Philly.com, along with several other outlets, is reporting that Extreme Rising has canceled all of its upcoming events. There were a series of three shows scheduled: April 25 and April 26 in Philadelphia, PA and May 3 in Pittsburgh, PA. Not only are the events canceled, but all of the promotion's social media accounts have been deleted. This includes the personal Facebook account of promoter Steve O'Neil.
O'Neil released a statement to PWInsider.com that read as follows:
ALL EXTREME RISING LIVE EVENTS FOR PHILADELPHIA AND PITTSBURGH -FRIDAY, APRIL 25TH, -SATURDAY, APRIL 26TH, -SATURDAY, MAY 3RD ARE ALL CANCELLED.
FOR FULL REFUNDS PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY OR BANK DIRECTLY, OR STORE PURCHASED AT.
PWInsider noted that they were scheduled to do an interview with O'Neil, but he has now backed out of it. Philly.com had also made attempts to find out more information, but has not made contact with O'Neil either. The future of the promotion, officially, is up in the air but to come back from something like this will be very difficult.
This is a promotion that has been struggling since its inception. Shane Douglas joined forces with O'Neil and his brother Mike, along with Kevin Kleinrock and Cody Michael to try and build a promotion that would fill the void left by the now defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). They built a roster of ECW originals for an Extreme Reunion show that fell flat on its face in 2012. To Shane Douglas' credit, he made right on a number of changes and the promotion moved forward but it was never without issues.
O'Neil took charge, and they had a big show in December of 2013 at the former ECW Arena. Things started to look good, but O'Neil's planned local television show never came to pass, and a Pittsburgh show on Februrary 8 was postponed to May 3 due to weather concerns. A March 1 show in Philadelphia was pushed back to April 25 due to issues with city building inspections at 2300 Arena (the former ECW Arena).
Talent aren't happy, and they shouldn't be. Axel Rotten tweeted that "Extreme Rising has advertised all of us for months & cost me & all others $! Canceled via text! Unprofessional!" Justin LaBar, who writes on Bleacher Report and for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, tweeted that the promotion is done, and "Lots of good people screwed there but one." Blue Meanie took to his Facebook page to note that while he never had issues with pay, the fans and talent deserve answers as to what is going on with the promotion and hoped those answers would come soon.
Extreme Rising was never going to be a more than a blip on the radar in the national wrestling scene, being truthful. But one of the things that ER did provide is another place for wrestlers to work and hone their craft. Some of the bigger names in WWE today were noticed on the independent scene - guys like Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins to name a few. So promotions like Extreme Rising have their place in pro wrestling's landscape and it's always a shame to see one fold.
One good piece of news is that three other promotions have stepped up to offer discounted or free admission to their shows to Extreme Rising fans who wish to redeem their tickets that way. Big Time Wrestling is running two shows, one in Ford City, PA on April 25 and one in Altoona, PA on April 26 where Extreme Rising ticket holders can get admission for $10 when showing their ER ticket. Maryland Championship Wrestling is offering free admission to Extreme Rising ticket holders to their show in Dundalk, MD on April 25. And OMEGA is offering Extreme Rising ticket holders $5 admission for their April 26 show in Cameron, NC when they present their ER ticket.
Certainly there will be more to come on this story as the days and weeks progress. As of right now, it appears that Extreme Rising is falling, and once more information is available we'll know just how far that fall is.