In April 2014, Jeff Jarrett announced that he was founding Global Force Wrestling. International partnerships, a roster reveal and TV tapings followed soon after and GFW champions were crowned. As part of its global expansion, GFW came to the UK for two shows in Northern England's Grimsby and Kings Lynn. The Royal Ramblings team, as guests of GFW's first ever World Champion Magnus, were on hand to watch the spectacle.
The show itself was not the beginning of proceedings in Grimsby. Meet and Greets allowed fans to shake hands with the top stars. This worked well with fans afforded quality time with the stars.
Above: RR's Robert with GFW fans
Below: RR's Danny with GFW founder Jeff Jarrett
One of the most popular stars was the warm and friendly SoCal Val, who drew a great reaction when kicking off the show proper. Following a short Karen Jarrett promo, it was straight into action with Noam Dar taking on local boy Chris Ridgeway. Dar was an instant favourite with the crowd, endearing himself to the fans with eaae. The match combined great technical wrestling with lovely comedy spots. Dar's Borat-esque call for a "high five", for example, tricking Ridgeway into exposing his mid-section which was greeted with a stiff kick. Ridgeway meanwhile was the perfect antithesis to Dar. Following some crowd interaction (Dar had a fan quite literally pull Ridgeway's leg), the match sped up with submission and pin attempts. Dar applied his 'Champagne Super Knee-Bar' finisher for the win. It was a very strong start and as Val put it, "to No-am is to love him".
Next out was the hugely talented Big Damo. He drew good heat with his heel promo, labelling Bram "an English disappointment". Far from disappointing, Bram's response - to demand a falls count anywhere match - delighted the crowd. This was a barnstormer of a match. Following tests of strength, the action spilled out to the arena floor and into the crowd. This match, a complete step change to the former, was a display of power and aggression. Both men were thrown variously into ring posts and gates and Damo even stood atop Bram's chest. There was agility and skill in abundance too, with powerslams, suplexes, spinning heel kicks and more. Bram ultimately finished Damo with his lifting DDT, a great end to a great match.
Last before the interval was Nikki Storm against Mickie James. Nikki, garnering a fine reputation worldwide, worked hard for her heat which she finally earned with her "best in the Galaxy" claims. The veteran James, was on fine form cartwheeling out of a wristlock and showing real flair. The quick succession of grappling holds that followed were impressive too and there was a lovely moment when Micky dived under the ring (cue "where is Micky" chants) only to dropkick an unsuspecting Storm from behind. The match went a little long but the speedy last section impressed. There was a hurricanrana, flip-up and springboard leaps from Mickie, a modified neckbreaker from Nikki and a wonderful Mick-D-T finisher to give James the win.
The post-interval bout pitted force against flight AS Robbie X faced Jason Prime. X did well, showing a somewhat unfamiliar ferocious side. Following a short visit to Suplex city, he took the win with the assistance of the ropes. A perfect heel victory.
The crowd was hottest for Jeff Jarrett's bout against home favourite, Nathan Cruz. Jarrett's cocky heel display, schooling his opponent, was good fun to watch and the inevitable reversal of fortunes delivered a great pop. Double J offered heel tactics aplenty as he teased a walkout and used Karen as a shield. She would eventually pull the ref from the ring and distract Cruz, allowing for a JJ low-blow and roll-up. A very enjoyable showcase.
It is remarkable that GFW ended their inaugural show with an all British line-up. UK stars Rampage Brown and Marty Scurll faced Doug Williams and Nick 'Magnus' Aldis aka The British Invasion. Scurll is pure class, perfectly matching humour and skill. Aldis remains impressive and his lifting a prone Scurll into a vertical suplex was a sight to behold. The four men told a great, fast-paced story with some great spots, near falls and saves. Aldis was a big ball of energy whilst indefatigable Williams survived a belt to the face and more. The end came with Williams flipping Brown (nearly across the room), slamming Marty and setting up the Aldis elbow.
GFW delivered a strong card and great entertainment. In mixing the intimacy and excitement of an indie show with the star power of the big leagues, GFW may be on to something. Working to engage local talent is good for UK wrestling and shows a healthy respect for the guys working to make it in the UK. GFW is likely to be back and you won't want to miss it.