When Anthem Entertainment rescued Impact Wrestling from the downward spiral of Dixie Carter, the suits at the Fight Network knew they had to find “wrestling people” to dictate the new direction of the product. Jeff Jarrett, who founded the promotion in 2002, was brought back onto the scene after several years away to run the booking team. It really proves that anything can happen in the wrestling business because a few years ago, nobody would’ve guessed that Jarrett would return to power in TNA after his rocky exit from the Dixie regime. Along with Double J, his traditional advisors, as well as some familiar talent resurfaced as well.
Clearly, Jarrett thought his time in TNA concluded because he founded Global Force Wrestling in April of 2014. Considering that Double J was the primary figure that took NWA-TNA from weekly shows at the Nashville Fairgrounds to national TV, many were optimistic about the potential of GFW, especially with the addition of several working agreements with promotions around the world that opened the door for the possibility of unique matches. However, the climate of the industry proved to be too difficult for GFW to get off the ground, as the group didn’t secure a TV deal, despite taping several episodes in Las Vegas in 2015. At the time, Impact Wrestling struggled to maintain a TV platform so it’s not too surprising that GFW didn’t get a time slot.
In total, GFW was a handful of spot shows or independent shows “co-promoted” with the Global Force name. Other than that, there’s not much to say about Global Force Wrestling. That’s not a jab at Jarrett either, he tried to get a new organization off the ground and it didn’t happen, but because of that, there’s really no value to the Global Force “brand” since it was a brief venture that simply didn’t have a measurable effect on the industry.
So, why exactly is Impact Wrestling using a GFW angle to build toward their only scheduled pay-per-view of the year?
One of the many reasons that Dixie’s TNA ran out of money is that their PPV shows didn’t draw enough of a buy rate to cover the cost of the production of the event. In theory, Impact choosing to run possibly only one pay-per-view this year is a wise decision, both from a financial and booking prospective. If Anthem is going to pay the expenses for a live broadcast, the entire reason for doing so is to profit from the show. At the same time, running only one pay-per-view event this year at least lowers the risk of losing money on live broadcasts if the show doesn’t draw.
Obviously, it’s unwise to lose money on a monthly basis if the buy rates aren’t generating profit for the company, which is something Dixie didn’t realize until her vanity project literally didn’t have the funds to run live pay-per-views. As far as booking goes, it allows the one PPV so far this year to have more of a “special event” atmosphere and creates an opportunity for the company to garnered positive feedback.
As far as why Anthem would use Global Force on Impact episodes, there are two main possibilities. Last month, Karen Jarrett announced the official merger of the two groups, which was essentially a way for the GFW founders to save face and bring a conclusion to the attempted project. If the reasoning behind the merger angle is to basically present Jarrett’s personal agenda then it’s a way to cover for the failure of the Global Force. The entire premise of pay-per-view is to sell the show and give the fans a reason to spend the money to watch it. In order to do that, the perception of GFW must be elevated to an entity of importance. The emphasis on Global Force to build toward Slammiversary basically gives Jarrett’s project more notoriety than it had on its own. In some ways, this angle is the only major exposure GFW had so it attempts to create the illusion that the group had some type of influence on the business, but it clearly didn’t.
Since GFW never got off the ground, it doesn’t really make much sense for there to be any type of merger or unification match, but the results of Impact tapings revealed that is the plan. Considering that Global Force has a very limited history and accomplished virtually nothing on its own, there’s not any steam behind the angle to unify the championships. In fact, the ONLY reason a unification bout would draw money is based on the history of each promotion, which isn’t applicable here. If you go back to the 70s when Harley Race worked with a few of the WWWF champions at the time, Bob Backlund and Superstar Billy Graham respectively, the reason these “NWA vs. WWWF title” matches creates so much buzz was because of how established each promotion was in specific regions on the country. GFW isn’t really established as a promotion so what exactly is there to unify?
On the surface, it’s easy booking, champion vs. champion sounds like a strong main event on paper. However, how many people really care who the GFW champions are? Is the Global Force “brand” going to sell tickets? To put it in prospective, hypothetically, if Ring Of Honor did an angle for Slammiversary where ROH champion Christopher Daniels challenged Lashley, there would be exponentially more hype than this GFW angle will garner. The reason being, Ring of Honor has an established track record and a history that established their championship as an important belt in the sport.
Granted, this is just one angle that will conclude and the company can move toward another direction, but the reason it’s worth addressing is because Impact, an organization that is trying to present a fresh product, booked its only pay-per-view main event of the year so far around an angle that doesn’t have much steam and doesn’t seem to really have the possibility of generating hype for fans to want to spend the money to see the show. All things considered, it doesn’t give the impression that Anthem has a grasp on how to truly move the needle for TNA. Again, Dixie’s regime couldn’t generate revenue and that’s what led to the collapse of her project. The bottom line is what sells and what makes money. Right now, it doesn’t seem as though Anthem has found that formula yet, but time will time as far as the buy rate for Slammiversary.
Ultimately, the process of making a profit in sports entertainment is a difficult task, but the WWE market share makes it even more of a challenge. A mediocre product with a few bright spots isn’t enough to run with today, another reason why Dixie’s company flopped. When the WWE is offering access to literally thousands of hours of content an a live PPV event for $10 a month, how does Anthem try to get fans to spend $30 on a three-hour show? If the quality is there, fans will pay to watch it, which was proven when ROH sold out a pair of recent shows that featured New Japan talent. It will be extremely interesting to see the buy rate for Slammiversary and the direction that Impact Wrestling takes in a few months.
Until next week