Gabe Sapolsky finds out that Sinclair Broadcasting's legal team is not to be messed with. Photo via images.wikia.com.
No-one likes a former employee badmouthing their company in public, especially when they now run a business in competition with them for the same customers and also have a powerful point that will sway those clients away. The answer usually is to send them a cease and desist letter to force them to shut up. Which, according to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, is the case with the bad blood between ROH and their ex booker Gabe Sapolsky, the promoter of Dragon Gate USA and Evolve, which reared its ugly head again in the aftermath to ROH's Border Wars iPPV debacle where most fans couldn't watch the show due to an overloaded website server.
As we reported a few days ago, Sapolsky on his facebook page told ROH to fuck off for being cheapskates and trying to wing things in a manner that made such a fiasco a distinct possibility:
When the ownership and management of a company doesn't care or have enough respect for its employees and more importantly paying customers to spend enough money to have adequate equipment they can fuck off. When a company decides to go on the cheap and take a risk that something like a website will work instead of doing everything in their power to guarantee it will work they can fuck off. If the ownership and management doesn't care or respect its fans enough to do this they don't deserve your support.
It only took a day for Sapolsky to receive a nasty legal letter from ROH in response. Sapolsky probably should have expected it, because when he was fired from ROH by owner Cary Silkin in October 2008 he signed a legally binding agreement to not speak ill of the promotion in such a public setting. There's some uncertainty at whether this non-disclosure contract would still stand, because since it was signed Silkin sold ROH to Sinclair Broadcasting Group who reorganised the company as a LLC, but obviously Sapolsky won't want to push the issue further and end up in an expensive and pointless court battle. Though ROH had a legal footing to send the letter it just makes them look like hypocritical bullies when Jim Cornette got sent a similar letter from TNA for sending a private email to Terry Taylor where he professed his hatred for Vince Russo and how he wanted him to die.
In a conference call responding to their iPPV disaster, ROH's COO Joe Koff refuted Sapolsky's allegations:
I will tell you that this company is well financed and work with people we rely on for their expertise....and I think this was something that was unanticipated from our own analytics and our own analysis of what it was. The load was tested. We thought that we should be fine with what the normal number of buys are and how they come in through course of a day. And Mike, we were fooled, and I'm going to say that positively, even though it ended up negatively, at the positive response to this product and we did not anticipate that. And shame on us for not anticipating that. It's not a money issue at all. It really isn't a money issue. It just happened to be an unfortunate call on our part thinking [the server was] strong enough to carry the show. That's the way it happened.
However, it's hard to believe Koff when the server went down before the show even began and you should always have at least some spare capacity to meet unprecedented demand. After streaming problems with their previous two iPPVs, to mess up in a more spectacular fashion proved that ROH was being penny wise and pound foolish with regards their budget for their website server.
After the jump, you can read how Sapolsky responded on facebook to ROH's legal letter which will probably be his last word on the matter.
You stop yourself from saying something 1000 times, but the one time you take 30 seconds and write something out of anger it blows up beyond your imagination. If you are reading this the bottom line is all you really care about is great wrestling, good storylines and something compelling. We had two awesome EVOLVE shows last weekend. Jon Davis stepped up and put in the best weekend of his career. AR Fox showed why we called him the "#1 draft pick" last year with three very different, amazing matches. Low Ki proved why he is now an esteemed veteran. El Generico made his case for being among the elite in the world. Sami Callihan and Ricochet both proved why they are at the top of the list of today's new stars. Johnny Gargano was a Champion in every sense of the word, including giving a 5th grader and her family a memory they will always cherish. The list goes on and on with Samuray Del Sol, Jigsaw, Chuck Taylor, Silas Young all delivering and everyone on the undercard doing their part. Our staff of Ivan, Bryan, Sean and Brandon among others, led by Sal, worked tirelessly to put on those two memorable events and great iPPV streams. I took the attention away from all that by losing my cool for a moment and lashing out with profanity. I can't make any promises in the future, but I'll remember this lesson. I ended up doing the last thing I wanted to do - take the attention off the wrestling that we all care about.