wind up making something of him then they definitely will deserve credit for catching him early.cero2k wrote: ROH, we've talked many times about this, their Dojo sucks at creating stars, and the other part of the roster is full of older guys now that are super talented, but there is no space to create new ones, Dalton Castle is not a ROH gimmick, he was doing that in Pittsburgh before he came to ROH. Same with Rush or Gresham. Moose I'd say is the only star that ROH has created in the last 2-3 yrs by themselves
I will absolutely never understand why people thought Bully Ray was so great. He was Bubba Ray Dudley with an annoying catchphrase and having sh*tty matches except when someone like AJ was able to carry him.cero2k wrote: TNA is weird in this sense, their booking sucks, yet they HAVE created some stars IMO. Somehow Lashley, ECIII, Matt Hardy, Bully Ray, Taryn Terrell, even Crazzy Steve and Decay, they all somehow managed to grow a lot in the wasteland that is TNA. Today if any of those suddenly appeared at ROH or WWE, it would feel like a big thing.
I'll give them credit for Taryn and Lashley and Ethan. Matt Hardy is definitely booking his own stuff and doing all of his own creative. Broken Matt Hardy is a star. "Big Money Matt" was not. Decay are definitely not stars. Not even close. They're f*cking terrible. They're basically the Bray Wyatt of TNA. If it wasn't for Matt Hardy briefly pulling them out of the creative gutter no one would have ever cared about them.