DAVE Under Siege
Daryl Daman, WrestlingCircle.com

Are DAVE On A Downward Spiral?

Sam Strong's takeover of United States Pro Wrestling in August 2006 sent shockwaves throughout wrestling, but may have been most keenly felt in the Tri State area, home of Danger And Violence Extreme. Phil Vibert's promotion was once the talk of the industry, a fast-rising rebel company that was taking on both SWF and TCW despite having a fraction of the resources. The undisputed number three promotion in America, it seemed that little could stop them. However, the newly energised USPW seems to have now taken the number three spot away from them, with ease, and has highlighted the fact that DAVE have been in a serious tailspin for the last two years. What went wrong, and can DAVE recover to reclaim the position of the true alternative to the Big Two?

The Departed

When one looks at the list of major wrestlers who have left the promotion since DAVE's peak in 2003, it is clear to see why the company has begun to struggle.

Of course, it should be noted that there was one other major loss during this period, although it didn't involve a specific person. In 2006, DAVE lost their pay-per-view deal, thanks to a slump in ratings. While the financial loss will be keenly felt, it was the prestige value of being on PPV that truly made DAVE the number three promotion in America, and losing that deal has been a really bitter pill to swallow.

The Soon-To-Be-Departed

The high-impact, physically demanding style that DAVE uses is notorious for shortening careers, especially those of workers who are coming to the end of their careers anyway, as Nemesis and The Wolverine will both testify. What may be most worrying to the company is the list of ageing workers on their roster who are already showing the signs of failing physical health. Even the most optimistic fan will not be expecting company figurehead Eric Tyler (46 years old) to be wrestling for much longer, and that will leave an enormous gap in the main event scene. On top of that, Alex Braun, one of the most consistent and reliable wrestlers the company has ever had, is 45 years old and has had more surgeries on his knees than he can count. Surely he will not still be carrying Tank Bradley to tag team success in 2008? Two of DAVE's most loyal soldiers, Johnny Martin (former two time Unified champion) and JD Morgan (former three time Extreme champion), are both clearly suffering from nagging injuries. Both are the wrong side of 35, and must be looking at retirement sooner rather than later. Their departures would rob the midcard of two of its best. Finally, Chris Caulfield is only 32, but his willingness to take crazy bumps must be taking its toll on his body. He has already missed several shows in 2006 due to injury, and the frequency of that is only likely to increase, removing yet another main event star from the scene.

The Future

With DAVE not having the financial power to go out and bring in much new talent, their future will depend a lot on the youngsters who they currently have on the roster. Fortunately they have eight wrestlers in particular, all thirty years of age or younger, who could help turn the company around.

What's Next?

DAVE are clearly a promotion in transition. Normally the process of one generation of stars handing over to the next is a slow process, taking years. Perhaps the reason DAVE have struggled recently is that the process seems accelerated in their case; in a very short period of time they have either lost, or are about to lose, the vast majority of the main event scene that have carried the company for so long (Nemesis, Tyler, Lee, Caulfield, Holmes, Martin, etc). Establishing a new set of main eventers is clearly taking time; not because they don't have the talent available to them, but because the fans have not yet accepted the passing of the torch from the old to the new. If Vibert and Nemesis can successfully create a new set of vibrant headliners, centering around men like Peak and Brandon, DAVE should have no trouble at all in mounting a challenge to USPW for the right to be called the number three promotion in America.