Sunday, July 05, 2015

Quick Hits Volume XI: TNA-GFW Conceptuals

He hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Miiisteeeeeer Aaaaaandeee…*A sudden chair shot to the back*

Wake: Damn it, Ken. You ruined my big return…Ug…It’s time for your…Forget it. Let’s just get into it.

Long time, no see, friends. Needless to say, it is never dull being a TNA fan, as a whole ton of interesting happenings have been, well, happening. Everything from more rumors of TNA getting cancelled to competing wrestling promotions being aired on the same network to Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling working with TNA in some capacity have put us on edge. TNA is obviously going through more major changes yet again. We will see how it rides out.

Since the Jeff Jarrett surprises in the past couple of weeks, it has gotten me really excited for the possibilities. I am primarily a TNA fan, but I am not a TNA-or-bust fan and most of you guys are not either. This new working agreement—whatever it ends up being, though it looks like it will be something fairly extensive—presents many interesting possibilities. So for my return back to TNA fan-authorship, I thought I would present some of my pie-in-the-sky conceptuals I keep developing in my head. Welcome back to my brain at work in Quick Hits Volume XI.

Kick-Starting the GFW Invasion

Setting: A future Impact Wrestling show. ECIII is defending his TNA World against a high profile young wrestler, such as Eli Drake, Bram, Kenny King, or other upcoming main eventer trying to make a name for himself, in the main event of the night. Preferably, this would be a live show.

It is getting to the high point of the match. As usual, both competitors are giving it their all to come out victorious. They are both getting exhausted from the effort. Tyrus, of course, has been doing anything he can to help ECIII to come out victorious but not get disqualified. At this point, the challenger has laid out the body guard. It is getting to be about the last five minutes of the show.

An obvious reaction occurs throughout the crowd watching, there is something occurring within the crowd—some movement, a person heading to the ring. Very quickly, it becomes apparent it is AJ Styles, as he hops the guardrail and slides quickly into the ring. A flurry of blows, a super kick, and, lastly, the pele kick lays out ECIII and his challenger. A customary Styles Clash to the TNA champ establishes the emphasis. Styles stands emotionless over the motionless bodies.

He is wearing his leather jacket and hoody we have become accustomed to witnessing since the end of his last TNA run, fully zipped. The crowd is in awe and going nuts. Styles unzips his jacket, revealing a GFW shirt underneath. So begins the GFW invasion….
Subsequent weeks will see various match inference and backstage attacks on Impact by GFW talent. A notable addition will join the GFW ranks when the former Bad Influence, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, take out the current TNA Tag Team Champions in the Wolves. The GFW invasion will come swiftly with former TNA talent leading the way. A couple of major defections from the TNA ranks will also occur, namely Magnus and James Storm, perhaps Austin Aries if TNA can swing it.

TNA will try to carry on as normal despite the dramatic interruptions in their programming on a weekly basis. Eventually, Dixie Carter will try to save face and have to address the situation. TNA will have been promoting a working relationship with GFW for awhile now. She will maintain that the events over the last month is a false representation of GFW, and AJ Styles, Bad Influence, and “rogue” GFW contracted talent, particularly Chris Sabin and a couple others, are acting against Jeff Jarrett’s wishes. Jarrett will appear to be trying to work with Dixie as this rogue-faction of former TNA talent carry on with their attacks. This fa├žade will carry on for a period of time, in which time there will be an Impact episode inundated with the GFW talent decimating the TNA locker room stem to stearn, top to bottom, in the ring and backstage. Dixie Carter will be forced to “address” the situation at the last segment of the show, surrounded by TNA talent to protect her. Predictably, the whole of the GFW roster led by Jarrett will ensue in an all out brawl with the TNA roster. Dixie will be forced to retreat. Eventually, TNA will be overcome. The show will close with Jarrett proclaiming his intentions to take over TNA. All out war will carry on from there.

I think if such an invasion does actually happen, well, it has the potential to just knock our socks off. It seems so many hardcore fans want it to happen. Typically, invasion angles portray the invading factions as the bad guys while the invaded company is the good guys. In this case, such a portrayal will probably not be so successful.

Despite one of these groups being the invading faction, who generally would be viewed as being the bad guys, I think TNA should take a different path with this invasion. They should not attempt to make the GFW group prototypical bad guys. It simply would not work, as many long-time TNA fans will choose the patriarch of TNA, Jeff Jarrett, in hopes he and his organization succeeds in usurping power from Dixie Carter. Instead, it would probably work better if both groups are seen as acting based on their separate motivations. I know I would rather it play out in that fashion at the very least.

In my scenario, I have obviously chosen to have TNA Originals lead off the invasion, particularly AJ Styles and Bad Influence. I stated initially my ideas were pie-in-the-sky. Obviously, Styles is currently with NJPW and working on occasion in ROH. I do not believe in his current agreement with these organizations he would be able to be on TNA television programs. I am not sure how Bad Influence is affected by this as being in the employ of ROH, whether they have an agreement that prevents them from being on Impact. However, I believe the ideal invasion storyline would include them as heavy hitters for GFW. Even though an invasion led by Jarrett has enough history and context backing itself up enough to work, an addition of Styles and other TNA Originals in the mix would be icing on the cake. How do you guys envision an invasion going down?

The TNA-GFW Wrestling Alliance 

At this point, we know there will be some sort of working relationship between TNA and GFW. In the least, this will include talent exchanges. We have already seen that TNA talent will be wrestling on the upcoming GFW television tapings toward the end of July (i.e. Bobby Roode and the “signing” of Magnus—We will see what comes of that.). I would venture to suggest it will go much deeper, whether it becomes the rumored GFW invasion or something else. I would not be surprised if guys like Shelton Benjamin, Chuck Taylor, or PJ Black end up wrestling on Impact. I would also not be surprised if we see cross-promotional events or interwoven storylines. Either way, there is something brewing between these organizations.

I decided to use my imagination a little bit and come up with the most extensive possible relationship these two promotions could have. I have already seen it suggested they become sister organizations or GFW buys TNA outright and Impact becomes one of two shows. What if we took it about ten steps further? Maybe they become more than sister organizations and fall under the same umbrella as a whole cooperative of wrestling organizations with TNA and GFW as the figurehead organizations. Maybe it could be something akin to what WWE had with the Raw and Smackdown brands being separate entities. Or maybe something a bit different.

Let us take a step back because I probably got your mind going a mile-a-minute with the possibilities. Now, TNA and GFW could potentially have something huge on their hands. I also got thinking, though. TNA has a major desire to eventually develop some sort of developmental system. Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan have brought this up in several recent interviews. However, it should be obvious TNA does not have the capital enough right now to create a developmental brand of its own resources. So maybe you might be seeing where I am going with this from the title of this section. TNA and GFW could possibly develop a large wrestling organization cooperative, something like a rebirth of the old National Wrestling Alliance but a bit different.

In this scenario, TNA and GFW would be the top of the inter-organizational chart—TNA being a national and global brand and GFW being Jarrett’s baby with the clout to pull off the alliance. The two organizations could potentially build a powerhouse alliance of small global wrestling organizations (already started by Jarrett) and US indy federations. Together, these allied organizations would act as a minor league or feeder system into TNA and GFW, an inter-promotional developmental system. These organizations would have the benefit of being able to promote through TNA and GFW programming to get more mainstream exposure and the benefit of utilizing bigger names to bring more legitimacy to their organizations. So in the whole of it, these organizations would help TNA and GFW to overcome their recruiting limitations against WWE’s resources and give TNA and GFW talent more work opportunities.

However, there are many factors that probably make this idea unfeasible and/or unrealistic, although it would be quite awesome. It is very easy for me to let my imagination run wild and suggest such a wide-ranging partnership. It takes a lot of work, cooperation, negotiations, and whatever else to make something like this possible. I am just having some fun with the idea. So what sort of issues might prevent such an idea from becoming possible?

First of all, TNA and GFW already have relationships with a couple rather large international organizations already in AAA and NJPW. I doubt these two organizations would want to play second fiddle. This probably does not have to hurt this concept though. TNA and GFW do not have to have these two organizations in the alliance and could still have talent exchanges independently of it. Alternatively, AAA or NJPW could both be a part of it but also be a top of totem pole organizations with TNA and GFW. However, I could not see that happening in reality with the bad blood between NJPW and TNA. Perhaps it could happen with AAA, though. I will discuss ROH a little later.

I see one huge detriment to this concept overall. That is the reality that most independent talents have the goal of making it into NXT and WWE to get the big money. That is the single biggest obstacle to TNA’s recruiting efforts. TNA by itself cannot compete with that, so they have to find overlooked and former WWE talents and underrated independent talents willing to jump to TNA. TNA has had to be creative in the last few years in their recruitment efforts.

Realities have changed in TNA, as we know, and they are limiting their exclusive contracts that can only wrestle on TNA television. A lot of the talents have ventured to wrestling in the independents to supplement their more limited TNA money. And that was a big impediment for independent wrestlers to be willing to wrestle for TNA, as they could make more money wrestling for multiple independent organizations than exclusively for TNA. Now that that is no longer the case, that could help along this concept. TNA could be a part of their wrestling schedule, and they can get more national exposure for doing so. TNA would now be a part of their routine.

But the problem would still remain that WWE could snatch up any wrestler they want at any time. So this alliance would have to forge a contract with talents that they would have to stay within the wrestling alliance network if they wrestle for TNA or GFW or come up with some sort of alternative solution to keep them from getting snatched. Even with this, convincing talents to wrestle within a certain network of organizations without being able to sign with the big dog on campus might still be an incredible challenge. It would still provide an opportunity for a good living overall between a series of organizations, so it might have a chance at working.

The other challenge is simply forging a strong network of organizations to make it realistic for TNA and GFW to create this independent development system. There is a lot of leg work and relationship building that would have to take place and probably would take a good amount of time to create. So what organizations might be good fits for a TNA-GFW alliance?

There is already a start to a potential network already. Jarrett has developed partnerships with a dozen or so promotions throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. That is a start. I do not think it would be too difficult to convince them to take part in such a concept to get more exposure in the US. But where else? This concept would definitely need a strong US base of partners to be successful.

The first place I would look would be House of Hardcore. Obviously, Tommy Dreamer has a strong connection already with TNA, having been involved with the promotion on camera and as an agent; he also uses TNA talents regularly on his shows. So that would be one.

The next organizations TNA and GFW should probably look to develop relationships with would be ones where there is already some sort of ties with. One that comes to mind is Ohio Valley Wrestling. They were briefly TNA’s developmental organization but obviously the relationship fizzled out; they have a local television agreement and TNA could get back in touch with them. There are also many independents TNA and GFW talents are regularly involved with. Pro Wrestling Guerilla, of course, regularly uses TJ Perkins, Chris Sabin, and others. Evolve has strong ties with Drew Galloway and even formally thanked TNA for the use of its talents. ICW also has ties with Drew Galloway. Numerous others have used current TNA and GFW talents. These various relationships could be utilized to forge this network.

One question that is probably coming to mind at this point is probably whether ROH might have a role in this alliance. It is a good question at that. There is no existing relationship between ROH and TNA or GFW. ROH is obviously the top of the heap in the independent circuit. They are too big to be considered a developmental organization and not established globally enough to be at the same level as TNA, and they obviously are doing PPV’s too. The only way I see them as taking part in such a network of organizations is if they are put at the same level as GFW and TNA. They have national television, so I do not really see why not, if they could put their egos at the door and work with TNA and GFW. It would only help in locking down talent to have more work opportunities. But it would also create a need for a larger network of organizations to keep the talent flow running up the chain in the trifecta of top organizations.

There are other questions that would have to be worked out that I will not delve into. How will the talent sharing work, for example? But maybe that is something you guys can speculate upon and other questions as well.

The Bound for Glory Series Super-Sized 

The loss of the Bound for Glory Series was very disappointing to me as fan. I know a lot of other fans felt just as sad about it as me. While it was not necessarily a novel concept, it was a solid and entertaining one. It was easily my favorite and provided TNA with a preset format to write stories around and create a legitimate sports feel. Now, with the cooperation with GFW, they could take their relationship to new heights with the reimplementation of this great concept between the two promotions.

Instead of limiting the concept to one organization, how awesome would it be to have the series fought out between two organizations? Potentially, TNA and GFW could create one world title between them that is passed around and fought for on both television programs, assuming GFW gets a television program. Or alternatively, if the two promotions did not want to pass around a title between promotions or another issue arises that would make an inter-promotional title unfeasible, the BFG Series could potentially become an annual championship that is won at the PPV. The tournament would act almost like a playoff series akin to real professional sports. TNA and GFW would be similar to the AL and NL in the MLB.

It would be pretty self explanatory, assuming you are familiar with the BFG Series concept. Each promotion would put on their own tournament to crown each promotions representative in the “finals.” The tournament should probably be smaller than the original concept, though. I would make it a four man round robin series within each promotion. Each competitor would have to win a qualifying bout to enter the tournament in his respective organization, of which will be the top 8 wrestlers within each organization.

Obviously, this concept would have major implications for TNA’s biggest show of the year. It would, in essence, make it a cross-promotional super show. Both organizations would be given their own matches across the card equally. Or maybe, it goes one further and there are inter-promotional feuds that result in matches on the BFG card. There are many possibilities if this could be pulled off. It all culminates in a three matches at the top of the card: one for the GFW title, one for the TNA title, and the main event to decide the BFG Series champion. Oooh, the possibilities.

…Inspirational Snippet….