Global Force Wrestling is the new kid on the block in a wrestling world that’s becoming more and more crowded by the second.
Global Force Wrestling is the new kid on the block in a wrestling world that’s becoming more and more crowded by the second. While it might make it a lot harder for promotions like Global Force, it’s clearly making 2015 an absolutely amazing time to be a wrestling fan no matter what your preference is.
It’s all about the choices right now for wrestling fans. In an average week, you could watch up to eleven ridiculous hours of wrestling from seven first-run shows from five wildly different promotions. If that’s not enough, you have even more options on the WWE Network, or YouTube if you just want to browse random promotions from any time in history. Now, even the most hardcore fan may go insane trying to do all this in an average week, but it’s the sheer volume of choices the fans have today that make it such a great time to be a fan. Global Force is just looking to make this time even better.
Working with promotions from Japan to England and boasting one of the most diverse rosters in wrestling today, Global Force made a concrete name for themselves as a valid choice for fans even before running their first show this past year. You may see familiar faces in Global Force, but it’s not going to be the same WWE/WCW copycat experiment that have plagued plenty of other promotions over the past ten years, even if some of them are surprisingly still kicking around. With a clear-cut product identity (that is almost brilliant in its simplicity), Global Force Wrestling has a real shot of making themselves a real contender in the world of professional wrestling. With shows booked and episodes in the can, all they need now is that elusive television presence to really kickstart their arduous journey.
We got to chat with Global Force’s creator, owner, and promoter Jeff Jarrett before their Richmond debut this coming Saturday at The Diamond. Jarrett was the consummwwate businessman in explaining brand awareness and praising his competition at every step, but we also held Jarrett’s feet to the fire and asked him many of the questions people have been dying to know since GFW was first announced back in early 2014. Jarrett himself doesn’t have all the answers, but it’s clear that he’s working harder than anyone to find them and find them quick.
You’ve done two sets of tapings for a show that still hasn’t announced where it will air. Are you close to locking a deal, either domestically or even internationally?
We are making moves. It’s been a real challenge for us to line up a domestic situation as well as international deals. I’m heading over to London in a couple of weeks to further those moves. The first set of tapings were great. We got plenty of one hour episodes and we’ve got the crowning of the champions in October. With that and the Grand Slam tour as well, it’s been no rest for the weary, but it’s exciting time in the still the very early days of Global Force Wrestling.
Which market have you had more success in lining up so far: domestic or international?
It’s hard to compare one country versus a hundred, but obviously we’re making progress with both. You have to give the nod to international just because of the sheer amount of potential deals. We’re dealing with people literally all over the world. Australia, India, Middle East, South Africa, all through Europe. It’s exciting just because the name of our company is Global Force Wrestling and our roster is very diverse with luchadores, Japanese wrestlers, and even South Africans with PJ [Black]. It’s very cool to hear the interesting feedback the broadcasters give when they see the materials that we sent them. They instantly comments on just how diverse the roster really is.
For domestically and semi-internationally as well, have you explored the options of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime?
All of the above and I don’t want to specifically say Netflix or Hulu. The world of 2015 is so interesting. You wouldn’t be asking that question even, what would you say, two or three years ago?
Not at all.
It’s interesting just how everyone consumes their information. Not just wrestling or television. Your phone is a source of news, entertainment, games, apps. It’s just a different world. I’ve said it for a year now: my goal is if you’re a GFW fan, you’ll have access to watch it all across the globe. There’s a huge component to that. I won’t call it streaming, but there’s a big component in the online world for Global Force.
Realistically, do you think there is a place for Global Force now with WWE, TNA, Ring Of Honor, and Lucha Underground? Even WWE’s developmental is seeing big success the past year.
People say to me, “Jeff, you came out just with the name of the company and then went step by step” and it’s because I realized back then that creating brand awareness is always at the top of priorities. WWE is north of 90% in the marketplace. Put NXT under that umbrella and they’re by far the leader for wrestling. Then you got Ring Of Honor, TNA, Lucha Underground. You’ve got several alternatives and Global Force is taken the necessary steps to get there. Patience has never been in my DNA, but you got to take it one step at a time to create that. We’re looking to break in and have a very diverse style of wrestling and style of wrestlers.
Was that brand awareness the motivation behind working with TNA recently?
It goes with what I’m saying of course. They wanted me to come back and do a match and I wasn’t that interested. As the discussions continued though, I saw it as an enormous opportunity for Global Force Wrestling – to create that brand awareness. With TNA’s international footprint as well as Destination American, the Global Force brand is being seen by millions across the world so we’re very excited about that.
Were you hesitant at all to work with TNA knowing how it ended last time and how they’ve “treated” you since?
You know, it’s a business. My family’s been in this business for over 70 years so I’ve seen a lot of situations where you’d say those folks would never work together again and they did. Business is business and when it’s a win-win-win–a win for our promotion, a win for their promotion, and more importantly, a win for the wrestling fans–it’s really hard not to do a deal. So we put a lot of things in the past and in our rear view mirrors on both sides and moved forward. It’s a pretty exciting time. All the positive momentum that’s coming from the working relationship between TNA and GFW is just a great thing.
Speaking of mending fences, I heard you recently reconciled with your father. Will he be involved in GFW in any way like he was with TNA at the beginning?
No, no, no. Thankfully, we have a father-son relationship. This business is tough and it’s tough on relationships. We did reconcile and I’m very happy about that, but no, he’s not involved in Global Force Wrestling.
What type of hesitation or anxiety comes up with filming a pilot and all these episodes when you don’t have any physical deals in place to air them or see a return on them?
Like I said, we’ve got a plan in place so if you’ve followed Global Force along over the last year, I think you’re well aware that we release information as strategically as we can. I think we’ve had a lot of success not rushing everything to market, not letting out all of the details all at once, just with a step by step basis. So there could already be a deal in place and we’re just not ready to tell you. We’ve shot the first five episodes that we’re calling Season One from New Orleans. It’s a real methodical roll-out if that makes sense.
What is your specific mindset when it comes to the GFW product and how are you working to ensure it’s a unique voice in comparison with your competition?
Like I said, the world has changed drastically as it pertains to technology. The typical wrestling fan is a lot more dialed in on a daily basis. We have a saying in our studio production that we don’t want to write stories, we want to document stories. Every GFW athlete truly has a story behind them. For me, I was a wrestler before I was a promoter and I was a fan before I was a wrestler. So we’re looking at the real story of why these athletes got into the business, why do they want to become a champion, why do they want to be on the GFW roster, what do they think it takes to be a successful professional wrestler. There’s a story behind all of us and we’re documenting that and letting that translate to where the wrestling fan is not viewing it as a once a week thing where you sit behind a TV every Monday or Thursday night. You are engaged and you can see it in the other forms of sports and entertainment. As I kid growing up, I certainly wanted to know everything and the fans do. They want to know everything they can about the guys they like and maybe even the guys they don’t like. It’s all about that engagement so that’s at the tip top of our priorities. As you can see on our YouTube page and all of our social media platforms, it’s how we’re documenting it and how the style and feel of our promotion is.
There’s a lot of guys on the roster who are getting much deserved first chances as well as second chances. Who on the roster are you really excited to be able to give a platform to?
You can just look. I don’t play favorites. I let the fans play favorites and I, as a promoter, will go off of that. Just look at the diversity of it. From the Bullet Club to Killer Elite Squad to Seiya Sanada to PJ Black–I could go on and on and on all the way down to Bobby Roode, Eric Young, and Nick Aldis [formerly known as Magnus]. We got, in my opinion, a heck of a group of athletes that know what they’re doing bell-to-bell. At the Amped tapings in Las Vegas, you could tell by the crowd response of just how engaged they were. Even the freshness of a tag team called the Reno Scum. Those guys – all they needed was this break and they took the ball and ran with it. I can’t brag enough about the roster.
You mentioned The Bullet Club and Killer Elite Squad. Would you say your relationship with New Japan is stronger than ever?
Definitely. Those guys are great. Obviously, we had a very rewarding and great experience with Wrestle Kingdom 9. It was a great way to really kick off that relationship. New Japan came out a couple of weeks ago and sort of released their new – well not new, but they broadcasted that they’re working with us and Ring Of Honor and independent promotions in the UK. I think that’s very, very healthy. That’s certainly what I set out to do from day one. Have handshake agreements, working relations, working agreements – at GFW, we want to bring so many different styles under one umbrella and connect the fan bases so it’s a win for the wrestling fan for sure.
Is that kind of a more modern version of the NWA model?
It definitely much more modern just because back in the day, and I hate to be so repetitive, but technology has changed the world. Back in the old days, you had the tape traders with VHS and that’s how you stayed current on everything if you wanted. It wasn’t easy, but now with the click of YouTube, you can sit down and watch hours upon hours of different styles of wrestling and then throw on the WWE Network. The NWA was very territorial and everyone had their area, but this is a lot more forward thinking in that there’s a lot of talent exchange and who knows just where it goes. The TNA-GFW relationship – we could take that to another level. I’m definitely open to working with all promotions because I do think it helps brand awareness because like I said, WWE is above 90% market share so to really cut through and make something different, the other promotions can have a lot of benefit from working with each other.
So was that mutual benefit the main force behind your ballpark series of shows this past summer?
It’s not a revolutionary concept by any means. There have been wrestling shows attached to ball games or after ball games forever. But what I wanted to do, again going back to brand awareness, is think how I could help further that. We’ve gone in and literally partnered with each of these ball clubs since they have their existing media relationship whether it’s cable, television, the digital space, print. They have all of these existing media relationships, they have a season ticket fanbase, and they have all the infrastructure of marketing and digital and production. Sure, in Richmond you can go to the Coliseum and rent the Coliseum, but then you still have to have multiple different departments. With these ball parks, we’ve gone and really dialed into their DNA and it’s been a phenomenal opportunity just to come out of the gate, to put on high quality shows with the ring set up on home plate so we can exposed each product to the market.
Before we let you go, I just wanted to ask about a comment you made right after the announcement of the WWE Network last year. You said that wrestling was on the cusp of another boom period, but in the year and a half that’s followed that statement, the WWE Network has consistently underperformed expectations, ratings are down, and the buzz seems to only come around once or twice a year. Do you still think we’re on the cusp of a boom period?
In my opinion, without question. When you have the amount of hours that the WWE Network has, I’ll let Wall Street argue over the worth. In my opinion, it’s a massive success because you have to have a starting place at some point and go up from there. Nothing happens over night by any stretch of imagination in any form of business, but I believe Vince has set himself up for an incredible success story with the WWE Network. On top of that, you have Ring Of Honor growing, New Japan on AXS just got renewed, Lucha Underground, AAA just did their PPV in the states, their biggest event of the year, we kicked off 2015 with New Japan’s big show. I think boom can be defined and taken multiple ways. There’s an argument that people can look at one indicator, and maybe that’s a RAW or SmackDown rating, and ask where the boom period is. But to me, when you take the sum total of everything that is pro wrestling and I’m talking collectively as a business like all the promotions worldwide in South Africa, all throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Japan. I do believe that the business is getting healthier and is in a much healthier place than it was five or seven years ago.
Global Force Wrestling debuts in Richmond this Saturday, August 29th at The Diamond with a packed card starting at 7:30 PM. The card is as follows:
Special Appearance By Kevin Nash
The Bullet Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows) Vs. Seiya Sanada & Ali Akbar
Sonjay Dutt Vs. BLK Jeez
Brian Myers (formerly Curt Hawkins) Vs. Chris Mordetzky (formerly Chris Masters)
Kimber Lee Vs. Cherry Bomb
Pepper Parks Vs. Kevin Matthes
Dirty Money Vs. Pat Buck
Card Subject To Change
For more information on the show and where to buy tickets, click here.