Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded but flourished. Others were DOA from the get-go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative but for various reasons, faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’. This latest piece focuses in on the rise, the fall and then the rise and yet another fall for Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling (GFW).
Now I know that some reading this will be scratching their heads wondering what the deal is. While Global Force Wrestling isn’t dead officially yet, the prospects of it returning to television and to house shows near you looks extremely grim. So much so, it was time to write this piece of what exactly went wrong with it. This all stems from the news that Anthem Sports, the owners of Impact wrestling aka TNA, have decided to drop the GFW from their brand.
The idea of Global Force Wrestling came about after Jeff Jarrett was bought out of his stake in TNA Wrestling by Dixie Carter. The new promotion was formed in April of 2014 by the husband and wife team of Jeff and Karen Jarrett. The premise seemed ingenious, but extremely risky. They would exchange talent with other wrestling promotions around the world.
Ideas like the GFW’s have been attempted before by various promotions and usually end very bitterly. Whether it be from the promoters or the wrestlers themselves egos would usually come into play and ruin a potentially good thing. The Jarretts began a well-publicized tour that year, going to various independent shows scouting talent. Shortly thereafter, various partnerships with other began getting announced.
The first partnership Jarrett secured was an agreement with Mexico’s Lucha Libre promotion AAA. Soon, other working agreements came into play from promotions in countries such as Ireland, South Africa, Australia, England and Germany. Their biggest partnership, however, came when they agreed to work with New Japan Pro Wrestling. In accordance with their deal with New Japan, GFW would present that promotion’s biggest annual show ‘Wrestle Kingdom 9,’ on pay per view for North American fans. It would be GFW’s first big exposure to wrestling fans in several key markets.
After the success of the Wrestle Kingdom event, Jarrett began booking house shows at minor league ballparks to start and get the word out about their upcoming product. The attendance for these shows was sparse at best but the feeling was that GFW would eventually emerge as something. The announcement was made that the first ever GFW TV taping would take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 24th, 2015. The title of the upcoming television project was called ‘Amped.’
Amped would feature tournaments to crown the inaugural tag team, Next Gen, Women’s and Global champions. The shows lasted one hour and Jarrett had filmed over 16 shows. The first ever champions crowned in GFW was nothing short of a global affair. The GFW tag team champions were the Bollywood Boyz from India, the Next Gen champion was PJ Black from South Africa, the Women’s champ was Christina Von Eerie from the United States and the first ever Global Force Global champion was Magnus from the United Kingdom.
It was indeed an exciting time for wrestling fans to get another product different from that of the WWE. Jeff Jarrett was promising news of television deals to follow. but weeks and then months went by…with no announcements made. Things did look bleak, but the unthinkable happened when Jeff Jarrett returned to TNA wrestling. A deal was struck between him and Dixie Carter to promote his GFW product. What ensued was a brief invasion angle with Jarrett’s group playing the heels.
The invasion angle was simply an appetizer to get fans excited or “amped” for a Global Force Wrestling TV show but still, nothing. As more day, weeks and months went by rumors began to circulate that the whole premise of Global Force Wrestling was nothing more than an elaborate scheme by the Jarretts to line their own pockets. Some were even going as far as to call GFW Global Farce Wrestling. Their established champions began leaving GFW including PJ Black who left to join Lucha Underground and the Bollywood Boyz leaving to join the WWE.
Things indeed looked very grim for this once promising promotion but things would seemingly get better. In early 2017, it was announced that the Canadian based Anthem Sports were purchasing TNA wrestling and with that came an announcement later on that Jeff Jarrett was being brought on as chief creative officer. In April of 2017, Karen Jarrett announced that GFW and TNA were merging and adopting the name Global Force Wrestling.
Finally after three arduous years to get GFW off the ground there was a real plan. A real television deal with an actual cemented roster and a platform to present GFW to a new fan base. Old working agreements merged with new ones and seemingly all was right with Jarrett’s new baby. That is until September of 2017 when Anthem Sports announced that Jeff was taking a “leave of absence” to deal with some personal issues.
While it still remains unclear what those personal issues are or were…with Jarrett now out of the picture…it was oddly announced that Anthem Sports were dropping the GFW name from their product and return to being known as Impact Wrestling. Not only that, but word came down that Anthem wants to move the promotion away from Orlando, Florida and run their shows primarily in Canada. While this certainly doesn’t mean the indefinite end to Global Force Wrestling, the nails are already in the coffin and the fat lady is tuning up. A rather sad ending to a once-promising endeavor.
You can read all previous ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’ here.