Jeff Jarrett has had his share of triumphs, failures, and controversies in the world of professional wrestling. The saga of Global Force Wrestling is part of his complicated history.
Jeff Jarrett: A Thirst For Greater Control
Jeff Jarrett, a third-generation wrestler, had earned quite a reputation for being a star in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment.
However, like many, he ultimately wanted greater control over his career.
Jeff and his father, Jerry Jarrett, founded Total Nonstop Action in 2002. The promotion was affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance early in its tenure but later started to operate as a separate entity.
Even though it had a promising start, TNA constantly faced financial issues. This led to Panda Energy purchasing a 72% controlling interest in TNA in October 2002.
Later in 2013, Jarrett and Country star Toby Keith tried to re-purchase TNA; however, when both met Bob Carter, he demanded that his daughter Dixie remain in the company as on-screen President.
Jarrett and Keith decided to create their own company instead, and In April 2014, Jarrett started to promote the debut of his new entity Global Force Wrestling (GFW).
The Creation of Global Force Wrestling
In the initial stages of its formation, Global Force Wrestling announced a strategic partnership with 25/7 Productions and David Broome. Many readers would recognize the latter as the creator of NBC’s ‘The Biggest Loser.’
Broome stated that the organization planned to create new on-air content 52 weeks per year. Along with that, they also signed long-time TNA producer Scott D’Amore as the Vice President of International Relations.
GFW hyped international partnerships with top promotions such as Lucha Libre AAA World Wide in Mexico and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Moreover, Double J’s company had also inked partnership deals with various European wrestling organizations, along with a few based in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, GFW also formed a talent exchange partnership with South African World Wrestling Professionals (WWP).
On January 4th, 2015, GFW was the official presenter of NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 in North America. They brought in the legendary Jim Ross alongside Matt Striker as the commentary team for the show.
The pay-per-view drew around 12,000 to 15,000 buys, which was considered a massive victory for both the promotions at the time by fans and critics alike.
Soon after, GFW also publicized that they had signed an international TV distribution deal with Boulder Creek TV in the UK on September 14th, 2015, and New Zealand’s TVNZ Duke on February 18th, 2016.
However, this is, unfortunately, where the rise of the upstart GFW seemed to halt.
Things Start to Go South
Even though Jeff Jarrett’s company had plenty of momentum at the time, and the social media team was playing its part in keeping the fans engaged, it failed to hold its first show until the summer of 2015.
Global Force Wrestling was also constantly proclaiming the arrival of huge names such as Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Moose, Lance Archer, and Davey Boy Smith Jr. via their website and social media handle.
But in reality, all these names were merely on a per appearance deal and signed to other deals. As a result, there was no guarantee that fans could expect any of them to show up at future events.
In the meantime, reports also surfaced that Jarrett tried to sign Goldberg and Jim Ross, but negotiations fell off due to financial reasons.
Finally, in June 2015, they promoted its first set of cards named the GFW “Grand Slam Tour,” a series of events held in Minor League Baseball stadiums.
Unfortunately, the events ended up disappointing GFW as they could only draw around 200 to 400 people in stadiums with capacities of over 10,000 fans.
They also caught criticism for using a six-sided ring, making them seem like a rehash of TNA/Impact Wrestling.
TV Distribution and Further Struggles
Within the next few weeks, they announced the name of its TV program “Amped” and the formation of its four championships: Global (World), Women’s, Tag Team, and the NEX GEN Championship.
The first set of tapings for Amped took place in Las Vegas, and as per Jarrett, they had taped sixteen one-hour-long episodes within the three days.
Sadly, the management was still unable to find a TV home for itself in the United States, burdening the backers financially.
Soon the investors, wrestlers, and the fans all started to lose hope as it became another struggling independent.
However, fans of GFW had a glimmer of hope when Jeff Jarrett made his shocking return to Total Nonstop Action. Jarrett, still a minority owner of TNA, kickstarted a GFW Invasion storyline.
Partnership with Impact Wrestling: A Glimmer of Hope for Global Force Wrestling?
We would see Global Force Wrestling wrestlers show up on Impact television, which eventually led to a Team TNA vs. Team GFW Lethal Lockdown match on the September 16th, 2015, episode of Impact, where if GFW won, Jarrett would get kayfabe control of TNA.
In the end, Team TNA won the match, and GFW would again operate separately until 2017 when Jeff and Karen Jarrett stated that they were back in the newly renamed Impact Wrestling and that both were merging.
Behind the scenes, the deal struck by the two sides saw Jarrett finally selling off his Impact shares to its parent company Anthem Sports and Entertainment, while in return, Anthem would buy GFW from Jarrett and hire him as the Chief Creative Officer.
Soon after that, fans witnessed Impact rebranding itself as GFW: Impact.
The two organizations’ respective World, Women’s, and Tag Team Championships were merged.
But things soon went south again for the green brand as Jeff Jarrett took an indefinite leave of absence from the company, and Anthem slowly reverted back to using the Impact Wrestling name.
Impact Wrestling’s rebranding was officially over on October 23rd, 2017, when they announced its business partnership with Jeff Jarrett and GFW was terminated. However, the deal for Anthem to acquire GFW was never completed, and Jarrett still had its ownership.
Jeff Jarrett Lawsuit Against Anthem
On August 14th, 2018, Jeff Jarrett filed two separate lawsuits against Anthem, one over the infringement of rights to GFW branding and the other alleging that Anthem had deleted 16 hours’ worth of GFW master copies.
The court declared a mistrial, and Jarrett’s appeal for a new trial was also denied, but eventually, both sides reached an out-of-court agreement.
GFW did air some of its taped shows to fulfill pre-existing international deals. Still, it was only met with criticism as many of the featured wrestlers had signed for either WWE or ROH by that time, especially in the case of Bobby Roode, where the company re-dubbed his segment to make it seem that he was an NXT superstar making a one night only appearance for Jarrett’s company.
GFW then, sadly, went inactive.
The End for Global Force Wrestling
In 2018, Jeff Jarrett announced that he was preparing for a Global Force Wrestling comeback, which eventually came in the face of GFW co-producing the Starrcast event on the weekend of All-In, and later co-producing NWA’s 70th Anniversary Show.
Soon after, Jarrett returned to WWE in a backstage capacity role, and GFW was declared dormant.
Today, the company has an inactive website, zero employees, no talent under contract, and all but one of its championship belts merged with the titles from Impact.
In May 2022, Jarrett was announced as WWE’s Senior Vice President of Live Events. However, three months later, he departed WWE again in August 2022, coincidentally one day after this article was first published.
A Perspective From Someone Involved in Global Force Wrestling
Steve Te Tai, wrestling creative and executive producer of the “Kings of the Ring” audio drama series, reached out to us to shed light on many of the great things Global Force Wrestling accomplished and why things ultimately broke down for the promotion.
“As someone who was part of GFW, we did an incredible job promoting and introducing New Japan to America in 2014 to its widest audience since WCW in the early ’90s.
“GFW also brought Jim Ross back to wrestling and all sorts of other amazing stuff that didn’t see the light of day because a TV deal didn’t happen. The same TV deals that NXT, TNA, NJPW, and everyone failed to acquire until AEW got the TNT deal in 2019.
“In other words, TV deals (paying or even non-paying) were near impossible to get, let alone for a new company.
Steve continued, “GFW was merging with TNA and turning things around there (getting tons of guys jobs) until Anthem had the falling out with JJ.
“Then, WWE brought [Jarrett] back months later (getting even more guys jobs with WWE and AEW), and now he’s one of the highest ranked officials in the WWE and does things like appearing in SummerSlam one night and the next night is on pay-per-view with AEW superstars and Ric Flair in probably the best wrestling angle in years. Not too shabby!”
Not too shabby, indeed.
Global Force Wrestling showed promise in its few years of existence and led to good things for many. Ultimately, it is another “what could have been?” wrestling story.
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