Jeff Jarrett Talks About His In-Ring Future, TNA Working With GFW, Nex-Gen Division, GFW Amped, More
Global Force Wrestling’s Jeff Jarrett recently spoke with Donald Wood and the rest of the Ring Rust Radio crew. Check out the highlights and audio below:
Donald Wood: The biggest news from Global Force Wrestling recently has been the announcement that the television program will be called Amped. The first taping will be Friday, July 24 at the Orleans Arena. Can you give us any more information on how many episodes you will be taping and what channel, dates and times will wrestling fans be able to watch the finished product?
Jeff Jarrett: You’re digging for the good stuff and I appreciate that. We just named it Amped, and we are in the discussion of how many episodes so I can’t tell you how many right now. We are going to be shooting on content next Friday, then August 21st, and October 23rd. One thing is for sure, we are starting four tournaments starting next Friday: The Global Championship, the Tag-Team Championship, the Women’s Championship, and the Nex-Gen Championship. We do have Bobby Rude appearing and in my opinion he personifies what GFW in some shape, form, or fashion is all about. He is a wrestler under a contract for another promotion who will be appearing on our program. The number of episodes is a moving target at this point. We are going to go shoot the tournament then we get back who knows? It could be ten episodes, twelve, fourteen, who knows? It’s a work in progress. When you are trying to line up domestic and international, it’s a real challenge to try and please everybody. We are going to do our very best to expose the product to as many wrestling fans as we can.
Mike Chiari: There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the various GFW championship tournaments that were recently announced, but the one that really caught my eye was the Nex-Gen Championship. Explain the Nex-Gen division, what type of performers we’ll see taking part in it and why you think it’s going to be an asset to GFW.
Jeff Jarrett: Nex-Gen is a term we really thought about and studied. When you look at pro-wrestling in 2015, there are certain guys that are going to wrestle like the next generation and they are going to take it to the next level. Whether it be the speed of the Young Bucks or the innovation of the Bullet Club, there are so many different talents that will take it to the next generation. Then you see a guy who is a rookie, brand new in the business, and isn’t a household name today. But in the next generation of household names he will be. It’s a little bit of both, no weight limit, it’s a division of guys who want to get in there and wrestle. They may never have won a title before or it may be their style of wrestling that will give them that first opportunity to wrestle for that Nex-Gen title. It’s not a traditional type of division by any means.
Brandon Galvin: Hacksaw Jim Duggan recently stated GFW will be a PG, family-friendly product. With WWE also promoting a family-friendly product, what will GFW do, or what would you like to see GFW do, to separate itself from WWE within the PG environment?
Jeff Jarrett: It goes without saying that WWE is sports entertainment. They invented the term and they do it better than anybody else. It’s a very lucrative business for them and my hats off to them on how they have created their genre. We are professional wrestling, there are a lot of similarities but we are going to be more docu-style. Are we going to have story lines? Yes. It’s like how you have story lines in a sporting event like a baseball or football game. We are not going to write stories per say, but more along the lines of documenting them. There is a story behind every GFW athlete. Questions like: Why, why did you get into the business, why did you want to be a professional wrestler, why GFW, why do you want to be a Champion, why do you do this in your persona, what makes you tick, what’s going on in your family life? That all affects the business and how you climb the ladder of success. That’s a big difference between writing story lines and documenting story lines.
Brandon Galvin: When we had you on last, you had mentioned you were following WWE’s product and watching the network. Recently they were promoting their Beast in the East show. On there they had a documentary style program on Finn Balor and his climb in the business is that the style you are getting at?
Jeff Jarrett: If you watch the GFW YouTube channel it will give you a sample. Back at Wrestle Kingdom 9 we documented our journey leading up to it. We also have videos coming out to give you a feel for it with guys like PJ Black, the Bollywood Boys, the Akbars, and Mordetzky. The videos dive into the talent and the wrestler’s lives and what’s really going on in their world. Just recently, we took a real life situation, I went back into TNA with a lot of raw emotion and I don’t want to get to long winded on this, but a non-TNA talent left the promotion with the King of the Mountain title. Eric Young was pretty vocal about it backstage and went on a Twitter rant about it. He said it didn’t have anything to do with it but if you connect the dots you can see it. My hats off to him for being vocal about it. Eric and I have a personal relationship that goes back over ten years. He has been at every 4th of July party at my house except maybe one he missed. We have a real close relationship and I respect him because he didn’t go behind my back about his frustrations. He just made it vocal he didn’t like it. I told him he should come up on the tour and we can talk about it. He took me up on it and came and had a match against Johnny Gargano, local independent superstar, from the AIW. You don’t see that kind of stuff in any other promotion.
Donald Wood: One person who has been giving GFW trouble already is Eric Young. Do you think the confrontations with Young could lead to tension between the GFW wrestlers and TNA wrestlers, possibly resulting in an invasion angle as mentioned before?
Jeff Jarrett: The word invasion is kind of been there and done that in my opinion. Certainly you can already see that Bobby Rude is coming to Vegas next Friday for the first ever set of Amped tapings and he is under contract with TNA. Eric Young was just with us this weekend. We are in discussions of the next steps of this business agreement. Global Force Wrestling and TNA wrestling, whether it’s a co-branded show, a co-promoted show, a collaboration, that’s all in discussion right now and I am reporting it in real time as much as I can. As a wrestling fan myself, this kind of stuff excites me because you just don’t see this nowadays. Years ago you had hand shake agreements between promoters, you had Ric Flair as a traveling champion, and Dory Funk working for multiple promotions. Once the territory system went away, you were left with the big two of WWE and WCW. Then you were down to the big one, just being WWE. Then you had had TNA and Ring of Honor come around with every promotion acting like an island. WWE can do that since they have north of 90% of the market share. You have all the smaller promotions fighting and clawing for that brand identity. I believe with GFW and our mission statement, we want to have a working relationship with any and all promotions because rising tides raise all ships. I went out and formed the relationships that I have had over the years and made them more formal with New Japan and Triple A and around the globe with the independent promotions in Europe, South Africa, and Australia.
Mike Chiari: There’s obviously been a ton of speculation regarding some type of working relationship between GFW and TNA since you competed at Slammiversary and won the King of the Mountain title. I’m not saying it will, but if an arrangement was to be reached at some point, how do you think both sides would benefit from something like that?
Jeff Jarrett: End of the day and this may sound cliché, if the wrestling fans benefits, than 9 times out of 10 the promotion will benefit. There was chatter about Karen and I coming back to that promotion, and that created positive chatter for TNA. That fed into the positive chatter for GFW including Bobby and Eric and all of that helps the promotion. As we move along, it helps create brand awareness and creating a little bit of that mystique. End of the day, people want to see fantastic professional wrestling and that should be everyone’s common goal. That’s what we are headed for and that is fantastic professional wrestling.
Brandon Galvin: As one of the founders of TNA, is there any key philosophy or business strategy that you took away from your time there as you continue to develop and push the GFW brand?
Jeff Jarrett: We all are a sum total of all of our decisions and life experiences. This is my 29th year in this business as an active wrestler, growing up in it, I’m a third generation, and there are just certain things you learn. That sort of looking in the rear-view mirror on one hand and on the other you need to be looking forward. Where do you want to be in one year, two year, three years, five years, and even ten years from now? Technology has turned the cable business upside down and it’s gone in lightning speeds in the last few years. Now you have everything like Hulu, Netflix, and all the streaming services including the WWE network. It’s all a game changer for our business. It wasn’t too long ago where fans were expected to pay for twelve to thirteen pay-per-views a year. Now it’s down to $9.99 for the network for everything included. Now we have the technology to watch lucha libre, strong style, or wrestling from any country in the world all at the click of a button. The technology has changed the wrestling world so you have to try to stay ahead of the curve. I have taken a lot of my life experiences to help my team in GFW to help us evolve and put out a very compelling product.
Donald Wood: GFW has already been putting on live events across the country on the Grand Slam tour. How have the fans embraced the new wrestling promotion thus far and do you consider the tour to be a success?
Jeff Jarrett: Success, absolutely. One of the barometers is black ink and red ink, you want that black ink, and we got it. On the flip side of that is when you are at the shows it’s one thing to get the electricity and vibe from the people on the way out talking about how much fun they had. Then at the end of it you had the owners and GM come up to you and you know at the end of the day that really is the true barometer. This is a grass roots initiative and its year one of this initiative and now we’re on to step one of building the brand of live events. We have done this and now we have had all seven teams come up to us and tell us how much they love it, they want us on the schedule, and they all want us back. From their perspective, professional wrestling in their ballpark is unique. They have about a 140 day season and only 70 games so half the time their park is empty. They want to fill it with more concerts and events because it’s beneficial to them since the venue is there and not in use. It’s really a win won when we come to town, we put the ring up on home plate, have the event, and we are dialed into the ticket base and media contacts with their promotions. It’s a different concept and we are using it as a building block to get out there and now the brand awareness in each of these markets is experientially bigger then what it was when we do these shows.
Mike Chiari: You have a full plate when it comes to running GFW, but after wrestling at Slammiversary many are wondering about your future as an in-ring performer. What are your plans for the King of the Mountain title, and also, what are the odds that we’ll see you competing in the ring at some point as part of the GFW roster?
Jeff Jarrett: Slim and none on the GFW roster. If you caught Impact when I made the surprise appearance, I told them that I don’t know where the disconnect is. You are calling me to come wrestle but I don’t even wrestle for my own promotion. Then we talked through things and it was the King of the Mountain match and Slammiversary. I like to keep myself in shape but I wasn’t anywhere close to in my age and career the shape I wanted to be in. I was happy with the match but I have no plans to be an active wrestler on the GFW roster. As far as the King of the Mountain title we have a call this Friday. We are going to figure out what our next best step is. We have a title, that is not GFW property, it’s in our possession, I could vacate it, have a one night tournament, block A vs. block B, there is just so many ways to go about this and we have to figure that out. It’s pretty exciting just to have the opportunity but what we are going to do with it I am not sure just yet.
Brandon Galvin: You’ve always been one of the most well-rounded performers in wrestling, but has there ever been somebody that you were nervous to against?
Jeff Jarrett: Well, it goes without saying that I have been blessed to wrestle some of the very, very best. In my early days Jerry Lawler, he had this aura and ability in the ring. Certainly not the Jerry today but the active weekly wrestler that had a presence about him that would put you on edge. I also had a series of matches against Shawn Michaels later on who could be called the best in-ring performer ever. I had another series with Ric Flair and it goes without saying his pedigree. Just a couple of years ago I had multiple, high-profile matches against Kurt Angle. Kurt has so much tenacity, athletic ability, strength, and drive. Still to this day, before I went through the curtain at Slammiversary, I had butterflies and was nervous. That same feeling should never go away and if it does you should get out of the business. I felt it that night and I sure felt it the next day after that.