GFW’s Roller Coast Summer

Two steps forward, two steps back. No, I’m not talking about the late 1980’s Paula Abdul song “Opposites Attract”, although the video with MC Scat Kat was awesome, I’m talking […]

Two steps forward, two steps back.

No, I’m not talking about the late 1980’s Paula Abdul song “Opposites Attract”, although the video with MC Scat Kat was awesome, I’m talking about the newly-branded Global Force Wrestling a.k.a Impact Wrestling, a.k.a. Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling.

Impact Wrestling was re-branded as Global Force Wrestling for the 15th Anniversary “Slammiversary” show and was expected to usher in a new era for the company, as the heavyweight, tag team, and Knockouts titles were all unified under the GFW umbrella. However, as it has been in the company’s 15 years of existence, nothing ever goes as planned for TNA, Impact, GFW, and whatever they will be called in the future (more on that below)

Let’s start off with the positives:

1. They are winning the “war” in India.

Regardless of what you might think of GFW, they were the first in the modern era of pro wrestling to try to penetrate the India market and it appears to be working. They did a set of television tapings there in May and even paid fans to attend the tapings (the amount was the equivalent to $3.50 US dollars, but you have to do what you have to do to create an audience). The fans may or may not have known what to do or who to cheer for, but GFW got those people close to the action in hopes that down the line they will become fans. All the WWE did was make a Canadian who plays an Indian on TV and lost to nearly everybody on the roster, Jinder Mahal, their champion on SmackDown Live!, in hopes that people from India will buy subscriptions to the WWE Network. This is problematic for WWE since the Network cost $9.99 a month and a subscription to the top cable system in India, which has WWE programming, including PPV’s, as well as show GFW’s Impact show, costs less than $5 a month. It’s clear going forward that GFW has made themselves a viable competitor, maybe even going to surpass WWE in India, a country of 1.3 billion people.

2. They have all the talent in the world.

Talent has never been a problem with GFW, it’s been the mismanagement of the company that has been the problem.  Look at the current roster just on the GFW side of things, Global Champion Eli Drake, Lashley, Moose, EC3, Matt Sydal.  Men who would be close to main event status in WWE.  Even the women, GFW Knockouts Champion Sienna, the returning Taryn Terrell, the debuting Taya Valkyrie (who they poached from Lucha Underground), and one of the greatest female performers of all-time, Gail Kim.  Then they have main eventers from Mexico’s AAA and Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH coming in to make it a true global brand.  This is a company that has new and exciting matchups coming to television every single week.

3. They have a willingness to try new things.

If you are a young, up and coming wrestler, controversy aside, Global Force Wrestling should be on your radar.  Look at their champions.  I admit I was a little shocked when Eli Drake won the Global title and became the de-facto face of GFW, but he’s put 14 years of hard work in the business and became one of the best talkers in all of the game.  More importantly, he’s basically a “home-grown talent”.  What I mean by that is that you have never seen him on WWE TV and never had a pre-conceived notion that he as one of these ex-WWE guys coming into GFW to collect a paycheck and just loaf into retirement.  They put the GFW World Tag Team titles on the newly-reformed LAX, Santana & Ortiz, and put them into a main-event program with Alberto El Patron right after Slammiversary.  Patron’s character outside of the wrestling ring cut the angle short, but they are starting to look like they are bringing back the artform of tag team wrestling that other companies have forgotten about.  If you are a top guy in GFW, you can main event AAA’s TripleMania in Mexico or get to go the famed Korukean Hall to wrestle in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH.  The sky is the limit for the talent.

And now why it hasn’t been the best summer GFW has ever had.

They kicked off the new era by putting the GFW Global title on Alberto El Patron, a guy who has burned every bridge he’s ever had in wrestling, from AAA in Mexico, WWE, Lucha Underground, no-showing a charity event, he’s only respected by those in the industry who fear him outside of a wrestling ring.  This time around, he screwed his new company over not by leaving it, but getting involved in an alleged domestic dispute with his girlfriend, Paige of the WWE.  GFW has suspended him indefinitely, but it looks like he will not have a spot of the GFW roster going forward.

The last part could be a big death blow to the company.  Anthem, GFW’s parent company, has been hemorrhaging funds to keep GFW afloat.  For the record, GFW doesn’t charge fans to get into their TV tapings at the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, they only have 2 PPV’s a year, which combined don’t do 100,000 buys, they pay for their TV show, Impact On Pop, Thursdays on PopTV with GFW getting a portion of the advertising revenue, and they have had to cancel any future touring plans due to the poor attendance for their 2 dates in early August (it was supposed to be 3, but one got canceled due to, you guessed it, poor ticket sales.

The talent has never been the issue here.  It’s the management, who time and time has been a revolving door of guys who’s glory is long behind them and have problems with the fact that nobody wants to see them anymore having all the power and influence in the company.