Global Force Wrestling is not just set to take the world by storm, it is already doing so. Fundamentally changing the approach to how wrestling works, this inspiring new brand is the brainchild of wrestling hero Jeff Jarrett who talked us through their plans. For fans that want to see GFW's debut outing, it will a joint Pay-Per-View venture with New Japan Pro Wrestling and is to be called by the legendary announcer Jim Ross. UK Fans will be able to see the show on 4 January 2015 through the FLIPPS app, so download it now to your smart phones and TVs and get this on your Christmas list to ensure you are a part of the action and see what is likely to be the most widely distributed PPV in history!
How did GFW come about and what the timeline is for rolling it out? You seem to be taking it slowly and cautiously.
Well, the wrestling business is in my blood. My family has been in the business since the 1940s. My Grandmother did everything but wrestle, she promoted the business and then my dad - he promoted as well as wrestled - so it's in my blood. In June 2002 I launched TNA wrestling and then last December it was time for me to try something new and we parted ways. So I took a couple of months and I had different ideas and different concepts and I started to piece them together and then April 7 2014 is when I officially launched the brand. Patience is not in my DNA! But I'm piecing things together and 2015 is when the rollout will really start to take shape. Obviously we've partnered with New Japan Pro Wrestling and we're executive producing the Pay-Per-View that's going to be seen on a global basis via the Flipps app and through all the traditional Pay-Per-View carriers in North America. That's the short answer of how Global Force Wrestling came about.
So as you mention, you're partnering with New Japan Pro Wrestling for "Wrestle Kingdom 9" on 4 January for GFW's first presentation. Is it a sign of how you're going to do business, working as an umbrella group for others?
The answer is we'll do both things. We'll also be a fully functioning promotion with rosters and distribution and sponsorships and international deals but like I said, I've seen others and been a part of things. If you rush a product to market when it's not ready, I'm a big believer in the first impression being a lasting impression so New Japan is the first presentation but it's the first of many to come. We're going to be making an announcement with a South African promotion very soon but we're taking our time, doing it step by step, getting the brand awareness in place. That's the big thing, when we finally step on the main stage, I want to make sure that the brand is widely exposed and it's clearly defined what we're about. These are the steps that we're taking right now.
On that point, it seems that social media is key to you. GFW has had some 4 million impressions on social media in 30 days. How is that working and have the other companies missed a trick in having fans do their marketing for them?
All of entertainment - not just professional wrestling - is going online and we live in a magnificent world where the speed of technology is instantaneous. So when we partnered with New Japan, sat down and discussed our marketing and how we were going to expose NJPW not just to North America but throughout the globe, we knew that the digital age was exactly our target market for professional wrestling fans. We're very happy with the rollout and promotion thus far and we're really looking forward to the next 2-3 weeks to bring the marketing campaign home for the January 4 show.
We're definitely open to working with other promotions and it's going to be a talent exchange. Doug is very instrumental - I've got a lot of respect for him and obviously I'm not the only one. He has an immense amount of talent himself but he can also spot talent. He is a guy that's very trustworthy and that's first and foremost and so Doug highlighted the promotions and the stars of tomorrow are in these independent promotions around the globe. We've partnered with several in Australia, one in Germany and we're going to continue to roll it out. As I said, South Africa is going to be a hotbed of wrestling, there's a lot of independent talent down there as well. So I'm looking forward to 2015, to bringing the indepdent stars and I call it the free agent market to the stage.
Buff Bagwell told us he'd be open to working for GFW, will we see more established talent on your roster?
A good roster always has a mix but I'm looking for the stars of tomorrow - the undiscovered talent - and there is a lot of it out there. When I say undiscovered talent, it's talent that has not been on a national or international basis although that free agent market is very, very healthy as you can see in New Japan and in AAA in Mexico and in other independent promotions around the world.
We read that you remain a shareholder in TNA. As conspiracy theorists, we wondered if you weren't just engineering a storyline whereby the newly established GFW takes on TNA to re-establish a Monday Night Wars (WWE vs WCW) scenario and to get people watching both products. Can you reassure us?
Well, you've got to love the wrestling business because stories can just evolve and that's one of the great parts of it. I can confirm the fact that I'm still a shareholder but completely deny the fact that what you suggest will happen! I'm very happy for TNA, they've got their new US distribution deal. It's good for the business that all promotions are healthy but GFW and TNA are not working together!
What's the best rib [practical joke] ever played on you?
Oh Gosh! I can assure you this. If Owen Hart wasn't instrumental in it, he was definitely around it. There were just so many - Owen would play ribs on a daily if not hourly basis. So it's hard for me to say but I can sure you Owen Hart would have been a part of it.
We have some prompts for you - please give us your thoughts on the following:
Sting going to WWE:
Finally! Very happy for him. Couldn't be a better guy. He's a good friend and I couldn't be happier for him.
CM Punk to UFC:
Win, Win, Win! Win for Dana White at UFC, a win for CM Punk fans and whether CM Punk wins or loses in that octagon it's a win for him because I've got a lot of respect for a guy that follows his heart and follows his passion.
The Undertaker's Streak ending:
Shocked. I don't think I can elaborate on that. It was a shock and only time will tell if it was the right decision.
TNA moving to Destination America:
Congrats to all of them.
Brilliant. It's where the stars of tomorrow obviously are and I can assure you that the guys on the main roster up there in WWE are feeling the pressure daily from the young hungry lions that are in NXT.
You can watch the promo video for Wrestle Kingdon 9 below. The show will air on 4 January 2015 live at 7am in the UK and British fans can watch via FLIPPS.