Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jeff Jarrett Talks Global Force Wrestling and More

On this edition of the v2 wrestling podcast, Adam Davey and Gavin Duenas are joined by Global Force Wrestling founder Jeff Jarrett. The interview is available at this link. Below are the highlights.

On whether GFW will be a separate promotion:
"The short answer is yes. I have been working with the team on what wrestling fans are calling a standalone promotion. Multiple conversations with talent, distributors, sponsorships, venues, legal, finance, everything that goes with launching the brand. I don’t want to get too overinflated and say major announcements, but I’ll call them very exciting announcements around WrestleMania and then the weeks to come after that. So in the next 4-6 weeks, the first announcement will be coming."

On the roster for GFW:
"When I’m ready for people to know, they'll know in multiple platforms and multiple announcements. I’m very excited, I really am. I feel very blessed, on one hand, that the wrestling fanbase constantly is asking, Who are you going to sign? What kind of championship belts are you going to have? What are the divisions? Where are you going to be having your shows at? Are you coming to our town? All that kind of anticipation is very, very exciting to me."

On whether he will remain an active wrestler:
"No, my full-time days in the ring are over. Not to say I’m not going to put on the tights again, and quite frankly, in the last two weeks I don't know what it is but I've gotten several offers from promoters in Canada, the Carolinas and California, so like I did last year, I’ll probably have a few shows here and there. But my main focus is Global Force Wrestling and launching that brand as a standalone promotion."

On whether he has hired any creative staff for GFW:
"Well, I'll call it the executive side. Yes, the rollout has begun on that as well. I’m talking about the marketing, public relations, finance, legal, merchandise – that’s all been put in place months ago. I want to use the term a little bit looser. Instead of creative, I like to refer to it as somewhat of a matchmaker. In the old days they called it a booker, but a booker is really a matchmaker and let the fans decide. The talent, it's not like you want to slap on and say this week you’re the Gobbledy Gooker and next week you’re Skinner. It’s who is Talent A and why are they Talent A, what’s to like or not like about Talent A. You put them against Talent B, who they are and why they are, and they go out there and get it done in the ring. I think that’s a recipe for success in professional wrestling."

On his vision and philosophy for GFW:
"Fan engagement. I’ve always believed in the days before cable television, back when we ran weekly towns, you could hear the fans that would get there in the afternoon for an 8 o’clock show, they would give you their opinion and tell you what they liked or didn’t like. Then you get into the early internet days when you had chatrooms, and now here we are today. So I think fan engagement is at the very top of Global Force Wrestling’s list. Not only are we going to talk about other promotions, that they exist, but we’re going to take hold of each individual wrestler’s history – the who, what, when and where. It’s quite asinine, and insulting on some levels, that you take Wrestler A and act like he doesn’t have a history in this business. I mean, Ring of Honor, we used our digital space and social media in early December to help bring awareness to their Pay-Per-View event; I think it’s very healthy for the business. So that and just the hard-hitting action are some of the things that I’m very passionate about when it comes to presenting good professional wrestling."

On GFW's style compared to other promotions:
"It’ll have its own style, but I don’t believe in recreating the wheel. I think Wrestle Kingdom 9 proved it, and Jim Ross said it in some of the videos that we produced on him, wrestling fans don’t overthink it. Give the fans what they want. Great wrestlers, hard-hitting style, championships, winners, losers and larger than life personalities – that’s what we plan on doing. I’ve always had that philosophy, dating back to my early days in the territories and my father’s and grandmother’s promotion. You have good wrestlers, and whether it’s black hats and white hats or however you want to define it, the people have to know and understand that Wrestler A is fighting Wrestler B and why they’re fighting, what are the results on who wins and who loses, and what’s going to happen next. I don’t think you need to overthink that in any stretch of the imagination. I think there are instances, from NXT to Wrestle Kingdom 9 to Triplemania, the successful wrestling shows going on in the world today are, at its core, basic and simplistic."

On the success of Wrestle Kingdom 9:
"Was I surprised? Yes and no. No in the fact that I knew if a great show was delivered it would be a great response, but what surprised me is that in this day and age with social media, instantaneous feedback and internet trolls, you’re always going to have some type of negativity – and I can honestly say that every review, feedback and comment was legitimately 99.9% positive, and that really says a lot. We’re already successful exposing the Global Force brand, and New Japan is thrilled to death with how their brand awareness skyrocketed before, during and after the event. From a financial point of view, the Pay-Per-View industry works in 60 to 90 day cycles. We won’t know exactly how many buys came through until we get the check in our hand, but the research we have done and the Bit Torrent sites – which is depressing on one end because that means they did pay for it and it’s a pirated event but that’s the reality of today’s technological world – those sites have reported to us if there was traffic on par at the level of a WrestleMania or a major UFC event. So a lot of people watched it. It’s to be determined how many actually paid for it, but that’s the world that we live in today."

On his relationship with CM Punk in TNA:
"He did work with us for a little while, yes. It was in the Asylum days when I was wearing 5, 6, 7 hats every Wednesday night. We had a very business-like, cordial relationship. To say that I missed the boat would be an understatement of the year, but things like that happen. My father started two guys from California that drove cross country and the first time I laid eyes on them was Thanksgiving 1985. Very young and very green, they were called the Blade Runners and within 18 months after they left my father’s promotion they had gone to Dallas and then Sting was WCW World Champion and the Ultimate Warrior was WWF World Champion. So promoters miss the boat and there is a long track record of that, but Punk seized his opportunity when he got to WWE. Quite frankly, he goozled that entire promotion and left on his own terms. To this day he’s still one of the hottest box office attractions in professional wrestling, and he’s not even doing it anymore."

On his MMA gimmick from 2010:
"I do not know in the history of MMA someone who entered the sport and then retired from the sport undefeated, and I can say that. In my MMA career, I retired undefeated. Not saying that I won’t come out of retirement, but at my age I don’t think it’d be the smartest thing. I have rarely backed down from a good Double J Double M A challenge. You saw my wins. I didn’t just win in a dominant fashion; it was an almost embarrassingly dominant fashion."